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Candidates for Sussex PCC - Ending Sexual and Domestic Violence and Abuse

In light of the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections next month I am writing to all candidates to offer a meeting and to ask for a number of commitments relating to the elimination of Sexual and Domestic Violence and Abuse. In particular I asked them to confirm their position on:

 

  • Making ending sexual and domestic violence and abuse a priority in their Police and Crime Plan

  • Protecting specialist services for women and girls

  • Providing ring fenced funding for specialist independent Rape Crisis services 

  • Consulting and working with the above agencies on services for victims/survivors

  • Funding public campaigns to challenge myths and stereotypes about sexual violence

 

Michael Jones, the Labour Party candidate responded as below:

 

As a member of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel, I personally supported an increase in the precept of Sussex Police to fund an increase in the level of resourcing and skills to deal with the increase in the volume and range of reporting of crimes and incidents of sexual offences and domestic and other abuse of vulnerable adults and children. This investment provides additional police officers and investigative skills and capacity to manage and respond to the current and predicted workload. This is in addition to previous investments in safeguarding hubs and dedicated sexual liaison officers and reflects the continuing significant level of increases in reported crime and complexity of cases.

 

These measures alone amount to millions of pounds being spent additionally in Sussex on making dealing with these matters a priority - I consider even one such incident unacceptable and I will make every effort to reduce these serious crimes in the future.  You can rest assured that it would be a very high priority in any Police and Crime Plan that I would set.

Awareness campaigns, and also ensuring that helping the victim is at the heart of everything we do, would clearly form part of that Plan.

 

I believe that the safety of women must be a priority for government and the new PCC. The level of violence against women remains too high and too little is being done to prevent these crimes, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.  At the last election, Labour called for a new Commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence and integrate the protection of women and girls across government.  We wanted to introduce a ban on the police using community resolutions for domestic and sexual violence, and making age-appropriate sex and relationships education a compulsory part of the curriculum in schools. We proposed a new duty to report allegations or signs of child abuse to the police.

 

We said we’d establish a new National Refuge Fund, ensuring that women and children have somewhere to turn when they are in need and continue to provide funding stability for the Rape Crisis Centres around the country which do such vital work.

 

I believe you can judge me by the emphasis both the Labour Party and myself would place on putting women’s safety central stage, but you will also understand it would be reckless for me to make any spending commitments without looking very carefully at the books to see what I am in a position to promise.

 

The response from James Doyle, the Green Party candidate is below:

 

  • Making ending sexual and domestic violence and abuse a priority in your Police and Crime Plan

This is the first in the list of priorities I've publicised in all my election materials, and at all the meetings I've been to. So, yes, this is important to me

  • Protecting specialist services for women and girls

There should always be specialist support, including trained police officers and medical support, for victims of sexual and domestic abuse - but there needs to be similar services for male and trans victims too.

  • Providing ring fenced funding for specialist independent Rape Crisis services 

I am in favour of extending contracts to give long term stability and security to services like this

  • Consulting and working with the above agencies on services for victims/survivors

I see this as an important part of the PCC's job - acting as a bridge between organisations across the justice system, both governmental and non-gobernmental

  • Funding public campaigns to challenge myths and stereotypes about sexual violence

Ongoing education of both police officers and the public needs to be secured

 

 

Patrick Lowe, the UKIP candidate, responded as below:

 

 

"My focus will be on preventative policing. I intend to ensure that every community has a trained PC to help build up relationships and trust, to know local issues and to increase reporting. That way people can ask the police for advice, and avoid any potential mistakes made at first report. All police will also have body worn cameras. This will ensure that cases, such as those of rape and sexual violence, will have all of the evidence that is needed to be put before a court.
 
I will be looking for additional sources of funding for the police service.

With regard to sexual violence, this is one area of my manifesto. I have seen rises across the county. A key focus will be working closely with support organisations.we need to have partnerships to find the way forward and must look at the victim in all of this. Organisations such as Survivors' Network will be important.

I will do my utmost to ensure that funding is available for specialist services. Although I cannot commit to the funding being available, I will commit to trying to achieve that in this priority area."

 

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