Merton Council is today launching its new strategy for the next three years to help prevent all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and 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 commissioning of services for women and girls who are victims of abuse and violence, and working in partnership with the police, housing and community groups.
Achievements in recent months include the council obtaining White Ribbon accreditation to demonstrate our commitment in engaging with men and boys to end violence against women and girls.
Safer Merton has also overseen campaigns raising awareness of Domestic Violence and Abuse and VAWG among our partners and the community – for example the 16 Days Against Domestic Violence and Abuse Campaign which is launched in late November every year.
This year’s campaign sees Merton link up with local partners such as AFC Wimbledon to send a clear message that men and boys 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.
Cllr Eleanor Stringer, Cabinet Member for Civic Pride, said: “I’m so proud that the council is launching this strategy, which marks the culmination of months of hard work by the Safer Merton team.
“Their leadership has helped to craft 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 and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”
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