Reflect campaign wins at NPCC recognition event tackling violence against women and girls
Crime / Sat 9th Sep 2023 at 07:06am
THE #Reflect campaign, which urges domestic abuse perpetrators to look at their own actions, has been recognised at the first National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing’s recognition event for police officers, staff and volunteers who are working to tackle violence against women and girls.
Since its launch in 2022 almost 500 people have contacted our charity partner, The Change Project, for support regarding their behaviour, and reports of domestic abuse have dropped in the 12 months to April 2023.
The campaign has been seen by millions of people online across the UK, and North America thanks to the brave participation of victims of crime like Georgia Harrison, whose ex-partner Stephen Bear shared intimate content of her without her consent, and the family of Canadian woman Ashley Wadsworth, who was murdered by a man she had first met online.
The campaign won the regional award for ‘behaviour change in perpetrators’ at the ceremony in London on Wednesday 6 September.
At the same event Risk and Planning Officer Jessica Casey was the regional winner of the Rising Star Award recognising her dedication, commitment and going above and beyond in her support to Essex Police around tackling Violence Against women and Girls.
#Reflect is the first perpetrator-focussed behavioural change campaign with a clear message that Essex is a safe place for women and girls but not a welcome place for criminals. It focuses on different types of abuse; from physical abuse, to controlling behaviour, stalking and harassment, and unmanaged emotions like humiliation or anger aimed at loved ones.
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan said: “This campaign took a brave, ground-breaking approach, focusing on perpetrators and their behaviour being the cause of domestic abuse.
“It challenged ‘the norm’ as it differed from the national approach when it was being launched. It also perfectly aligned with the force’s wider change in strategic direction.
“Within the first two weeks of the launch, the Change Project received 54 requests for contact and eight self-referrals for help with coercive or controlling behaviour, compared to zero in the three months beforehand.
“More than 450 new people have now contacted the charity for help and we are extremely proud to have played our part in that.
“We are of course not complacent at all, with one-fifth of all crime taking place in a domestic setting and we are determined to continue to drive down domestic abuse incidents.”
Our force, working with charity partner The Change Project and funding partner the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Partnership (SETDAB), recognised that many awareness campaigns focus on the impact on, or behaviour of, victims of domestic abuse.
Instead, we targeted perpetrators of domestic abuse and challenged them to consider their actions, and seek help if they believe they are being controlling or coercive.
Based on crime data, analysis of incidents, and information from partners, we developed a brand-new behavioural change programme designed to prevent future offending in a strategic way, supported by all our partners.
The #Reflect project assets, which were developed to illustrate a range of real-life types of domestic abuse scenario, have since been used by private businesses in the retail and leisure sector and within Essex Police to brief colleagues on the importance of the new publicly-funded Domestic Abuse Problem Solving Teams.
In the first two weeks post-launch, The Change Project received 54 requests for contact and eight self-referrals for help with coercive or controlling behaviour, compared to zero in the three months beforehand.
Minister for Safeguarding at the Home Office, Sarah Dines said: “I am committed to tackling violence against women and girls and it was a privilege to attend today’s event and hear first-hand the work the police do daily to truly changes people’s lives.
“All of the winners today are truly inspiring and I was heartened to hear their passion and dedication to challenge harmful behaviours, identify and support victims, and pursue perpetrators of the most heinous crimes.
“Across society, we must have a zero-tolerance approach to violence against women and girls. I’m proud to be working with the police to crack down on these crimes and support victims.”
Essex Police Fire & Crime Commissioner’s Strategic Head of Policy and Public Engagement Darren Horsman, said: “The #Reflect campaign’s made a real difference to the visibility and effectiveness of the perpetrator programmes delivered by partners in Essex.
“Working with SETDAB, Essex Police has delivered a powerful and effective campaign, putting Essex at the forefront of innovative partnership working.”
The recognition event was developed and judged jointly by police forces and representatives from charities including SafeLives, Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Karma Nirvana, alongside the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, and police staff associations.
All winning entries had to demonstrate how they built trust and confidence, that their approach was victim-centred, and they had to show impact, including how they were pursuing perpetrators.
