Men have to reflect on their behaviour and change it
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“If we want to keep women and girls safe in Essex, men have to reflect on their behaviour and change it.”
These are the words of Chief Superintendent Andy Waldie, Essex Police’s Head of Professionalism, who is helping to lead the force’s response in tackling violence against women and girls.
It comes as the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) launch their #Reflect campaign in partnership with The Change Project.
The campaign encourages perpetrators of all genders and ages to get help for their toxic behaviour. This means that they can have healthy relationships in the future, and it prevents their current or future partners and family members becoming victims of physical, psychological or financial abuse.
“We know that women are disproportionately impacted by domestic abuse in Essex. It equates to 19% amount of crime in the county, and women make up 73% of our victims, whether that’s from abuse in a familial relationship or in an intimate partner one. “One of Essex Police’s priorities in tackling violence against women and girls is all about stopping what we would call a high harm perpetrator – someone who repeatedly commits crime, usually violent crime, against the women in their lives. “We want survivors of abuse to get justice, and our officers are committed to doing that. If we can get justice done and make a lasting change in behaviour, we can protect more people in the future. That’s the ultimate goal.”
As well as being a key part of the SETDAB partnership – Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan from Essex Police is the vice-chair of the board, with the chair being Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner – the force is continuing to work with local authorities across the region to ensure women feel safe in public spaces.
“Violence against women and girls isn’t a problem that will be solved by policing alone” Chief Superintendent Waldie went on to say “so we’re continuing to engage with our communities to really understand the concerns of those who have been impacted by crime, who want to see more visible night-time patrolling from our officers, or who can be helped by our local authority partners making changes to street lighting or upgrading CCTV. “We continue to learn through public surveys, information received through the StreetSafe initiative, liaising with women’s community groups across the county as well as Independent Advisory Groups and our Victim Feedback Panel. “But, we need men to take responsibility for their actions too – reflect on your own behaviour, call out your friends, and listen to what the women around you are trying to tell you. “My final ask is simple: for any men who feel their toxic or violent behaviour is getting out of control, or who wants to make a positive change, now is the time to reach out for help. “Make life better for you and for the people around you. The Change Project are based throughout Essex and can help you work through your emotions to build a better future for you, your family, and your current or future romantic partners. “If you want help now you can visit The Change Project’s website or call them on 0845 372 7701. “If you are a survivor of domestic abuse and feel like you want to report it to us, or find out about the support services available to you, you can do so by visiting www.essexcompass.org. “Always call 999 in an emergency and, if you’re not in a safe space to speak to the operator, please dial 55 and our call handler will be alerted to your presence and work on getting help to you.”