David Williams, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich, has welcomed today's Government announcement of an ambitious strategy aimed at ending violence against women and girls.
As well as measures to further protect victims and tackle perpetrators, the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy signals a new focus on preventing violence from happening.
From 2011, preventing violence in relationships will be included in personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education so attitudes that condone and perpetuate violence against women are addressed before they become entrenched in young people.
An awareness-raising marketing campaign to change behaviour will start in the New Year with a high profile drive to tackle violence in teenagers’ relationships.
David Williams said, "Violence against women and girls is an obscenity, ruins lives, breaks up families and has a lasting impact across the generations.
"Much has been done over recent years to increase protection for women and to punish their attackers with new legislation, extra resources and front-line training. Now we need to increase our focus on prevention.
"This complex problem demands a broader response to stop violence from happening in the first place. Changing attitudes that tolerate violence against women and girls will take time, but is essential if we are ever to break the vicious cycle."
The strategy sets out a range of actions for the police, local authorities, the NHS and government departments across three key areas:
Prevention: Aims to address social attitudes and myths about violence, which perpetuate it. Our long-term ambition is to change behaviours and stop violence happening in the first place.
Provision: Where violence does occur, the Government is committed to offering victims the help they need such as counselling and access to specialist services.
Protection: Measures to help women in contact with the criminal justice system to improve their experience and steps to better manage offenders.
Sandra Horley OBE, Chief Executive of Refuge, said, “Refuge is pleased that the Government’s new strategy focuses on preventing violence against women and girls. This huge social issue will only end when people are educated about why it happens and where they can get help.
“Prevention will help in the long-term, but in the meantime there is an urgent need for services for abused women and children. Whilst we acknowledge that additional funding has been pledged, much more will be needed if we are to reach every single woman and girl. As it stands, one third of local authorities still provide no domestic violence services whatsoever.”