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Andy Burnham Pledges 10-Year Plan To Make Manchester A Safer Place For Women & Girls

By Laura Rogan

Andy Burnham Pledges 10-Year Plan To Make Manchester A Safer Place For Women & Girls

The plan comes following the tragic death of Sarah Everard.

As the #ReclaimTheseStreets movement continues to gain momentum following the kidnap and death of Sarah Everard, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has published a 10-year plan, pledging to protect females. The move comes as women have banded together to share their experiences of abuse, with many joining and supporting the movement in a bid to eradicate fear across the female population within our society.

The proposal, which is titled ‘Gender Based Abuse Strategy: The Greater Manchester Strategy to Tackle Violence Against Women & Girls’, has been “deliberately brought forward” – with officials keen to address the issue of gender-based abuse with the help of the public.

Covering a range of issues within the plan, the GMCA will be looking into how they can crack down on gender-based abuse such as domestic homicides, domestic abuse and coercive control; rapes and sexual assaults; street and workplace harassment; stalking on and offline; sexual exploitation; and threatening behaviour directed towards women.

Copyright by World Economic Forum / Faruk Pinjo / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The proposal takes a “whole-system” approach to tackling the issue at hand, including improving how men and boys think about and treat women and girls, how services can improve, the criminal justice system, health services, educational establishments, and housing providers – including services for people who are homeless as a result of domestic violence – “embedding a gender and trauma-informed approach”.

The proposals also include additional funding for specific services, as well as additional training for frontline staff and targeted public engagement campaigns to raise further awareness. The GMCA also promises to work with the Greater Manchester Police force to ensure they have the necessary systems in place to fully investigate and record misogynistic incidents.

Credit: Shutterstock

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “We’ve been doing some serious long-term thinking about gender-based abuse in Greater Manchester for a while and we have deliberately brought forward our proposals for a new 10-year Strategy because of the huge public engagement with the issue prompted by recent events.

“It’s taken the tragic death of a young woman to begin a national conversation about how we can collectively tackle the abuse of women and girls – abuse that has gone on for far too long, attitudes and behaviours that go unchallenged.

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“I’m asking the public here in Greater Manchester to join our conversation and help shape our ambitious Strategy so we can do this together.

“I want the streets, workplaces, schools, universities and homes of this city-region to be safe for every women and girl. This change won’t happen overnight but there are two main things we need to do. Firstly, we need to work together with a range of agencies to improve the services we provide to victims, and secondly, we need to challenge attitudes and behaviours. It’s why I intend to bring forward a high-profile campaign asking men and boys to think about their behaviour and how it makes women and girls feel so we become a better and safer place to live and work.”

Here are some key, shocking figures released by the GMCA:

  • One in four women in the UK will experience some form of sexual assault or domestic abuse in their lifetime.
  • Students are disproportionately affected: in 2019, 12.2% of female students experienced domestic abuse within the past 12 months compared to 7.5% in the general population.
  • 40% of women in the UK are estimated to experience harassment in the workplace.
  • In Greater Manchester, 36% of all violent crime reported to the police entails domestic abuse.
  • While 80% of the domestic abuse cases that are prosecuted in Greater Manchester results in a conviction – higher than the national average – it represents only about 1 in 13 incidents reported to the police that are successfully prosecuted in England and Wales.

The GMCA is also aiming to draw up a plan on how to effectively meet the needs of male victims and survivors by the end of 2021.

If you’d like to get involved and provide feedback on the proposal, you can head to the GMCA website here.

[Featured image: Shutterstock]