By Leah Conway –
On Tuesday, 7 September, over 130 delegates joined an online roundtable event to discuss the safety of women and girls across the county.
The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, led the online session. The roundtable aimed to capture the views and feedback from various organisations and individuals, focusing on directly hearing from those with lived experience.
Speakers included West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, John Robins who highlighted how crucial a system-wide change is.
‘At the heart’
Mayor Brabin said the event would be a crucial springboard to achieving her manifesto pledge of putting women and girls and the heart of the policing plan. Tracy Brabin commented, “Having launched a call for evidence in mid-August around the safety of women and girls, this latest roundtable event is just the next step in shaping our collective response.
“Education, societal and cultural changes are all needed if we are to effectively address the issues and make a real difference to people’s lives.
“Listening to the experiences of those affected by this subject was incredibly powerful and reinforced the need for a coordinated partnership approach.
“My call for evidence remains open until the 17th September, and I would urge everyone to take the time to have their say and be part of the journey.”
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Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe, added: “Talking about my own past experiences of abuse brought home the huge significance of this work and what it means to so many.
“It was particularly emotional, but it made me realise with absolute clarity why we must do more together to keep women and girls safe.
“This is not to preclude male victims in any way; it is about acknowledging those in our community who are disproportionately affected by serious violent crimes.
“This might mean changing perceptions and preconceived beliefs through influencing behaviours and attitudes towards women and girls.
“Everyone has a voice in directing our future response, and it will also feed into the development of the Police and Crime Plan for West Yorkshire.”
‘Genuine safety concerns’
West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins QPM, said: “We understand the genuine safety concerns that women have – they should feel safe in their homes and feel safe on the streets of West Yorkshire.
“Preventing and detecting all forms of abuse, harassment and violence to women and girls are part of the key priorities of West Yorkshire Police and have been for some time. We are absolutely committed to supporting all victims in a caring and compassionate way, as well as bringing offenders swiftly to justice.
“Partnership working is vital in this area, it is not an issue that one agency alone can solve. We work closely with partners across local authorities, adult and children’s services, education and in the voluntary and community sectors to ensure there is help and support available for all victims and witnesses.
“It was a powerful and timely reminder yesterday to hear again the experiences of delegates and to understand the major impact violence and abuse has had on their lives.”
The public can still share their opinions by emailing Consultation.PC@westyorks-ca.gov.uk or visiting the West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.