Home Secretary says ‘Enough’ to violence against women and girls

The Home Secretary has today launched an ambitious new, multi-year national communications campaign which says ‘Enough’ to violence against women and girls.

The campaign includes television adverts, billboards, social media and radio advertising and will highlight different forms of violence against women and girls and the simple acts that anyone can take to challenge perpetrators of abuse. Forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) represented include street harassment, coercive control, unwanted touching, workplace harassment, revenge-porn and cyber-flashing.

The campaign was informed by the unprecedented 180,000 responses to the Call for Evidence last year. This multi-year campaign will also include communications to educate young people about healthy relationships and consent, and ensure victims can recognise abuse and seek support.

It has been developed with an advisory group comprising over 30 voluntary sector organisations, survivors and academics who have given their expert insight. The latest findings in behavioural science have also been used, including the role of peers and wider society in influencing people’s actions, and the importance of providing simple, clear options to overcome the barriers people can have to challenging abuse.

Alongside advertising, a new website provides more information on the steps people can take to safely challenge violence against women and girls, guidance for victims of these crimes and advice for perpetrators who recognise their behaviour needs to change.

It comes as the Home Secretary, National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing (HMICFRS) confirm that they are accepting and implementing all of the recommendations made by HMICFRS in their violence against women and girls inspection. The inspection, commissioned by the Home Secretary last year, recommends:

  • appointing a full-time VAWG national policing lead to co-ordinate and improve the national policing response – which the Home Office supported, and DCC Maggie Blyth is now in post
  • adding VAWG to the strategic policing requirement placing it on the same strategic footing as terrorism, serious organised crime and child sexual abuse
  • new guidance to police forces on how to treat victims and to establish a single national survey on victim satisfaction
  • ensuring that progress is closely monitored, including violence against women and girls as a priority for the ministerially chaired Crime and Policing Performance Board
  • taking action to make sure different agencies, including the police, health and education, are working together effectively to tackle violence against women and girls, including considering whether any new duties should be introduced – the government recently made it clear in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that local areas can consider domestic abuse and sexual offences for the purposes of the new serious violence duty

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

For too long, the responsibility of keeping safe has been placed on the shoulders of women and girls. This campaign says enough, and recognises it is on all of us to demand major societal change. Everyone has a stake in this.

Our new campaign shows that everyone can play a role in challenging abuse and making our country a safer place. By accepting all of the recommendations in the HMICFRS report I commissioned last year, the government and the police are doubling down to support victims and survivors and punish perpetrators.

The Home Secretary also commissioned a 2-phase independent inquiry, chaired by Dame Eilsh Angiolini QC, to investigate and scrutinise the robustness of vetting practices, professional standards and discipline, and workplace behaviour within the police.

Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth said:

The last year has seen some tragic and shocking incidences of violence against women and girls. There have been abhorrent examples of abuse or misogyny by police officers.

We have a good plan for change in policing to better protect women and girls from violence and root out misogyny in our own ranks.  Experts in the VAWG sector have helped shape it and all forces are implementing it.  I will review progress to ensure we are delivering as well as enabling others to scrutinise our progress.

The government’s decision to make tackling violence against women and girls a strategic policing requirement reinforces the commitment already made by police chiefs to prioritise making women and girls safer.

CEO of Karma Nirvana Natasha Rattu said:

We welcome the launch of ‘Enough’, which the Karma Nirvana team and survivor ambassadors contributed to. The campaign is an important step and sends a powerful message that violence against women and girls cannot go on, and everyone has a role to play to stop it. We are pleased to see the Home Office launch a communications campaign that raises awareness of the abuse women and girls can face on a daily basis, challenges perpetrators and empowers others to know how to safely intervene if they witness unacceptable abuse.

Chief Executive at Women’s Aid Farah Nazeer said:

Violence against women and girls is a spectrum, running from the everyday misogyny that is so prevalent, many people don’t even notice it, right through to horrifically violent crimes and murder. Campaigns like this by the Home Office are an important tool to raise awareness of sexist actions and language that have been tolerated for too long and normalise the treatment of women as objects. Women’s Aid will continue to keep working for the safety of women – until we no longer walk home in fear, whether it is the journey or the destination that holds the greatest danger – but we can’t do it alone. It’s also not enough that women must initiate and highlight the urgency of these conversations. We need ‘allyship’ to help bring about structural change.

Jo Todd, CEO of Respect said:

For too long the responsibility has been on women to keep themselves safe. If we are going to tackle violence against women and girls we must hold those who use abuse to account. This involves providing meaningful opportunities for change and robust action for those who continue to abuse. We hope this campaign will challenge those using abuse to take responsibility and enable communities to feel more confident speaking out. Violence against women and girls must not be tolerated in our society, we will not stop until women and children are safe.

Jayne Butler, CEO of Rape Crisis said:

Campaigns such as these are incredibly important for raising awareness not only on the prevalence of violence against women and girls but also of the types of harmful behaviours that are too often minimised and ignored. All too often the onus is put on women and girls to keep themselves safe or mitigate for male violence, so it’s encouraging to see a campaign that shifts that responsibility, highlighting the different types of abuse and the importance of bystander intervention.

Payzee Mahmod, Child Marriage Survivor and IKWRO Campaigner, said:

I’m behind this strong campaign which importantly shows that everyone has a role to play in taking action to end violence against women and girls and ensuring that every woman and girl gets the support they need.

Andrea Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:

We welcome this campaign to tackle male violence against women and girls. We can’t end this abuse without addressing the unacceptable attitudes and behaviours that minimise and normalise it.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition has called for a public campaign since 2018, and it is clear that this type of campaign must be long-term, properly funded and shaped by specialist organisations including those led by and for Black and ‘minoritised’ women.

It’s really important to engage men and boys in this conversation, because violence against women and girls is everyone’s business and we should all be able to take action and hold each other accountable.

Preventing violence is always better than solely responding after the harm has been done. We need to see more investment in prevention so that as a society, we can continue to have these difficult but necessary conversations and build.

The communications campaign advisory group includes:

  • Business Disability Forum
  • Dr Sarah Steele, Cambridge University
  • Professor Catherine Donovan, Durham University
  • Office of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • Drive
  • Dr Kelly Johnson, Durham University
  • Professor Nicole Westmarland, Durham University
  • Dr Stephen Burrell, Durham University
  • End Violence Against Women  Coalition
  • Everyone’s Invited
  • Galop
  • Dr Helen Mott, expert on ending violence against women
  • Nimco Ali OBE , Independent government advisor on tackling VAWG
  • Iranian Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation
  • Karma Nirvana
  • Laura Bates
  • Dr Fiona Vera-Grey, London Metropolitan University
  • Professor Purna Sen, London Metropolitan University
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • DCC Maggie Blyth, National police lead for violence against women and girls
  • Plan International UK
  • Rape Crisis
  • ReBuild Britain
  • Refuge
  • Respect
  • Revenge Porn Helpline
  • SafeLives
  • Dr Shola Apena Rogers, University of Birmingham
  • SignHealth
  • Suzy Lamplugh Trust
  • Office of the Victim’s Commissioner
  • Welsh Women’s Aid
  • White Ribbon UK
  • Women’s Aid