Conference to be held focussing on violence against women and girls

Cumbria Constabulary and the University of Leeds are hosting a conference at Penrith focussing on the issue of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
The conference will also discuss domestic abuse in rural areas, elder abuse and reasons victims may not support a police investigation.
It will bring together national experts on these issues and the event will launch the findings of research the university conducted last year in Cumbria.
This research was funded by the Home Office STAR fund, which funds science, technology, analysis and research across policing.
It has resulted in meaningful findings for the constabulary and multi-agency partners to consider and use to improve services for victims and how they tackle domestic abuse and its perpetrators.
Some of the findings are stark and will inform how and where services are provided for victims of violence and domestic abuse.
The conference attendees consist of specialist police officers, domestic abuse service providers, local authorities representatives, victim support staff, health colleagues, Age UK representatives and academics.
Regional police forces are also attending to hear what national experts have to say.
One of the constabulary’s senior detectives, Detective Superintendent Sally Blaiklock, will also speak at the event from the perspective of police and partner agencies in Cumbria.
She will describe what the constabulary has done already in response to the research findings to improve the services the constabulary already provides.
This One-Day Conference on Violence Against Women and Girls comes as national and local responses continue to be developed to this issue.
Detective Superintendent Dan St Quintin said: “We are extremely pleased that the work and practical knowledge of day-to-day police officers, staff and partners in Cumbria on these extremely important issues will play a key part in this important conference.

“Cumbria Constabulary and partners have treated these issues very seriously for a long time.

“We will continue to do so and we will always look to see how we can improve further.
“We are also honoured to have such an event take place in our force area, featuring a range of national experts in their field.

“This is a national event held in Cumbria, which demonstrates to our communities that Cumbria is place where we want to learn more about what is happening in all our communities.”
Dr Sam Lewis, of the University of Leeds, will also speak about the findings alongside colleague, Dr Dan Birks.
Dr Lewis said: “There is mounting evidence from countries including the USA and Australia that victims of domestic abuse in rural areas have particular needs which require a bespoke response.
“International research evidence also suggests that practitioners face challenges when trying to reach, and provide support for, rural victims.
“This is the first study in England and Wales to combine a large police dataset with information from other organisations, and insights from practitioners, to shine a light on this issue.
“Our work with Cumbria Constabulary and partners brings new insights which have the potential to shape policy and practice in Cumbria and beyond.”
The event, being held at the Roundthorn hotel, near Penrith, on Monday ( February 6 ), also includes input from the National Police Chiefs Council, the national VAWG police team, the University of Durham and the Open University.
Det Supt St Quintin added: “While Cumbria remains one of the safest places to live in the country, these crimes do still happen here – often behind closed doors but in public spaces too.
“Everyone should be safe and should feel safe. We take reports seriously and we treat all cases with sensitivity.
“If you have suffered abuse of any kind, please get in touch. We are here to help and support you.
“Even if right now you only have questions, I would urge you to contact us.”
If you have been the victim of abuse, or are concerned for someone who is, you can report this by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

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