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  • Safer Streets Fund awards £50m to improve security in local communities

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    £50 million of new funding will be given to communities across England and Wales, with money going to police forces, local authorities, British Transport Police and eligible groups to prevent violence against women and girls in public, neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour.

    These projects will be able to roll out extra CCTV and streetlighting in their communities and expand work to change attitudes and behaviours and prevent these crimes happening in the first place.

    Northamptonshire, Humberside and Nottinghamshire PCCs are just some of the organisations which have already received funding through previous rounds. The money has been spent on home security, community outreach and initiatives such as football and boxing, to divert young people from crime.

    This is the fourth round of funding from the Safer Street Fund and takes the total awarded through this fund and the Safety of Women at Night Fund to £125 million.

    The Safer Streets Fund allows forces and local authorities to invest in transformative crime prevention initiatives.

    The latest round of the fund is the first to accept bids from eligible civil society organisations, and among the successful bidders for this round is Her Centre, a London-based charity which offers free and confidential advocacy, counselling, advice and training relating to domestic abuse, rape and sexual abuse and other issues that affect women.

    Her Centre has been awarded £140,000 to deliver support to victims of sexual harassment, assault, rape, and stalking so that they recover confidence to live lives free of fear. Her Centre will also use the funding to work to help prevent acts of violence against women through active bystander training and engagement with young people around understanding and responding to violence against women and girls in areas particularly affected by these issues.

    Marking one year since the publication of the VAWG Strategy, the government is also announcing the launch of a targeted consultation on whether there should be a new offence for public sexual harassment. Experts from a range of sectors, including charities, the police, law, education and transport, are invited to share their views on whether a new specific offence would help to tackle this issue.

    This follows the VAWG Strategy’s Call for Evidence which saw over 180,000 responses, the majority from the public, and complements other work the government is undertaking to tackle public sexual harassment, such as new police guidance and forthcoming new guidance for prosecutors to make sure existing laws are implemented, and the ‘Enough’ behaviour change campaign.

    The Tackling VAWG strategy made clear that in addition to supporting victims, we must also prevent crimes being committed in the first place.

    The Home Office has awarded over £25 million over the last two years to Police and Crime Commissioners to support increasing the availability of interventions for domestic abuse and stalking perpetrators. These interventions aim to reduce the risk posed by perpetrators and hold them to account, including through group or individual behaviour change programmes.

    The Early Awareness Stalking Intervention programme, overseen by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and funded by the Home Office, is one of the first attempt of its kind in England and Wales to deliver rehabilitative treatment for stalkers, which aims to improve victim/survivor safety.

    West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner, Nicky Brennan, said: “There is no excuse for abuse of any kind. Reducing incidence of crime is paramount and that’s why we are working hard on prevention and early intervention in the West Midlands, particularly in tackling violence against women and girls.

    “That is why we partnered with West Midlands Police, Midlands Psychology Services, Black Country Women’s Aid, The Alice Ruggles Trust and the University of Derby to pilot and evaluate the Early Awareness Stalking Intervention across the whole West Midlands, through funding from the 2021 Home Office Perpetrator Fund.

    “Early results are promising and we have already learnt a lot and are looking forward to a full evaluation early next year.”

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien