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Violence against women and girls

Our ambition is to end violence against women and girls. This section contains our strategic vision and work we’re planning over the coming spending review period.

Latest on this topic

What we're doing

In the strategic vision to end violence against women and girls, the government has committed to £28m (in total) of stable Home Office funding for specialist services over the next four years, improving the response to rape, more training and early intervention programmes, new powers and better support for victims.

The action plan contains measures for central government to:

  • prevent violence from happening by challenging the attitudes and behaviours which foster it and intervening early where possible to prevent it.
  • provide adequate levels of support where violence does occur.
  • work in partnership to obtain the best outcome for victims and their families.  
  • take action to reduce the risk to women and girls who are victims of these crimes and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Prevention is at the heart of our approach and we are focussing on awareness raising, early identification and early intervention. The action plan also recognised that violence against women and girls occurs in all countries and it is an issue which crosses borders.

Today we have published our response to Baroness Stern's review into the way rape complaints are handled in England and Wales.

Read Baroness Stern's review (new window).

You can also see the government's response to the Stern Review.

Find out more about these commitments and other pledges the government has made.

Female genital mutilation guidelines

New guidelines on the Foreign and commonwealth office website support frontline professionals such as teachers, health professionals, police officers and social workers in preventing female genital mutilation (FGM). The guidelines:

  • explain the complex issues around FGM
  • identify the signs that girls and women may be at risk or who are dealing with the consequences of FGM
  • set out the actions that professionals should take, often in conjunction with other agencies, to protect girls and women and offer them the support they need

Read the FGM guidelines on the Foreign and commonwealth office website (new window).

Read the equality impact assessment for the FMG guidelines

Teenage relationship abuse

Earlier this year the Home Office ran a campaign to challenge the attitudes of teenagers to violence and abuse in relationships. Find out more about this campaign, including advice for school and teenagers.

Independent sexual violence advisers

Independent sexual violence advisers help victims of sexual crimes get access to the services they need. Find out how to apply for funding to provide these services over the next four years until 2014/15.

'A hidden crime'

The Home Secretary allocates more than £28m for specialist services to tackle violence against women and girls until 2015. Read the full news story.

Key statistics

Violence against women and girls is often a hidden crime; a comprehensive understanding of its prevalence remains a challenge. However, the research that we do have reveals a shocking picture:

  • at least 1 in 4 women in the UK will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime (British Crime Survey 2009/10)
  • almost 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime (British Crime Survey 2009/10)
  • almost 1 in 20 women was stalked last year and 1 in 5 women will experience stalking in their lifetime (British Crime Survey 2009/10)
  • approximately 66,000 women in England and Wales have had their genitals mutilated and it is estimated that approximately 100-140 million African women have undergone FGM worldwide (FORWARD)
  • the United Nations estimates that every year 5,000 women are victims of honour-killings internationally
  • in 2009, the forced marriage unit provided direct support to victims in the UK and overseas in 377 cases
  • the minimum cost of violence against women and girls in the UK is £37.6bn.
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