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Plymouth’s Commission prompted violence against women and girls debate at Parliament

25 January 2023

The work of the Plymouth Violence Against Women and Girls Commission prompted a debate in Parliament today (25 January 2023), with a Plymouth MP leading the call for further central government funding to help make women and girls feel and be safer in the city.  

Sir Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, tabled the debate at Parliament, showcasing the work of the Plymouth Violence Against Women and Girls Commission, highlighting all that is being done across the city to make it feel and be safer and calling on the Government to invest more funding on the issue.

The Plymouth multi-agency Commission established in January 2022 by Plymouth City Council following the tragic murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod.

Since the final report has been published organisations have been working hard across the city to shine a light on the issue and drive culture change, create safe spaces, ensure that women and girls in Plymouth are supported and empowered to report violence and abuse and get the support they need at the right time and in the right place.

However, while great strides are being made in Plymouth, the need for additional central government funding would make a big difference, not just to the people of Plymouth – but for all of Devon and Cornwall.

Following the debate, Sir Gary, said: “Plymouth’s work to combat violence against women and girls is ground-breaking. And organisations across the city are working hard to ensure that there is real, meaningful and demonstrable change.

“But this is a long journey. Not just in Plymouth – but throughout the UK. There needs to be a national culture change around language and behaviour, there needs to be improved access to support, there needs to be safe places for women and girls. But – all of these things cannot happen without increased funding.

“We need the eligibility for central government funding to be reviewed, to ensure that smaller voluntary sector organisations can apply. We need additional funding to help with the work to prevent and drive culture change in our men and boys across the city, and we need additional investment to support child survivors who have suffered as a result of exposure to domestic abuse and sexual violence.”

Councillor Rebecca Smith, Chair of the Violence Against Women and Girls Commission for Plymouth, added: “Hearing the debate at Parliament not only demonstrates how important violence against women and girls is, not just in Plymouth – but across the country, but it also highlights how much we have achieved over the past two years.

“The Plymouth Violence Against Women and Girls Commission is only the starting point. It is a launch pad to bring to the forefront an agreed direction of travel moving forward.

“Since we published our findings, so much has been achieved – from the city centre help points, the night bus, mobile CCTV van, improved training for public sector professionals, the work of the NSPCC with young people, the new Man-Culture group to promote positive culture in our male community, the new Domestic Abuse and Sexual Offences Teams at Devon and Cornwall Police.

“But there is still so much more to do. I would like to thank Gary for raising this important issue at a central government level, and our other local MPs for their support, and I hope that the Minister accepts Gary’s invitation to come to our great city and find out more about what we are doing – and critically, how the government can help.”

To read the full debate at Parliament. Please see the Hansard record here (when it is published) or watch the debate on Parliament TV (25 January at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

For more information about the Violence Against Women and Girls Commission in Plymouth.