Ava White: Police Commissioner warns of ‘epidemic of violence against women and girls’ on Merseyside

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner “heartbroken” over killing of 12-year-old girl

<p>Floral tribute to Ava White</p>

Floral tribute to Ava White

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has spoken about her heartbreak over the murder of a 12-year-old girl in Liverpool.

Ava White, 12, died after suffering “catastrophic injuries” following an assault in Liverpool city centre on Thursday night.

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Four males – one aged 13, two aged 14 years and one aged 15 years, all from Toxteth - have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Police also confirmed on Friday three men had been arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a 47-year-old woman was found in a property in Mossley Hill.

PCC Emily Spurrell has campaigned about tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) and is due to question Chief Constable Serena Kennedy next week about police work to deal with the issue. The questions will be part of a scheduled scrutiny meeting with the theme of supporting victims; safer communities.

Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell.

Spurrell called on Merseyside Police to treat misogyny as a hate crime before she became PCC and has warned that violence against women doesn’t get treated as seriously as other crimes.

In a statement she said: “It is absolutely devastating to hear the news this morning of two lives lost in our city, a 47-year-old woman and 12-year-old Ava White. My deepest sympathies go out to all the families affected by these horrific incidents.

“Yesterday we marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, and this morning we wake up to the tragic news that two women have been murdered.

“No-one should be in any doubt that there is an epidemic of violence against women and girls in Merseyside and across the country.

“We must all work together to root out misogyny, violence, and abuse to keep women and girls safe.

“It breaks my heart to think that a young girl has lost her life because of an act of senseless violence in our community.

“There is clearly more work to be done to tackle serious violence and keep our communities safe. This responsibility falls on all of us. Myself, Merseyside Police, our partners and all our communities across Merseyside.”

Anyone affected by the incidents can access support via Victim Care Merseyside.

What is the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign?

The United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Thursday marked the launch of a 16 days of activism concluding on International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic started, shows that two in three women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence.

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Only one in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.