Inspection into how effectively the police engage with women and girls
Part of: Police engagement with women and girls Protecting people from violence and abuse Victims and resolutions
On 26 March 2021, the Home Secretary commissioned HMICFRS to inspect how the police work with female victims, offenders and witnesses. The report was published in two sections. We published our interim report in July 2021. We published our final report in September 2021.
Interim report: Inspection into how effectively the police engage with women and girls
The interim report sets out findings and recommendations from one part of this inspection, which focuses on how effectively the police respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG) offences. These are violent and high-harm crimes that disproportionally affect women and girls, such as domestic abuse, sexual violence, stalking, and female genital mutilation (FGM).
We published these interim findings before our main inspection report, so our evidence could inform the Government’s violence against women and girls strategy, which was published in July 2021.
HMI Zoë Billingham made three recommendations in this report:
- There should be an immediate and unequivocal commitment that the response to VAWG offences is an absolute priority for government, policing, the criminal justice system, and public sector partnerships. This needs to be supported at a minimum by a relentless focus on these crimes; mandated and clear responsibilities; and sufficient funding so that all partner agencies can work effectively as part of a whole-system approach to reduce and prevent the harms these offences are causing.
- The relentless pursuit and disruption of adult perpetrators should be a national priority for the police, and their capability and capacity to do this should be enhanced.
- Structures and funding should be put in place to make sure victims receive tailored and consistent support.
Police response to violence against women and girls: final inspection report
This final report sets out findings and recommendations on how effectively the police respond to VAWG offences. It draws on the findings of new inspection activity, and on our work to gather the views of female victims and survivors themselves.
HMI Zoë Billingham made two further recommendations in this final report:
- All chief constables should immediately review and ensure that there are consistently high standards in their forces’ responses to violence against women and girls and should be supported in doing so by national standards and data.
- There should be an immediate review of use of outcomes 15 and 16 in violence against women and girls offences.
Recent or imminent Government strategies relevant to VAWG include:
- the National Vulnerability Action Plan
- a refreshed domestic abuse strategy, including a new perpetrator strategy;
- the Government’s end-to-end rape review;
- a refreshed violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence strategy in Wales; and
- the Beating Crime Plan.
We also drew on evidence from super-complaints, including:
- Safe to share? Liberty and Southall Black Sisters’ super-complaint on policing and immigration status
- A duty to protect: Police use of protective measures in cases involving violence against women and girls; and
- Police super-complaints: force response to police perpetrated domestic abuse.
The charities SafeLives, Refuge and Women’s Aid have more information available for people affected by VAWG offences.