Upstanders not Bystanders
There is no excuse for abuse; no reason, factor or motive for an individual to abuse you or those around you.
There is no excuse for abuse and everywhere should feel safe. We are calling out abusive and intolerable behaviour and asking everyone to do more to change this within society.
We live in a society where 97% of young women have been sexually harassed and we have heard in detail from women who every day change their behaviour to try to feel safe both at home and in the outside world. This is due to the prevalence of men’s violence against women and girls which is widespread.
We know that:
• Men are the majority of perpetrators.
• Men’s harmful attitudes and behaviour are the root of the problem.
• Men need to be held accountable to create the change to allow women to feel and be safe in society.
• All men have a role to play in challenging these attitudes and behaviours that cause women to feel unsafe.
How we have got here
In the regional survey, 80% had experienced sexual harassment in a public place, 49% had experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape. Only 7.5% and 19.4% respectively reporting these crimes. These findings are in line with national reporting data.
The experiences that women described are not acceptable and will not be tolerated. We are committed to rebuilding trust with those affected in our communities and will continue to improve our services and work with partners, to prevent and tackle violence against women and girls. With funding secured from the Safer Streets Fund, a range of activity is due to take place across the region.
Here’s what West Midlands Police have committed to:
- We will not ask women to change their behaviours.
- We are perpetrator and prevention focused.
- We will continue to offer safety advice and share information which will help people feel safer.
- We will work together with local authorities, victim services, and charities to address the root causes of gender inequality.
- Our partnership work will make public spaces safer and also feel safer – backed by Safer Streets funding.
- We’re working with the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to talk to pupils in schools about treating each other with respect and what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour.
- We will do better at targeting the violent men who harm women and building the strongest cases we can that have the best chance of getting to court.
- We recognise that offenders are solely responsible for the harm they cause – improved offender management will help protect victims.
- We are working with the Government and cross-sector to make the case for societal changes to radically reduce violence against women and girls.
In response to this and the wider consultation with the public, partners around the West Midlands Police and Crime Plan 2021-2025 which was recently launched it follows some of the following actions aimed to draw into a regional campaign that highlights the importance of focusing on preventing and reducing male violence against women and girls and helps increase awareness of the issues.
What is Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)?
The term ‘violence against women and girls’ refers to acts of violence or abuse that we know disproportionately affect women and girls. Crimes and behaviour covered by this term include rape and other sexual offences, domestic abuse, stalking, ‘honour’-based abuse (including female genital mutilation forced marriage, and ‘honour’ killings), as well as many others, including offences committed online.
All societies have ‘social norms’ around gender. These are deeply held cultural ideas about behaviour and qualities, which can include how we should look, act and behave, whether at home, at work or on a night out. Committing violence against women and girls is rooted in entitlement, power and control. In this way, violence against women and girls is deeply related to women’s inequality.
Men often fear that the empowerment of girls and women will mean they will lose out, but equality benefits us all. For example, distribution of care and domestic tasks in the home encourages more satisfying and happy relationships. In the labour force, greater equality leads to better levels of production and satisfaction.
Men are primarily responsible for violence against women and girls. All men, including those who are not perpetrating violence or abuse, have a responsibility to play a part in helping to end it.
How to report crime
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, contact West Midlands Police on 999.
For non-emergencies you can contact the police on 101 or via Live Chat
For non-emergency incidents on public transport you can call 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016.
If you need the police but are unable to talk due to your situation you can dial 55 – find out more about silent calls.
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.