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Jess Phillips MP is special guest at Violence Against Women and Girls event

Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Jess Phillips MP, was on the panel for a conference held by The Open University’s Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL) looking at ways to combat gender-based violence. 

This one-day conference was hosted on campus by the Centre which is based in the Faculty of Business and Law. It aimed to increase awareness and understanding of the work being undertaken in Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) from a policing, politics, practice and research perspective.

The Labour party politician is an active campaigner for women’s rights and ending violence against women and girls. She was joined on the panel by Andy Cooke, QPM DL, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services, Sue Burke CEO MK-Act, Samantha Millar, Chief Superintendent, Programme Lead, VAWG Taskforce, National Police Chief Council.

The whole system at the moment is failing women and girls. Efforts to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the UK are being hampered by a lack of political will and policing resources, and will need a shift in focus – both towards prevention, and from the victims to the perpetrators – if real advances are going to be made 

Jess Phillips

The discussion was chaired by Dr Anna Hopkins, lecturer in Policing Organisation and Practice within FBL and former police officer, who said we must keep talking about these issues in order to force change.

The fact this event has been sold out for in person attendance for quite some weeks and the fact that there are around 250 people who have signed up to this event online shows that there is both a need and an appetite to learn more about this very challenging area of tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. 

Dr Anna Hopkins
Lecturer in Policing Organisation and Practice

The lively discussion saw the audience – which included senior police officers, members of the third sector and leading academics – hear the panel’s opinions on what the biggest challenges are when it comes to tackling the issue of VAWG. This included the current lack of confidence from victims in the police to deal effectively with the crime and the role education and the wider society could play in prevention, such as properly dealing with repeat offenders and better monitoring of those offenders awaiting their often long delayed trials.

Following a Q&A session, the conference then heard presentations from the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s Officer, Nicola McConnell followed by a lived experience consultant – Lisa Ward, who spoke about the important of co-production in VAWG related research.

VAWG encompasses all forms of violence against women and girls, with the most perpetrated crimes falling under domestic abuse (DA) and rape and serious sexual violence offences (RASSO).

About the Centre for Policing Research and Learning

The Centre was founded in 2014 as a partnership with five police forces and a small number of OU academics with the aim to create, explore and use high-quality knowledge to support evidence-based practice and to create better policing, whether through continuous improvement or transformational change.

The centre is leading the way in researching VAWG as evidenced by the numerous large-scale projects currently being undertaken in this area.

The Centre is involved in an ambitious programme of work across three streams. First, undertaking research relevant to policing. Research is jointly decided in partnership between the police and academics. Police partners add valuable insights, expertise and context, while academics bring knowledge of literature and research methods to the design, delivery and interpretation of the research, which generates valuable evidence-based practice. Second, learning and education – providing a range of blended (online and face-to face) learning in a series of informal as well as accredited packages that range from bite-sized and free Open Educational Resources to Police Constable Degree Apprenticeships (PCDA) and the PhD studentship programme. Third, knowledge into practice – increasing the impact of the Centre’s work through the exchange, translation and use of its research, learning and education into policing practice. This is supported through an understanding of ‘what works’ in bridging the ‘knowing-doing’ gap in management and organisations.

This article was originally published on The OU news website; click to read the original article.

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