This section contains legislation, strategies and policies on VAWG and independent reviews of criminal justice authorities’ responses to crimes of violence against women and girls. The documents include strategy papers published by the Home Office, the Mayor of London’s Office and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Modern Slavery Act sets out offences of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour, human trafficking and exploitation, as well as systems for prevention orders, the establishment of an independent Anti-slavery Commissioner and provisions for the protection of victims.

Section 33 of the 2015 Act prohibits the disclosure of private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress (‘revenge porn’). Section 37 prohibits the possession of pornographic images of rape and assault by penetration.

Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 creates the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship. A person commits an offence by repeatedly or continuously engaging in behaviour towards another person that is controlling or coercive and where there is a personal connection – such as an intimate relationship or shared parental responsibility – between the victim and the perpetrator. The offence can be tried summarily or on indictment and carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Sections 121 (England and Wales) and 122 (Scotland) create the offence of forced marriage. A person commits an offence if they use violence, threats or any other form of coercion for the purposes of causing another person to enter into a marriage without their free and full consent. The offence creates extra-territorial jurisdiction if at least one party, either the victim or perpetrator, is a UK national or habitually resident in either England and Wales or Scotland. The offences carry a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 amended the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 by identifying stalking as a criminal offence. The amendments came into force in November 2012. The 2012 Act adds two new offences: stalking and (in its more aggravated form) stalking which causes the victim to fear violence or suffer serious alarm or distress. To be guilty of the offence of stalking, the offender must, on at least two occasions, indulge in conduct that causes the victim harassment, alarm or distress. The 2012 Act recognises stalking as harassment that may include persistent and repeated contact or attempts to contact a victim.

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It consolidated previous anti-discrimination laws, such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976, into one single piece of legislation. It provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. The nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

The 2003 Act creates a range of offences relating to the commission of female genital mutilation.

The Human Rights Act 1998, which came into force in 2000, incorporates the majority of rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law. The Act requires all UK legislation to be given effect in a way that is compatible with Convention rights; places obligations on public authorities to act in a way that is compatible with Convention rights; and allows individuals whose rights have been violated to bring cases before UK Courts.

A person commits the offence of harassment if they pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another and they know, or ought to know, that their conduct amounts to harassment. The offence of stalking was created by the amendments to the Protection From Harassment Act 1997 by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime sets out the minimum standards of service that victims of crime can expect. The Code was issued under s.32 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 and implements relevant provisions of the EU Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, Directive 2011/92/EU combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and Directive 2011/36/EU preventing and combating the trafficking of human beings.

The CPS’s legal guidance on the implementation of the Victim’s Code can be accessed here.

This outlines the UK government strategy to eliminate violence against women and girls. It rests on four main pillars: prevention, provision of services, partnership working and pursuing perpetrators.

This Home Office documents set out the application of the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC) which allows individuals with certain types of immigration status to access public funds when they would ordinarily be ineligible by virtue of their immigration status.

This guidance sets out CPS policy in relation to violence against women and girls.

This strategy and accompanying action plans set out the vision for developing CPS VAWG work in line with the wider CPS and cross-government VAWG Strategy Objectives.

This CPS document is intended to assist prosecutors dealing with violence against women and girls (VAWG) cases involving vulnerable victims.

This Home Office guide emphasises the importance of conducting needs assessments in local areas and states that the approach to commissioning should be strongly framed in an equalities-based approach. The commissioning process should take into account the demographics of the local population and the guidance acknowledges the importance of specialist services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) women victims of violence.

This report is the third in a series of thematic reports evaluating the response provided to victims of domestic abuse by the police service. HMICFRS published its first report in this series in March 2014 after it was commissioned by the Home Secretary to inspect the police response to domestic violence and abuse.

In England, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have responsibility for commissioning the majority of local services to help and protect victims and survivors of violence. This report by Dame Vera Baird QC, PCC for Northumbria and APCC Portfolio Lead for Supporting Victims and Reducing Harm, highlights six projects undertaken by PCCs which are making a difference to the lives of women and girls affected by violence.

This is the first ever regional police strategy to tackle VAWG at the local level. The strategy was launched by the three regional Police and Crime Commissioners: Northumbria’s Dame Vera Baird, Cleveland’s Barry Coppinger and Durham’s Ron Hogg. It sets out a 20-point plan to provide support and protect women and girls who are victims of violence or abuse.

The London Mayor’s Office on Policing and Crime (MOPAC) published this strategy in 2018 setting out its commitment to tackling gender-based violence in the capital and detailing plans concerning the prevention and response to violence against women and girls.

This publication details the experiences and views of those affected by gender-based violence in London that were collated during a consultation that informed the Mayor’s Office on Policing and Crime (MOPAC) ending violence against women and girls strategy.

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