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Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

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This factsheet outlines action taken by the government to tackle violence against women and girls.

Domestic abuse

  • On September 18 the government appointed Nicole Jacobs as the Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner.
  • The government’s Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced to Parliament in July. However, it will not be possible to enact the legislation before Parliament is dissolved. Therefore, the Domestic Abuse Bill will make no further progress in this Parliament.
  • We continue to progress the non-legislative work which supports the measures in the Bill, including:
    • £8 million of Home Office funding to support children affected by domestic abuse;
    • crisis funding for those with no recourse to public funds (via the tampon tax
    • additional funding and capacity building for services for disabled, elderly and LGBT victims
    • updated support, training and guidance on economic abuse
    • new and additional training for job centre work coaches, police, social workers and probation staff to help them recognise and effectively tackle abuse
    • improved support for victims in the family court
    • additional £500,000 funding for provisions for male victims

Further action to tackle violence against women and girls

Earlier this year the Home Office published its refreshed violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy in order to provide further support to victims and survivors of violent crime. Among the 54 new commitments pledged in the refresh were:

    • A cross-sector, end-to-end review into the criminal justice response to rape, overseen by the Criminal Justice Board;
    • Commissioning research into whether there is a connection between pornography and attitudes towards women;
    • Publish guidance on best practice for supporting LBGT+ victims;
    • Explore issues of ‘online flashing’ and consider options for next steps; and
    • Consider the impact of alcohol on violence against women and girl

As part of our commitment to tackling all forms of VAWG, we have pledged over £100 million in funding.

On October 30, the government published the University of Bristol’s research into the nature and prevalence of prostitution and sex work in England and Wales today, to help build the evidence base on this complex issue.

Sexual Violence

Through the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, we are conducting a cross-sector, end-to-end review into the criminal justice response to rape, overseen by the Criminal Justice Board

The review has identified four priority areas which are to understand why there have been:

    • Increases in cases which are closed by the police where a victim has been identified but where the victim does not support prosecution
    • Variation in referral to charge rates by police forces
    • Declines in CPS charge volumes
    • Decreases in the volume of rape convictions

On September 18 the Ministry of Justice announced increased funding of £5m to support victims of sexual violence, which includes £4m to provide a 50% uplift to the Rape Support Fund, and £1m to improve the quantity and consistency of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers.

Forced Marriage and FGM

  • The joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) is leading efforts to combat forced marriage both at home and abroad. The FMU runs an advice helpline which can be reached on: 0207 008 0151
  • The government made Forced Marriage a criminal offence in 2014
  • More than 2,000 Forced Marriage Protection Orders have so far been issued
  • The FMU is carrying out an ongoing programme of outreach for professionals, which works to prevent cases through training and awareness raising. We have also published statutory multi-agency guidance and made available free e-learning to help professionals to recognise the warning signs and ensure that the right action is taken to help protect those at risk.
  • There have been 4 convictions for forced marriage in the UK.
  • Operation Limelight is an ongoing operation between law enforcement agencies at the border, which aims to raise awareness of crimes such as forced marriage and FGM
  • The government significantly strengthened the law in 2015 to improve protection for victims and those at risk of FGM, and to break down barriers to prosecution. The government has:
    • introduced a new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM;
    • extended the reach of extra territorial offences;
    • introduced lifelong anonymity for victims of FGM;
    • introduced civil FGM Protection Orders; and
    • introduced a mandatory reporting duty for known cases in under 18s
  • FGM Protection Orders are being used to good effect with 418 being granted since their introduction to the end of June 2019
  • A mandatory reporting duty requiring professionals to report known cases of FGM in under 18s to the police came into force on 31 October 2015
  • In February 2019 a woman became the first person in the UK to be convicted of FGM

Male victims

In March the government published the first cross-government position statement on male victims of these crimes, which sets out the scale of abuse against men and the specific issues they can face

The Male Victims Position Statement sets out 12 specific commitments to better enable male victims and survivors to come forward and receive the support they need and bring perpetrators to justice. These include:

    • providing £500,000 to specialist organisations that support male victims and survivors of domestic abuse;
    • awarding a specialist LGBT domestic abuse organisation that supports LGBT victims and survivors with £500,000; and
    • providing increased funding over the next three years for services providing advice and counselling to all victims of sexual violence, including men and boys

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