Here are the actions we have taken to tackle violence against women and girls.
We are policing streets differently
We are tracking reports of crimes against women and girls and targeting neighbourhood policing resources to these locations. We want to ensure that we have a deterring presence with the aim of preventing violent, abusive or intimidating behaviours and making women and girls feel safer.
Taking a zero tolerance approach to offending
We will prioritise action in respect of those wanted for violence, intimidation or abuse against women and girls using existing and new legislation available to us to bring offenders to justice. We are arresting, on average, 65 people a month for the new coercive control domestic abuse offence and 15 people for stalking.
Working in partnership to design out crime
We currently have twelve District Crime Prevention Officers (CPOs) and three Service Designing out Crime Officers (DOCOs) who liaise with local businesses, event planners, architects and developers to reduce opportunities for crime, including violence against women and girls, and anti-social behaviour. The design and the layout of a built environment / development has an impact on crime and the fear of crime. Simple solutions like improved lighting, CCTV and signage can have a positive impact on the safety of our local areas.
Making our night-time economy even safer
We have joined together with licensed venues and security staff across Northern Ireland to help keep people safe while enjoying a night out. The safety codeword initiative ‘Ask for Angela’ is being rolled out to bars, clubs and other licensed businesses across Northern Ireland, with nearly 300 already signed up. Learn more about 'Ask for Angela'.
We are listening to the voices of our police officers and staff
We are taking positive action in response to any concerns raised about inappropriate behaviours in the workplace. We are actively ensuring our officers and staff know how to report discriminatory or unethical behaviours via our internal reporting systems. In 2022, we held 10 misconduct hearings in relation to sexual and or domestic misconduct and 9 of those officers were dismissed. We are telling the public when an officer has breached the standards expected or committed a criminal offence, and what action we have taken.
Ensuring our officers and staff are robustly trained
We have worked with local community groups and support services over the last year to develop specialist training packages with the voices of women and girls and their experiences at the forefront. Currently, 6,000 officers and staff have undergone revised training on domestic abuse, encompassing coercive control and 4,500 have been trained to recognise and respond to stalking.
We are measuring our performance
We are measuring our performance in relation to crimes of violence against women and girls, via a dedicated dashboard. We are enhancing supervision of violence against women and girls investigations and reporting back to the Northern Ireland Policing Board who hold us to account against the actions and timescales set out in our plan.
We are listening to victims and building trust
We are listening to victims more and more about their experiences with reporting and the criminal justice system. We are always seeking to work with our partners to improve victim experience and build trust.
Making safe spaces for women and girls
We are working with our partners on safeguarding initiatives that give local people the tools to support victims in getting the help they need.
Ask for Ani is a codeword scheme for domestic abuse victims that is available in pharmacies and job centres across Northern Ireland.
All Police Stations are designated ONUS Safe Places. The Safe Place Map on the Onus website shows show all the participating safe places in Northern Ireland. We will be working with communities to promote the further roll out of ONUS across all policing districts.
Safe Place organisations:
- Support the Safe Place Pledge: never to condone or stay silent about domestic violence.
- Provide a safe place for victims to confidentially access information.
- Acknowledge domestic violence is a problem that impacts on all of us as a society, and will be prepared to play our part in tackling this.
If women and girls aren’t safe at home, we want to continue to make safe spaces for them in our communities.