FUNDING of nearly £250,000 has been secured to help make women and girls safer in when out and about in Warwickshire.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Warwickshire County Council’s Community Safety team have been given £249,000 from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.
It follows Mr Seccombe’s promise to make the protection of women from violence and harassment in the county a top priority following the Sarah Everard murder case.
Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer with the Metropolitan Police, was sentenced to spend the remainder of his life in prison for the abduction, rape and murder of the young marketing executive in London earlier this year.
The additional cash boost will be used to focus on locations in Warwickshire which women and girls identified as places they felt unsafe in when surveyed earlier this year.
It will fund educational programmes involving local residents to help reduce the fear of crime and ensure communities were fully involved in creating safer spaces, with improved visibility and extended use of mobile CCTV cameras among the range of options.
The funding will also be used to provide quick-time solutions in other rural parts of the county as and when new community concerns were identified.
Graffiti removal and other physical works to improve the public spaces will also be undertaken through the Community Payback scheme run by the National Probation Service.
Mr Seccombe said: “I’m absolutely committed to tackling the issue of violence against women and girls and together with the police, Warwickshire County Council, probation and other local authority partners.
“As part of the integrated Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership Board, we’ve listened to the feedback about areas of the county were women and girls have told us they feel vulnerable.
“I’m pleased that as a result of this partnership effort the bid to the Safer Streets Fund has been accepted, which will allow the partners to put in place this programme of improvements to address these concerns.”
The Safer Streets award follows government funding for a programme aimed at helping stop perpetrators from committing domestic abuse.
The £200,000 Home Office award is being boosted by an additional £100,000 from the Mr Seccombe’s office to allow the Family Intervention Counselling Service to run a county-wide programme for perpetrators of domestic abuse who want to change their offending behaviour, focusing on therapeutic support, structured group work, individual work and intensive case management.
The funding also provides specialist support for connected victims, including one-to-one therapeutic counselling and weekly group therapy sessions.
Mr Seccombe added: “It’s important that we take a holistic approach to improving women’s safety, which also looks at how we can change the behaviour of men who are violent to women.
“The responsibility for such violence always rests with perpetrator, never the victim; and where there is a genuine desire to change behaviour it is important this is supported and encouraged while at the same time ensuring that there are always appropriate safeguards for victims and strong sanctions against those who continue to be violent.”