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Making a real difference to lives of victims of crime

Posted: Tuesday 8th July 2014
Blog: Blogs

A much needed and long awaited Government report on female genital mutilation  (FGM) came out last week. A cross-party of MPs criticised the failure of  successive governments to protect vulnerable girls from FGM.

The committee heard from victims, health and social workers, the police,  including Avon and Somerset Constabulary and from my office. I was really  pleased to submit evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee and it is  encouraging to see that a number of issues raised by Avon and Somerset have  been  included in the final report.

According to the UK Home Office, it is thought that over 20,000 girls under  age 15 could be at risk of FGM in England and Wales and around 66,000 women  have  experienced FGM during their lifetime.

I welcome the Committee's recognition that we have a problem in the  identification and then referral of FGM in the UK. MPs also said there was a  case for emulating the French model by checking up regularly on at-risk  children, but they stopped short of endorsing mandatory gynaecological checks.  I  welcome your views on this, please email me at  pcc@avonandsomerset.police.uk.

FGM is an illegal and violent form of child abuse that has lifelong health  and emotional implications. We have some really passionate and proactive young  people, professionals and community groups in Avon and Somerset and I am proud  of their continued efforts in tackling FGM.  Only the other week my office  attended a fantastic event by Integrate Bristol to launch a single and video  called #useyourhead. The song is the next  part of an innovative campaign by Fahma Mohammed and the young people of  Integrate Bristol to raise awareness of FGM.

The video has already had over 10,000 views I would encourage everyone to  have a look at it. I cannot help but feel proud of our young people and Bristol  on the way it is tackling this issue and raising awareness.

I held my annual meeting in Bristol last week which was an important and  timely opportunity for me to stop and reflect on what has been achieved over  the  past year, what can be done better and what more needs to be done to  achieve my  long term ambitions.

The confidence local people have in their police service has risen to the  highest level ever recorded.  Now over 79 per cent of people responding to the  'Crime Survey for England and Wales' feel that they have confidence in Avon and  Somerset Police.

Satisfaction levels amongst victims of crime have increased to 89 per cent,  again the highest level ever recorded locally.

There is some encouraging performance to reflect on but there is no room for  complacency. There is lots of work ahead. I have set out an ambitious programme  including the introduction of the new Integrated Victim Care approach, which  will support vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour at every  stage of their journey through the criminal justice system. This will keep my  team and I very busy over the coming months. And I have no doubt it will make a  real difference to the lives of victims of crime.


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