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21st Jan, 2022

MP's survey to result in educational campaign to stamp out male violence in Warwickshire

Editorial Correspondent 12th Jan, 2022 Updated: 13th Jan, 2022

AN EDUCATIONAL campaign to stamp out male violence has been called for by respondents to a survey about women’s safety.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western launched the survey a month ago and has received around 260 responses.

It invited women, vulnerable people, and members of the LGBT community to share their thoughts on tackling male violence in Warwickshire.

It revealed just under 70 per cent of respondents said they carried keys in their hands when walking home alone at night in the event they would need to defend themselves.

Most respondents said violence in the street and sexual crimes were the most worrying issues across the county.

An educational campaign in schools emerged as the most popular way to improve women’s safety.

Boosting the county’s rape conviction rates, treating violence against women and misogyny as hate crimes and turning on streetlights also proved to be top priorities.

Nearly half said they sent their live location to family or friends while travelling home and more than two thirds said they called someone while walking.

Almost 80 per cent said they cross the road when another man is walking towards them and more than half pay for a taxi to avoid travelling by foot. Others said they would avoid going out alone at night altogether.

The survey results will be shared with local authorities help them gauge the public’s perceptions of where the problems lie.

Mr Western said he would be holding a women’s safety summit on February 2.

He added: “At this early stage, we have decided to lobby for male violence education to take place in Warwickshire schools – while we will also look at simple measures to improve people’s security such as switching on streetlights at night in particular places.

“We will be consulting all relevant authorities and experts to decide the best course of action.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe previously said action was being taken to keep Warwickshire’s streets safe.

This included information submitted by people in Warwickshire through the Government’s StreetSafe website and associated funding of £249,000 for more mobile CCTV cameras and educational programmes designed to improve public safety.

And the Warwickshire Violence Against Women and Girls Board includes initiatives aiming to change the behaviour of men who are violent to women, and work to change wider societal attitudes, including hate incidents and misogyny.

The MP also recently broached the subject of Warwickshire’s low conviction rates in Parliament.

Last year Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) data revealed just under half of rape prosecutions in Warwickshire led to convictions over the past year – the lowest rate of any county in England and Wales.

Mr Western explained to Attorney General Suella Braverman the county had a conviction rate of 1.3 per cent and quoted Victim Commissioner Dame Ver Baird who had referred to the country’s low rape conviction rates as ‘decriminalising rape’.

Ms Braverman disagreed with the statement and explained, while more needed to be done, there had been a slight increase in the charging rate nationally.

She also referred to operations Soteria and Bluestone which use data to identify ways police and prosecutors can better tackle rape and serious assault.

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