Measuring the impact of violence against women and girls can be difficult, given its hidden nature. Taylor and Shrive (2021) sought to understand the true scale of violence against women and girls in the UK and found that of the 22,419 women who responded to the consultation, that 99.7% of had been repeatedly subjected to violence including assaults, harassment and rape. Only 0.3% of women had only been subjected to one violent incident or less.
These findings suggest that current statistics of the prevalence of violence against women have been underestimated for decades, and instead, it is likely that almost every woman and girl will be subjected to violence, abuse, rape or harassment. In the vast majority of cases reported, women were subjected to multiple crimes and the perpetrators were overwhelmingly male.
The human cost of VAWG is high. Experiences of abuse have serious psychological, emotional and physical consequences and may contribute to multiple disadvantage, or a chaotic lifestyle involving substance misuse, homelessness, offending behaviour, gang involvement, sex work or mental health problems. That 41% of the prison population have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse is illustrative of the wider social harms these crimes cause.
The findings from a UK case study (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2014) are that the cost of: intimate partner violence against women is more than £11.5 billion and the cost of gender-based violence against women more than £24.3 billion.
The spending on specialised services, which are immensely beneficial to women, to mitigate the harms and prevent the repetition of the violence is 3 % of the cost of intimate partner violence against women.
The loss to the economy, through lost output as a result of injuries, is around 12 %. Services, especially criminal justice, make up around 30 % of the cost of the violence. Just under half the cost is a result of the public estimation of the value placed on the physical and emotional impact that the violence causes.
Though much of it remains hidden, it is clear that these crimes have a significant impact on society as a whole.
To date, efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls have mainly focused on responding to and providing services for survivors of violence. However, prevention—addressing the structural causes, as well as the risk and protective factors, associated with violence—is pivotal to eliminating violence against women and girls completely.
This regional campaign with education elements will focus on the awareness raising, education and prevention of harm and improve the ability to escalate harms for all women and girls. The primary focus of the campaign being “Everywhere should feel safe” which is linked to the #noexcuseforabuse regional campaign will be strongly focused on calling out abusive behaviour and focusing on the actions of boys and men.
In addition, a focus will be given to men calling out behaviour; systematic reviews of bystander programmes show positive impacts on participants saying they reject particular rape myths and/or would act to intervene or prevent attacks or inappropriate behaviour they observed. Education programmes aimed at potential victims or perpetrators have also been shown to have a positive impact on attitudes under certain circumstances. We aim to focus on these elements to support creating both upstanders and educating boys and girls as well as the wider public about VAWG.
More information about the PCC’s funding and support for providers of victims’ services can be found here.
StreetSafe is a pilot service for anyone to anonymously tell us about public places where you have felt or feel unsafe, because of environmental issues, e.g. street lighting, abandoned buildings or vandalism and/or because of some behaviours, e.g. being followed or verbally abused.
Please note: ‘StreetSafe’ is not for reporting crime or incidents.
If something has happened to you or someone you know (including in public spaces online) you can call the police on 101 or find out what online reporting services are available.
If you’re unsure whether something is a crime or not, read the advice.