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Over £400,000 secured to tackle violence against women and girls in Norfolk

Work to make Norfolk safer for women and girls has been given a funding boost, with more than £400,000 coming into the county thanks to a successful bid for government funding.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk has secured the funding and is working with Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership to deliver a series of measures to improve safety in three key areas in the county as well as education programmes for young people and students.

The bid for funding was submitted as part of the Home Office’s Safer Streets programme, which has this week announced the latest round of successful bids across the country.
This is the third round of funding offered under the Safer Streets programme and Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities were able to request grants specifically for work to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG).

With £461,895.65 now set to come into Norfolk, the money will be used for work to enable women to feel safer in public spaces and provide education projects focused on changing attitudes and behaviours, particularly those related to sexual harassment. These projects are in line with the ambitions of the government’s recently published Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy.

In Norfolk, the Community Safety Partnership is managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Welcoming the funding announcement, PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie said: “It is absolutely vital that practical and specific measures are taken to tackle and prevent violence against women and girls.

“It is an issue that is, rightly, high on the agenda for all of us working in any form of local government as well as policing and as PCC I am determined to do everything I can to ensure women and girls in Norfolk can go about their lives safely and without fear.

“Preventing sexual assault and misogynistic behaviour from happening in the first place is as important as how we respond to incidents, and so I am particularly pleased that some of this funding will go towards programmes that will educate and empower young people.
“If we are to tackle these issues effectively, then we must take steps to prevent perpetrators and empower young people to challenge behaviour they know is wrong.”

Amongst the planned measures, the money will fund an expansion of the CCTV network in King’s Lynn, whilst Great Yarmouth will benefit from improved street lighting in the town centre.

Councillor Carl Smith, Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “This successful bid of £427k from the Home Office for the third round of the Safer Streets Fund will allow us to work with the local police force to invest in transformative crime prevention initiatives, such as cleaning up, painting and improving lighting in certain areas of the town to help increase feelings of safety.”

In Norwich, the University of East Anglia will develop a programme of work targeting students, focused on developing open conversations about appropriate behaviours and empowering young people to challenge others.
Known as a ‘bystander programme’ the work will help develop students’ skills in addressing issues and knowing how to recognise and respond to problematic attitudes and behaviours.

A similar programme for school age students will also be developed by Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services department. School pupils are one of the largest groups in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn who are affected by VAWG crimes and the programme will help to develop confidence in reporting from victims as well as empowering young people to understand appropriate behaviours.

Jane Amos, Head of UEA Student Services (Life and Learning) said: “We are delighted to hear that the Safer Streets 3 bid has been successful. We very much welcome the project and look forward to working with OPCCN to develop a bystander programme at UEA. This will enhance the University’s work already underway as part of our Changing the Culture programme.”

Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “The issue of violence against women and girls is rightly under huge scrutiny at the moment. Women and girls need to be able to feel safe in society and prevention of violence starts with education in the home, as well as at school. We know that Norfolk’s schools and colleges want to do all their can to ensure the safety of all of their students and we will be providing this programme to enhance the good work that we know is already happening in many schools.”

A campaign to challenge some of the attitudes and behaviours associated with VAWG crimes will also be developed by the Community Safety Partnership and rolled out across the county.

This grant has come from the third round of Safer Streets funding. From previous rounds, Norfolk has received £442k to tackle burglary hotspots, make improvements to the safety of people’s homes and install CCTV and £96k to provide further improvements to CCTV.

You can read more about Safer Streets funding on the Home Office website.