Violence Against Women and Girls
West Yorkshire Police is committed to creating an environment where women and girls can feel safe and be safe within the county, free of fear and harassment. As part of the Force’s commitment to reducing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), it has launched its Strategy, outlining how it intends to ensure that women and girls are safe and feel safe.
This follows the launch of the National Police Chief’s Council’s (NPCC) national strategy on how forces can support women and girls who are victims of violence and harassment.
As part of this the Force is focusing on three key priorities which are:
- Pillar 1: Increasing trust and confidence in policing
- Pillar 2: Pursuit of perpetrators
- Pillar 3: Creating safe spaces (in private, public and online and in education)
There has already been a significant amount of investment in projects and training across the Force in recent years, including:
- The Force is now recording misogyny and misandry related crimes, to accurately identify and support victims who have been subjected to abuse or harassment.
- Recruitment of an additional 65 Investigators and 15 Sergeants in Safeguarding. Further resources are also going into non-recent CSE investigations, Domestic Abuse Teams and Integrated Offender Management officers who work to reduce repeat offending with those individuals causing the most harm to victims.
- Launching an ambitious training programme which focuses on vulnerability training, the Serious Sexual Assault Investigators Development Programme, specialist child abuse investigations and video recorded interview training, to improve still further the care for victims and witnesses.
- The Flagship Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) was opened in 2020 which is used for both child and adult cases and it aims to improve the experiences of victims and witnesses of serious sexual offences.
- Relaunching our stalking and harassment campaign and focusing on improving our investigation of these complex and harrowing cases.
Further to this, West Yorkshire Police has been successful is securing funding together with West Yorkshire’s Combined Authority through the Safer Street Fund and the Safety of Women at Night fund. This will enable the force to introduce new and innovative ways to make West Yorkshire safe for our residents.
West Yorkshire Police has recently become White Ribbon accredited. This is part of a national campaign to take a stand to end all male violence against women and take action to change behaviours and culture.
Chief Constable John Robins QPM said:
“I want to outline our clear commitment to tackling violence against women and girls here in West Yorkshire. Following the launch of the national strategy from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, we are now launching our own strategy.
“For many years, we have dedicated significant resource in this area, not just in light of recent events across the country.
“I am delighted have been awarded White Ribbon Accreditation. This is just another example of how West Yorkshire Police is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all women and girls and to changing culture and behaviour of men within our communities.
“I hope that this pledge from West Yorkshire Police today gives our communities across the county the reassurance and confidence that we are committed to ensuring we do everything in our power to accurately identify and pursue perpetrators quickly and to look after and protect victims. We want all women and girls to not only be safe but feel safe in West Yorkshire.”
Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin added:
“Ensuring the safety of women and girls is a key pledge of mine, and as my Police and Crime Plan nears completion, we are generating ever increasing partnership traction in achieving our goal.
“By working together to address the issues of disproportionality in crimes affecting women and girls, we can have more influence in changing the negative cultures and behaviours that have become ingrained in society over time.
“I’m delighted that West Yorkshire Police has developed its own strategy to protect Women and Girls, running in parallel with the national policy strategy.
“I know there has been excellent work already, but this extra focus can only help us create a safer West Yorkshire.
YouTube Video - Chief Constable John Robins QPM DL
(Video published December 2021)
Spoken from a survivor
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, we spoke to a survivor of child sexual abuse.
This survivor was a child when she was subjected to abhorrent abuse by a relative, in whom she trusted.
Click here to read our interview with a survivor of child sexual abuse.
Useful Links / Contacts
- Domestic Abuse Advice and Reporting Domestic Abuse Online Form
- Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme - Clare's Law
- StreetSafe Tool - Tell Us Where You Don't Feel Safe
StreetSafe enables members of the public to anonymously pinpoint public places on a map where they have felt or feel unsafe and identify environmental or behavioural factors about those locations that make them feel this way.
- Advice - Investigating a rape or sexual assault - gov.uk
A guide to help you understand the police process of investigating a report of rape or sexual assault
- Rape Crisis 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line
Telephone 0808 500 2222
- The Mayor of West Yorkshire’s Safety of Women and Girls Strategy
- College of Policing - violence against women and girls toolkit
- Make the White Ribbon Promise - whiteribbon.org.uk
The UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls.
Where to get help?
If you or a friend have been subjected to offences against women and girls please reach out for support and help. You can contact the Police anytime, but other fully confidential support agencies are also available such as:
West Yorkshire Police has specialist officers in Safeguarding Units across the county, who will deal with all reports of sexual offences seriously and sensitively, putting the wishes of the victim first.
SARCs - Sexual Assault Referral Centres
SARCs are located across the country and available for everyone, regardless of gender, age, the type of incident, or when it happened. SARCs offer a range of services, including medical and forensic examinations and emergency contraception. They can also arrange access to an Independent Sexual Assault Advisor (ISVA), as well as referrals to mental health support and sexual violence support services.
- The Hazlehurst Centre - West Yorkshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre
- Find other Rape and Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services via NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Independent Sexual Assault Advisor (ISVA)
The role of the ISVA is to support people who have experienced sexual violence. If you are going through the Criminal Justice System, your ISVA can support you throughout the process. The support can be practical, such as liaising with other professionals like your GP or finding other services that can help, such as counselling or other talking therapies. The ISVA can liaise with the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service on your behalf and provide support if the case goes to court. Details of ISVA services are below :
- Victim Support ISVA Service – 01274 535432 / 0300 3031971 – 8am-8pm Monday – Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm.
- SARSVL - Support After Rape and Sexual Assault Leeds - 0808 802 3344
- Bradford Rape Crisis – 01274 308270
- Kirklees Rape & Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre – 01484 450040
Further additional information and support can be found here:
- Rape Crisis England & Wales
- The Survivors Trust
- The Male Survivors Partnership
- Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111
- NHS - Information and advice on drink spiking and date rape drugs
- Knowledge www.knowledge-leeds.co.uk - providing students with practical advice on safety and crime prevention
You can contact the police 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the non-emergency number, 101.
If you are in immediate danger or there is a crime in progress, always call 999.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing in a non-emergency use Typetalk 18001 101
You can chat online to the police using '101 Live Chat' at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101LiveChat
How West Yorkshire Police deal with reports of rape or sexual assault
- Following a 999 call reporting a rape or sexual assault specially trained officers from your local district will attend immediately.
- These specialist officers will take information from you about what has happened.
- They will gather evidence relating to the suspect and if required, with your consent, will take you to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre for a medical examination. Our officers will do everything they can to put you at ease and feel as comfortable as possible.
- After this, the case will be referred to the relevant specialist department; this could be the district CID, or the local Safeguarding Unit.
- The type of crime, age of the victim and their location will determine which team the case will be referred.
- All cases of rape or sexual assault will be different but in all cases the officers will be open and honest and do their best to minimise trauma and offer support for as long as you would like, including offering support from other agencies.
Other helpful contact information
- West Yorkshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre – 0330 2233617 (The Sexual Assault Referral Centre will also take self-referrals should you be unsure about reporting to the police.)
- Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111
- Bradford Rape Crisis – 0800 448 0710
- Kirklees Rape & Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre – 01484 450040
Page last reviewed February 2023.