Survivors share views on the Police Crime Commissioner’s new plans to tackle violence against women and girls

Following the murder of Ava White in November, the Police and Crime Commissioner warned of an ‘epidemic of violence against women and girls’.

Victims and survivors of violence have met with the Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to discuss her plans to tackle violence against women and girls across the region.

The group shared their views with commissioner Emily Spurrell, who hosted two focus groups to listen to the views of those with first hand experience.

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Survivors shared their lived experiences with violence against women and girls (VAWG) and how it can best be tackled in Merseyside.

This follows Spurrell’s warning of an ‘epidemic of violence against women and girls’ in November following the murder of Ava White.

Ava was just 12-years-old when she died of “catastrophic injuries” after being attacked in Liverpool city centre.

Merseyside Police

In May, a 14-year-old boy was convicted of murdering the school girl after fatally stabbing her at the Christmas lights switch on.

During the same week in November, three men were also arrested for murdering a 47-year-old woman at a property in Mossley Hill.

At the time PCC Emily Spurrell said “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 of our communities across Merseyside.”

The latest forums with survivors follows on from a violence against women and girls summit that was held in April.

At the time Spurrell brought over 80 specialists, including frontline staff and voluntary organisations together.

The summit was held as a discussion on the creation of a delivery plan to make the region safer for women and girls.

The survivors attended the two small group sessions at the Liverpool Quaker Meeting House and were asked to share their views and experiences.

Attendees were asked to share their experiences of the police and criminal justice process and where they think the system works well, in addition to where there are issues or blockages.

They were also asked about their views on the support that is currently on offer across the region.

Survivors shared their experiences on how organisations can intervene earlier to increase education and awareness, tackle misogyny and prevent crimes from occuring to begin with.

Feedback from the forums will be used to shape the PCC’s delivery plan, which will set out how organisations across Merseyside should work together to tackle violence against women and girls.

Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, at the violence against women and girls summit this week

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Radical change is needed across the country if we are to truly tackle the epidemic of violence against women and girls which exists in our society.

“I’m committed to doing everything possible to drive change here in our region. A crucial part of that work is creating an action plan for how all organisations can prevent these crimes from happening and improve the response when sadly they do occur.

“Such a plan will only be truly effective if we listen to the voices and experiences of those who have suffered violence first-hand and that’s why today’s victim-survivor focus groups were so important to me.

“I want to ensure their voices are at the heart of this work, so I am very grateful to all the women who gave up their time to talk to me and my team about their experiences today.

“I’m committed to turning the views I heard today into a series of positive actions to ensure real change. The long-term impact on survivors of VAWG is huge and we must always have this at the forefront of our minds when undertaking any work to make women and girls feel safer and be safer across our region.”