Protecting The Most Vulnerable From Harm
Addressing and preventing Domestic Abuse
There were nearly 20,000 domestic abuse related crimes last year with the overwhelming number of victims being women and children. It has been shown that Domestic Abuse is one of a number of traumatic events that can have a serious impact on the rest of a young person’s life and make it more likely for them to become the victim or a perpetrator of crime. I will work with the police and other partners to reduce this number – we owe it to the young people and other victims involved.
Protecting Children from exploitation including child sexual exploitation
The criminal exploitation of children and young people is an abhorrent crime. I worked with Sue Mountstevens and her team to introduce an Avon and Somerset wide specialist support service for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation – the police have also introduced a multi agency approach to identifying vulnerable children and safeguarding them called Operation Topaz – I will continue to prioritise this area.
A zero-tolerance approach to Hate Crime
Avon and Somerset is a very diverse and (for the most part) tolerant and inclusive area. However, there were 3,600 recorded hate crimes last year and there would still have been a number of such crimes which weren’t reported. Following the tragic death of Bijan Ebrahimi in 2013 the police have worked in partnership with others to transform their approach to identifying and supporting victims of hate crime. I will continue to support this crucial work.
Improving criminal justice support for victims of Rape and Serious Sexual Offences
In Avon and Somerset, like other areas across the country, the number of rape and serious sexual offences reported has increased but the number of convictions has decreased. The Criminal Justice System is not serving victims of these traumatic crimes well. The Avon and Somerset Deputy Chief Constable is the national lead for this area and is piloting a new approach with the Crown Prosecution Service in our area to better support these victims – I will support her in this work.
Improve multiagency support for people in mental health crisis
30% of all incidents attended by the police last year had mental health as a factor. The police have become the service of first resort in a lot of these cases which is not right or appropriate for the vulnerable people involved. There are now mental health practitioners in the police control room to advise officers but I will continue to work with health commissioners to ensure that vulnerable people get the right support from the right professionals at the right time.