Mayor of London launches new violence against women and girls strategy

The strategy, which takes a public health approach to violence against women and girls, was developed by London Met’s Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit.

Date: 20 June 2022

Academics from London Met’s Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU) have developed the new violence against women and girls (VAWG) strategy for London 2022-2025.

The strategy was launched last week by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as part of an £18m package to “tackle the scourge of violence against women.”

Developed by CWASU’s Dr Maria Garner, Professor Liz Kelly, Professor Purna Sen and Dr Fiona Vera-Gray, the strategy will involve rebuilding ‘trust and confidence in the police and criminal justice system’ for women and victims of abuse.

It takes a public health approach to VAWG, bringing together the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the Greater London Authority (GLA) with the VAWG sector, local authorities, police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), National Probation Service (NPS) and the NHS.

These groups will work together as equal partners across London to focus on those directly involved in the different crimes that comprise VAWG.

It sets out a wide range of actions we will take in London over the coming years to tackle the perpetrators, to support victims and survivors and to rebuild the confidence of women and girls in the police and criminal justice system. This will be supported by a further investment of £5m each year in the commissioned services of the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC).

Dr Fiona Vera-Gray said, “"This strategy marks a step-change in how London approaches violence against women, putting prevention at its heart. CWASU drew on our decades of experience to help set a framework that we think will make a real difference in the lives of Londoners and we are excited to see the impact of this work in the years to come."

In an introduction to the strategy, Sadiq Khan said, “Everywhere and every day, we know that women and girls are actively modifying their behaviour across every aspect of their lives because of the threat of VAWG – from what they say, to what they wear, to where they go and when. This happens at home, at work, online or out in public spaces.

“We have to be clear – these problems are caused by the unacceptable attitudes and behaviours of too many men. This is not just an issue with the minority of men who are violent, but also with men who are sexist; who continue to behave inappropriately around women; who perpetuate a toxic form of masculinity; or who just stand by silently when women feel threatened, or are being threatened.   

“As Mayor I am clear that we must not simply respond to VAWG, or police our way out of it – we must prevent it. My long-term ambition is to eradicate VAWG in our city, so that every woman and girl can participate fully in London life without experiencing or fearing harassment, abuse or violence from men. Building on the successes of my previous VAWG Strategy, we continue that work here and now, with a new emphasis in the form of a public health approach.”