Revenge Porn Helpline Flagged for Additional Funding Under the New Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

The Government has published a new strategy today to help protect women and girls against violence and harm offline and online, including a commitment to additional funding for support services for victims and survivors such as the Revenge Porn Helpline.

The strategy sets out to increase support for victims of violence whilst ensuring that more perpetrators are brought to justice. It also aims to reduce the prevalence of violence in the long term to ensure that women and girls can feel safe wherever they go.

This strategy has been developed from an unprecedented 180,000 responses from victims and survivors to the Government’s Call for Evidence. It was acknowledged that violence against women in public places occurred all too often.

Sophie Mortimer, Revenge Porn Helpline Manager, SWGfL said: 

“We welcome the new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and the abuse it addresses.  The abuse that women and girls face online is significant.  Since it opened in 2015, women account for nearly three quarters of victims reaching out to our Revenge Porn Helpline; a vital service that has now managed over 11,000 cases and removed over 200,000 intimate images.  Every day we see the distress and impact that this form of abuse has as 4% of those whom we support express suicidal ideation.  The Covid19 pandemic has merely magnified this issue as we’ve received more than a doubling of cases; a rate that shows no sign of slowing.”

What Does the Strategy Include?

The strategy includes long term goals as well as immediate action to help improve the safety of women and girls. These include:

  • A new national policing lead on Violence Against Women and Girls who will be point of contact for every police force to ensure best practice is shared and that progress on improving the response to these crimes is being monitored. 
  • A review of options to limit use of Non-Disclosure Agreements in cases of sexual harassment in higher education.
  • Increased funding that focuses on the prevention of violence against women and girls in public spaces at night, including in the night-time economy. This could include targeting parks and alleyways, and routes from bars, restaurants and nightclubs as we see a return to the night-time economy. 
  • Criminalising virginity testing, which some women and girls are being forced to undergo, to send a clear message that this practice is wholly unacceptable in our society.  
  • Appointing two new Violence Against Women and Girls Transport Champions, to drive forward positive change and tackle the problems faced by female passengers on public transport.
  • This follows on from further measures taken this year, including investing an additional £25 million into the Safer Streets Fund focused on increasing the safety of public spaces for all, with a particular focus on areas of concern for women and girls.  

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: 

"The safety of women and girls across the country, wherever they are, is an absolute priority for me.   It is unacceptable that women and girls are still subject to harassment, abuse, and violence, and I do not accept that violence against women and girls is inevitable. 

I am determined to give the police the powers they need to crack down on perpetrators and carry out their duties to protect the public whilst providing victims with the care and support they deserve. This strategy, shaped by the responses of those who bravely came forward and shared their stories and experiences, will deliver real and lasting change."

Support for Victims, Prevention and Perpetrators

As part of the strategy, there will be an increased focus on support for victims with increased awareness on support services. There are also preventive measures put forward and new recommendations for pursuing perpetrators. These include:

  • More funding for specialist support services for those from minority groups and to increase funding for helplines including the Revenge Porn Helpline.  
  • Commissioning a 24/7 rape and sexual assault helpline.  
  • The Department for Education will develop additional support to help teachers deliver the relationships, sex and health education curriculum effectively and confidently and revise existing guidance. 
  • The Department for Transport will work closely with campaign groups, industry and Government to identify areas for improvement across the UK’s transport network. 
  • The Department for Education will work with the Office for Students to tackle sexual harassment and abuse in higher education (including universities).
  • The Department for Transport will look to review and update guidance to help ensure streets are planned with women’s safety at the forefront of any considerations. 
  • The Home Office will invest in understanding ‘what works’ to prevent violence against women and girls. This will enable them to identify the highest quality, evidence-informed prevention projects.  For example, aiming to educate and inform children and young people about violence against women and girls, healthy relationships and the consequences of abuse. 
  • The Home Office will appoint an independent reviewer to undertake a review of the management of registered sex offenders by the police and will provide new investment for the National Crime Agency to develop innovative data capability to identify new methods of identifying serial sex offenders.
  • The Home Office will launch a multi-million communications campaign with a focus on targeting perpetrators and harmful misogynistic attitudes, educating young people about healthy relationships and ensuring victims can access support. 

If you have been the victim of intimate image abuse, you can report it to the revenge porn helpline team.

Revenge Porn Helpline

*Strategy measures and facts taken from an orginal press release from Gov.uk 

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