Merton Council last week agreed a new strategy for the next three years to help prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) and all forms of domestic abuse in the borough. The strategy brings in departments across the council as well as external partners such as the police.
The strategy is formed of five key priorities: to raise awareness and implement coordinated partnership working; to prevent VAWG through early intervention; to support victims; to hold perpetrators of VAWG to account; and to improving the safety of women and girls
This last point has been a major focus following the murder of women such as Sarah Everard, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry and Sabina Nessa in 2021, and a specific Women and Girls task group has been set up in the borough to look at this issue.
Work around VAWG is coordinated by Safer Merton and includes Merton Council obtaining White Ribbon accreditation to demonstrate our commitment in engaging with men and boys to end violence against women and girls.
Safer Merton also oversees campaigns that seek to raise awareness of Domestic Violence and Abuse and VAWG amongst our partners and the community – for example the 16 Days Against Domestic Violence and Abuse Campaign each year.
This year’s campaign will see the Council link up with local partners such as AFC Wimbledon to send a clear message that men and boys in Merton want to be part of the change to promote equality and respect of women and girls and encourage the harassment of women to be called out.
The VAWG strategy will be launched during the 16 Days campaign in November.
Cllr Eleanor Stringer, Cabinet Member for Civic Pride, said: “I’m so proud of the invaluable work that Safer Merton leads on around the VAWG Strategy, bringing together agencies across the borough to help eradicate this enduring scourge.
“Through active intervention, education, support for victims and working with young men and boys, the Council will continue to work hard to prevent ongoing violence and abuse in Merton.”