Other winners include a campaign to tackle misogynistic and sexist behaviour internally (Avon and Somerset Police), reducing violent crime committed against sex workers (Cleveland Police), educational sessions for schools (West Midlands Police) and a survivor of rape who has helped Lincolnshire Police by telling her story of the criminal justice system in order to support other victims.
Over 140 entries were received which were initially judged regionally by police and third sector panels, before being put in front of a national panel who decided the 13 overall winners.
DCC Maggie Blyth, National Police Chiefs’ Council violence against women and girls’ coordinator, said: “Thank you to everyone who works in policing and whose focus is on making society safer for women and girls.
“Having regional and national judging panels made up of experts from inside and outside policing have really helped us to focus on winners who have demonstrated both an understanding of what victims want and expect, but also on activity that is sustainable.
“It’s only by modelling this excellent work that we can hope to achieve consistency for women and girls across our police forces. Entries also showed how we are pursuing perpetrators and showing them that there is nowhere to hide. We all want policing to achieve more and although we still have much to do, I am heartened by the quality of work that is underway.”
The judging panel have also explained why they were excited to take part in this event.
Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales:
“I was honoured to participate in the judging panel for the violence against women and girls’ recognition event as it is important to shine a spotlight on those who have gone above and beyond to help children and young people affected by VAWG. It is great to see that there were so many remarkable people who have shown great dedication to their work, and this is something that we should strive to achieve across all police forces. A huge congratulations to all!”
Ellen Miller, interim CEO, SafeLives:
“I was keen to take part because although there has been some appalling behaviour, and cultures that don’t take this seriously enough, I know from experience that there are also many in the police who are working hard to improve the response for victims and survivors of abuse. I want to celebrate and promote what they do because the police have a unique role in protecting and obtaining justice for survivors. There’s lots more to do but it’s clear there are some stars working hard to transform the police from within and I celebrate the fact that they’re listening to survivors and making a difference.“
Suky Bhaker, CEO, Suzy Lamplugh Trust:
“The Suzy Lamplugh Trust works with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and local police forces to improve their response to stalking and ensure victims get the support and justice they deserve despite this devastating crime. We were glad to be able to support in the development of the categories for the VAWG police awards, in order to ensure that the voices of the tens of thousands of victims we represent were reflected and that the lived experience of victims of crime remained at the centre of the process. We very much hope that this event will champion best practice and ultimately improve the national police response to victims of all forms of violence against women and girls.”
Natasha Rattu, Executive Director, Karma Nirvana:
“It is great to be part of the panel for the first National Violence Against Women and Girls’ Policing recognition event. We know that the epidemic of VAWG requires clear and strong accountability to address the many harms arising from policing failure. We also recognise it very important to acknowledge positive policing practice to tackle VAWG to support a ‘culture change’ and inspire confidence for victims to come forward and report the violent crimes committed against them.”
Steve Hartshorn, Chair, Police Federation of England and Wales:
“There is so much work and activity taking place across the country in relation to violence against women and girls, I was delighted and honoured to have been asked to sit as a panel member to witness the sheer volume of commitment to address the very real and pressing issues. I commend every entrant, thank you.”
Harvi Khatkar, Vice President, Police Superintendents’ Association:
“Much of my work for the Police Superintendents’ Association focuses on the importance of valuing difference, and doing all we can as an association to support inclusive environments. The issue of violence against women and girls is very much a part of this, as it extends across our own working environments and our services to the public.
“It was therefore a privilege to be part of the judging panel. The calibre of nominations was extremely high, and reflective of the excellent work that many forces are undertaking to build trust and confidence with women and wider communities. I hope these examples of best practice will instigate further positive change across the service.”
Debi Potter, chair of UNISON’s Police & Justice Service Group and Police Sector Committee (England and Wales):
“During the judging phase I was really pleased to see police staff and volunteers as well as officers stepping up and trying to improve the service that policing offer communities. Those nominated should feel rightly proud of the work that they are doing in this arena.”
The event has been kindly sponsored by Salesforce and Kulpa who have provided the venue free of charge, event support and a contribution towards the printed materials.
Good to see domestic violence cases have reduced, would be better to see none at all.