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Keeping crime down

Crime and victims

Violence against women and girls

Violence against women and girls is unacceptable, whatever the context, whatever the circumstances.

What is it?

Violence against women is any violence that targets a woman because she is a woman. It is also violence that disproportionately affects women. 

It includes physical, sexual or psychological harm such as domestic violence, sexual assault, forced marriage, stalking, ‘honour’ attacks, human trafficking and female genital mutilation. It also includes threats of violence and kidnapping.

Together we can end Violence against women and girls strategy

We have developed an ambitious cross-government strategy that aims to end violence against women and girls. It includes measures to protect victims, tackle perpetrators and prevent violence from happening. Read the Together we can end violence against women and girls strategy

The strategy was informed by findings from:

We have also developed a tool to aid those who work in this field. The violence against women and girls ready reckoner (new window) is available on the Crime Reduction website.  

Read the Sexualisation of Young People Review.

Guidance on commissioning services

We have produced some draft guidance to make sure we develop the best approach to commissioning services to prevent violence against women and girls, protect victims and potential victims and provide services to victims and perpetrators in local areas.

A film about violence

Watch 'Barbie's story', about a woman who suffered from violence at the hands of her partner.

Watch more videos on our YouTube channel (new window).

What we're doing about it

In recent years we have brought in new laws to protect women and to punish their attackers. Incidents of domestic violence have fallen while convictions rates have increased, and more women have confidence to report rapes to the police and the number of rape convictions has increased.

We have invested in quality support services for women who have been victimised, these services include:

  • more than 100 specialist domestic violence courts in England and Wales
  • arrangements to support victims of crimes such as female genital mutilation, trafficking and 'honour-based’ violence
  • Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs)
  •  Independent Domestic Violence Advisors and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (IDVAs and ISVAs)
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)

We have also invested £5.8m in The Poppy Project (new window) over the last 6 years to provide high-level specialist support for women trafficked into sexual exploitation.  

In addition the government has:

  • introduced witness care staff and witness protection arrangements in courts 
  • launched a Forced Marriages Unit (new window) that helped 400 women in 2008
  • invested in specialist training for prosecutors, police and court staff in dealing with women who have been attacked or abused
  • invested in prison and probation programmes to rehabilitate and manage the men who attack and abuse women

Facts and figures

  • women are more than twice as likely as men to be worried about violent crime
  • nearly one in three women have experienced domestic violence
  • nearly one in four women have experienced some form of sexual assault
  • 39% of women saying fear of crime has impacts their quality of life
  • 53% of all serious sexual assaults are committed by a partner or ex-partner
  • nearly one in ten women say they have been stalked
  • children who have witnessed domestic violence are 2 times more likely to have serious behavioural problems than other children
  • a survey by Sugar Magazine and the NSPCC in 2005  found that one in five teenage girls who responded said they'd been hit by a boyfriend
  • 40% of victims of serious sexual assault tell nobody

(Sources: the British Crime Survey 2007-08 and 2006-07, Sugar Magazine and the NSPC)

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