We heard the great news last week that my office has been awarded nearly £1 million to tackle violence against women and girls in the latest round of the government’s Safer Streets funding scheme.
The events of the past few weeks have brought the epidemic of violence against women into sharp focus but we also have to acknowledge that this is a deep-rooted and ongoing societal problem.
My office has worked consistently over the past nine years to secure and distribute funding to help make our streets and communities safer for everyone and for women and girls in particular.
This latest award of funds – the fourth-highest amount of any area in the country – will go towards supporting education, awareness and behaviour change programmes right across Sussex, as well as lighting and CCTV and other work to make areas feel safer.
Projects include “Healthy Relationships” sessions for year 8 students at Sussex secondary schools and “Bystander to Upstander” sessions focusing on supporting attendees to feel more confident in recognising and challenging unacceptable and misogynistic behaviour.
They also include additional lighting and CCTV in Brighton at the War Memorial, Old Steine and Pavilion Gardens.
My team will work alongside Sussex Police, Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and West Sussex County Council to implement a series of training programmes in schools teaching young people about the importance of healthy relationships and how to address sexism and misogyny.
The monies will also allow me to invest further in lighting, CCTV, volunteer street pastors and beach patrols as well as co-ordinating and driving an effective and lasting response to male violence against women and girls.
This forms part of a joint response with Sussex Police on initiatives to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG).
I know that our Chief Constable shares my commitment to listening to and acting on the understandable concerns of our communities to make the streets of Sussex much safer for everyone, but especially for female residents and visitors.
Women and girls are not always getting the protection they need nor the justice they deserve. We cannot continue to do the same things in the same way and still expect a different outcome.
Katy Bourne is the Sussex police and crime commissioner.
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