THURROCK’S commitment to tackling Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) received ministerial backing at its launch event on Monday November 26th.
Victims and Equalities Minister Helen Grant joined Thurrock’s Council Leader Councillor John Kent and Mayor Councillor Yash Gupta to launch Thurrock’s VAWG strategy in the Council Chamber.
Victims and Equalities Minister Helen Grant, said: “I am delighted to be supporting Thurrock’s commitment to tackling violence against women and girls. The government’s ambition is nothing less than ending all forms of violence against women and girls. But we must also ensure that if people’s lives are affected by crime the right kind of help or support is available.
“For the first time we have made sure nearly £40 million of central government funding is in place for organisations that do so much to help victims, often with so little. And we are changing the way we provide wider funding to ensure victims’ services are better matched to the problems faced in local communities.
“As Victims Minister I will do all I can to continue to champion justice for all victims and look forward to the appointment of the Victims Commissioner to help me do this.”
Thurrock is one of the few boroughs embracing the Government’s proposal to target VAWG by using a partnership approach. Those involved range from voluntary sector specialists including South Essex Rape and Crisis Centre (SERICC) and Thurrock Women’s Aid alongside experts from Essex Police, Healthwatch and other health services. By working together the issue is being addressed in a wider context rather than simply focusing on domestic abuse, as it has in the past.
Councillor Kent said: “No matter where it happens, no matter who carries it out violence against women or girls is simply unacceptable – it is wrong. It doesn’t only affect individuals it affects men, women, children and the whole wider community.
“In Thurrock we are determined to challenge those who carry out these despicable acts. We have set out our commitment to tackle the issue from every angle building in all associated elements such as health, employment, education and housing. By making sure we pull together these strands we can deal with the serious problem of violence against women and girls.”
Janet Veitch OBE, women and equalities campaigner and board director at the End Violence Against Women Coalition also lent her support to Thurrock’s campaign speaking at the launch she said: “The End Violence Against Women Coalition has long-campaigned for government nationally and locally to join the dots in their work to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls. It happens in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities, and it’s still largely hidden.
“We are delighted that Thurrock is championing this strategic approach – it will deliver more effective local support to women and girls in Thurrock, and it sends a strong signal about the importance it attaches to women’s safety and support at a time of ongoing revelations related to the Savile case.
“Of critical importance is work in schools to stop problems like sexual bullying and harassment, boys’ use of porn and tackling prejudicial attitudes to women. Working together we can achieve the change we all want to see. ”