In this strategy, we set out our commitments: to challenge the cultural norms which give some men the belief that it is acceptable to attack, abuse, harass and degrade women; to ensure that more of the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice, sending out a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated and will have serious consequences; to strengthen our work to educate boys, encouraging a culture of respect towards women and girls and a better understanding of their rights; and to improve and innovate in our interventions with the most serious perpetrators, in order to address their behaviour and its root causes.
To create a society that is truly free of VAWG, we must go even further than this. The underlying cause of many VAWG incidents is societal attitudes towards women and girls, and although much progress has been made, there remains a long way to go in this area.
We at City Hall, along with other public sector partners – particularly those within the criminal justice service – have a responsibility to exemplify and uphold the standards of conduct towards women and girls that we expect in society. It is our role to continually share learning and evidence, to lobby for legislative changes, to influence the political and social landscape, to represent the communities we serve and to speak out about and combat everyday sexism and misogyny.
The overarching aim of our work to protect and support victims and to punish and rehabilitate offenders is to prevent harm from occurring and to prevent further harm if it has occurred. We will never truly tackle VAWG until everyone understands what behaviours and attitudes are acceptable – in public and in private. This strategy, and the Mayor’s wider work, is therefore committed to not just preventing VAWG and tackling perpetrators but to help change the attitudes and behaviours that have all too often come to normalise many forms of violence against women and girls. These are complex issues, ones that will require concerted effort over generations to truly resolve. So much good work has already been done in London by many people and organisations to advance the cause of women’s safety. In this strategy, we set out a focused plan of partnership action to ensure that over the next four years we build on that work, taking further concrete steps towards our ambition to make London a safe city for every woman and girl.