West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, has launched a plan with partners to continue helping victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
On average West Yorkshire Police deal with 6 incidents of domestic abuse every hour.
The West Yorkshire Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy focuses on five key areas – partnership working, preventing violence and abuse, provision of services, support for victims/survivors and pursuing perpetrators.
It focuses on victim support and partnership working to tackle and prevent crimes as well as recognising links to other crimes including female genital mutilation (FGM), child sexual exploitation (CSE) and human trafficking.
The strategy was launched at the Thornbury Centre in Bradford earlier this month with Mr Burns-Williamson, and key speakers including West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Dee Collins, Wakefield Councillor Maureen Cummings – Chair of the West Yorkshire Domestic and Sexual Abuse Board.
Partners from emergency services, health care, social work, criminal justice, community safety and the third sector attended the event to introduce the plan to wider partners.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Domestic abuse and sexual abuse are truly harrowing and appalling crimes and I will do everything in my power to stop them from happening. The launch of this strategy is about ensuring we have a truly joined up and systematic approach to dealing with these crimes.
“We need to ensure a consistent level of service across the districts, creating a knowledge and best practise sharing tool, providing further support to victims and creating more targeted campaigns.
“Any incident of domestic abuse is one figure too many but through increased awareness, we are getting more victims to come forward and bringing perpetrators to justice.”
“We have created the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and the Sexual Violence Advisor Service (ISVA), funding for a perpetrator reform programme, awareness raising campaigns as well as further funding to support projects helping victims of domestic abuse through my Safer Communities Fund.”
Chief Constable Dee Collins, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Domestic and sexual abuse are terrible crimes which can have an immediate and lasting impact. They are not crimes that are confined to any particular neighbourhood or group; they can and do affect people from any background. This abuse is often physical but it can also be controlling or coercive behaviour designed to make a victim feel subordinate or frightened.
“We have made great efforts to ensure that crimes are properly recorded, investigated and then victims supported, providing victims with a far greater confidence to come forward to the police and make a report.
“West Yorkshire Police will not tolerate any form of abuse or violence. We work closely with partners to continually improve our services to reduce domestic abuse and secure justice for victims.”
Councillor Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities at Wakefield Council, who chaired the launch event, said: “I was very pleased to chair this workshop and work through the five key themes from the new strategy in more detail.
“It’s so important that stakeholders get together and we all definitely came away with more partnership agreement and more innovate ideas of how we can help support victims of domestic and sexual abuse. We all need to work together to combat these horrific crimes.
You can find out more about the event held on 7 June and read the West Yorkshire Domestic and Sexual Abuse Strategy here https://www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/how-we-work/our-priorities/domestic-abuse/domestic-and-sexual-abuse-strategy.aspx
If you have been or know of someone that has been affected by domestic abuse or sexual abuse help can be found here: