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New commitment to help end violence against women and girls

Published: 13 December 2021

Violence against women and girls' strategy has launched 

  • A commitment has been agreed in Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea to help end violence against women and girls
  • One in three women in the two boroughs will be affected by violence in their lifetime
  • Five-year strategy sets out prevention, support for victims, partnership working and intervention to change abusers’ behaviour

A joint commitment to end violence against women and girls (VAWG) is part of a five-year strategy introduced by Westminster City Council and Kensington and Chelsea.

Across the two London boroughs, it is estimated violence affects around one in three women and girls at some point in their lifetime. In many instances, it remains hidden and under-reported. A recent survey revealed that 46 per cent felt fairly or very unsafe in Westminster and 45 per cent of women in Kensington and Chelsea felt fairly or very unsafe at night. The Angelou Partnership is set up in both boroughs, offering free support from 10 specialist organisations to survivors of violence and abuse.

The strategy has been researched and created with survivors who told the councils that professionals need to be well-trained to spot abuse so support can be made at an early stage – before the situation reaches crisis point. The strategy includes myth busting about who is affected, and why.

Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Regeneration, said:

Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and on the streets of Westminster, and this has been, and continues to be, a top priority for us as a council.

We have already taken so many important steps to protect women and girls in Westminster but there is still so much more we need to do to end VAWG. This strategy is vital in setting out our priorities and commitments and how we will work together as part of our coordinated community approach.

It’s crucial we see a behaviour change in society and address the root cause of violence against women and girls and to stop it from happening in the first place.

Cllr Emma Will, Kensington and Chelsea Council’s Lead Member for Community Safety, said:

Sadly, we know that violence against women and girls is happening in our boroughs. It is happening in homes, in schools, on the street and in public places.

Nationally we know that on average two women are killed every week by a current or former partner and one in five women have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

Locally, it is estimated to be affecting around one in three women and girls at some point in their lifetime. In order to end this, we must work together.

It also sets out the following objectives:

  • to prevent VAWG from happening in the first place by working with children, young people and adults to address the root causes of the problem
  • to support survivors to get the right support, from the right people, at the right time, both in the immediate response and long-term support
  • to improve partnership working by bringing together services including health, housing, social care, education, criminal justice and communities
  • to hold abusers to account and provide intervention and support to change their behaviour

An action plan will be published in 2022 which will set out the direct actions and interventions to meet the strategy’s aims.

If you, or someone you know is afraid or worried about sexual or domestic abuse, support is available:

  • call the Angelou Support Service on 020 8741 7008, Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 6pm
  • the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline can be contacted on: 0808 2000 247
  • in an emergency call 999

Visit our dedicated domestic abuse support page and read the full strategy.