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 committed to listening to women and girls
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. In year two of the delivery of our action plan we intend to roll out a series of district led engagement events.
We are working with our partners
We are working with White Ribbon NI to develop a training package which focuses on enabling the calling out of behaviours that are inappropriate. We have delivered a number of in person workshops with officers and staff and are moving this into an online platform to make sure that this is shared as widely as possible.
Sadly there are a number of rape myths which need to be dispelled – we are working closely with NEXUS to deliver training to 4,000 officers that will address rape myths, how they may present when victims are disclosing trauma and how we can best present their evidence in court.
We are also in the process of developing joint training with Women’s Aid to ensure that the provisions within disclosure schemes are more easily understood and applied to better support victims/ potential victims who are seeking information about their partners. This will highlight the lowering of the current threshold from serious harm to harm.
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.
Building trust and confidence
Overall the figure for reporting VAWG crime appears to have decreased by just under 5%. However there have been changes in how crime is recorded which came into effect in April 2023 which has had an impact on our figures.
In line with new legislation introduced in Northern Ireland aimed to tackle some of the root causes of VAWG crime we have however seen a rise in reports of coercive control, by 66.4%, domestic sexual offences by 2.3% and domestic related rape by 8.2%, for non-fatal strangulation we are seeing just under three reports a day.
The performance figures for these offences have also seen improved outcomes (charges/summons) particularly in respect of where there is domestic violence with injury. Sanctioned outcome rates for stalking have increased since the inception of the VAWG action plan and sit at 53%, non-fatal strangulation is at 40% and coercive control there has been continual improvement since 2021 from 25% to now 49%.
We are committed to continually improving on the service we provide to women and girls and building confidence in them to come forward and report.