The Home Office has published a refresh to its 2016 Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and a Male Victims position paper.
Please see below for factsheets on both of these publications, highlighting some of the key fact and measures included in these documents.
Violence against Women and Girls Strategy Refresh Factsheet
- In 2016 the Government published the most recent Ending VAWG Strategy.
- A refreshed VAWG strategy is published today (Wed 6 March) to update on existing actions in the current strategy to ensure that all Government departments are tackling VAWG.
- It sets out new ambitions for national and local government as well as wider society to tackling all forms of VAWG, including sexual violence, stalking and so-called ‘honour based’ abuse.
- This strategy sits alongside the draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published on 21 January 2019, and non-legislative measures outlined here
Facts & statistics
- In the UK, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse and 1 in 5 sexual assault during her lifetime. Globally this rises to 1 in 3.
- The Crime Survey of England and Wales estimates 20% of women and 4% of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to an estimated 3.4 million female victims and 631,000 male victims. 5 in 6 victims (83%) did not report their experiences to the police.
- An estimated 3.1% of women (510,000) and 0.8% of men (138,000) aged 16-59 experienced sexual assault in the last year.
- Approximately 2 million adults experienced domestic abuse last year, with 695,000 of these being male.
- We have committed over £100 million to tackle VAWG over 5 years.
Ten key commitments
The refreshed Violence Against Women and Girls strategy contains 54 new commitments, in addition to the 95 contained within the 2016 Strategy. This includes the commitment to:
- Carry out a review of the criminal justice response to rape and serious sexual offences, reporting into the Criminal Justice Board to investigate why there have been reductions in volumes of police referrals, CPS charges, prosecutions and convictions for rape and serious sexual assault cases. The review will use this evidence to develop an action plan to address any identified issues, in order to ensure justice for all. It will cover the period from the point of police reporting through to final outcome in court. The Criminal Justice Board and Inter-Ministerial Group on Violence Against Women and Girls will oversee the review. We will establish a sub-group of the Criminal Justice Board, and a stakeholder advisory group to closely involve victims’ groups
- Publish the first Male Victims’ position statement to recognise the needs of male victims and clarify and strengthen our response, please see separate fact sheet. This will be published on Thursday 7 March 2019 and will sit alongside the Strategy.
- Conduct research into the connection between porn and attitudes to women. Research has already been carried out into connections between pornography and sexual violence, including the 2015 report commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner for England and Wales. However, we believe this needs to go further, and include an understanding of whether there are links between pornography and all harmful attitudes towards women more broadly.
- Explore issues of ‘online flashing’ and consider options for next steps. Online flashing is a form of sexual harassment whereby individuals send out explicit sexual images without the consent of those receiving it, including through sharing files on public transport with strangers. We want to consider this issue in more depth and develop an appropriate response.
- Consider the impact of alcohol on VAWG. We will identify gaps in the evidence base on the relationship between alcohol and substance misuse and VAWG, and develop a response as part of the department’s alcohol policy work.
- Develop guidance for supporting LGBT victims. Evidence suggests that LGBT victims of VAWG face particular barriers to accessing support. We will work closely with specialist VAWG organisations, commissioners, support services and the LGBT community to develop guidance on best practice for supporting LGBT victims, including through providing clarity on the operation of the Equality Act.
- Gather regular data on sexual harassment. The Government is committed to challenging myths and stereotypes around harassment and sexual misconduct to ensure that people properly understand consent and that frontline professionals respond appropriately
- Conduct a review of the National Statement of Expectations. Central Government also plays a critical role in providing direction and support to local areas to support their decision-making. To do this, we published the National Statement of Expectations, supported by the Commissioning Toolkit, which sets out a blueprint for local action, and guidance for local commissioners on best practice. The VAWG Strategy refresh commits to reviewing this to ensure that it remains up to date and is having an impact locally.
- Increase funding for rape support centres by 10%. From 2019 there is an increase of 10% in funding for rape support centres, and we will commit funding over three years to provide longer term sustainability for support centres. The Ministry of Justice will announce the outcome of their competition shortly.
- Provide £50m additional funding to tackle FGM across Africa. The UK Government has made the largest ever donor investment to help end the devastating and harmful practice of FGM by 2030. We will support the Africa-led movement to end FGM by supporting community programmes and grassroots campaigners; working with governments to get laws in place banning FGM; and working with religious leaders to call for an end to FGM and dispel the myth that it is a religious practice.
Male Victim Position statement Fact Sheet
The Government is publishing a male victims position statement to sit alongside its Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy.
This covers crimes considered in the Ending VAWG Strategy including domestic abuse, sexual assault, honour-based abuse, stalking, forced marriage, prostitution and sex work, committed by both men and women against males.
Facts and statistics
- There were 695,000 male victims and survivors of domestic abuse in England and Wales in the year ending March 2018.
- Evidence tells us many men do not report abuse because of feelings of shame, embarrassment, denial and stereotypes of masculinity.
- Data from the Crime survey for England and Wales (CSEW) (2015-17) shows gay and bisexual men are more likely than heterosexual men to be victims of all crime, including the crimes framed within the Ending VAWG Strategy.
- Data from the CSEW (year ending March 2018) shows gay men were more than twice as likely to be victims of domestic abuse.
- An estimated 140,000 men in England and Wales (0.9%) aged 16 to 59 experienced sexual assault in the year ending March 2018.
- A report by Male Survivors Partnership showed 20 per cent of men sampled took 31 years to report sexual abuse.
- Data collected by the Ministry of Justice shows that there has been a 201% increase in the number of men and boys aged over 13 accessing MoJ-funded rape support services from 2014-18.
- The number of men and boys aged 13 years old and over reporting a sexual assault has increased by 57% from 3,445 in 2015/16 to 5,394 in 2017/18.
- On average 20% of cases referred to the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) relate to male victims. As is the case with female victims, men may be forced into marriage for a variety of reasons (e.g. to strengthen family ties through marriage, to attempt to ‘cure’ homosexuality or to find a carer for an individual with a disability).
- Between 2011-2017, the FMU handled 746 cases (approx. 8% of all cases) involving someone with a learning disability. In 55% of learning disability cases the victim was male.
Home Office commitments
- Provide £500,000 to specialist organisations that support male victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
- Provide £500,000 to specialist LGBT domestic abuse organisations. This aims to improve support and raise awareness within LGBT communities, encourage reporting and improve monitoring and recording practices.
- Provide £146,000 to Survivors Manchester to support the formation and development of the Male Survivors Partnership. This is the UK umbrella development agency for groups working with male victims and survivors of sexual violence. They use research to gain a greater understanding of the needs of male survivors. This is used to inform commissioners, policy makers and service providers.
- Providing £24m over the next three years to vital services that support all victims of sexual violence, including men and boys. This will increase access to advice, support and counselling to help victims cope and, as far as possible, recover from these devastating crimes.