West Yorkshire Police recently concluded its annual week of action, underscoring its commitment to raising awareness and addressing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). From the 4th to the 10th of March, officers, staff, and volunteers collaborated with key partners to bolster the initiative, focusing on establishing safe spaces throughout West Yorkshire.

During the week, law enforcement made over 144 arrests and filed over 66 charges against individuals involved in VAWG-related crimes. Since the inception of the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy in 2021, in collaboration with partners and local communities, the force has persistently strived to create safe environments for women and girls.

The VAWG strategy, centred on four key pillars, places particular emphasis on safe spaces. These pillars encompass public spaces, private domains, online platforms, and educational institutions. Across all five districts, substantial efforts have been dedicated to enforcement, educational initiatives, and collaborative ventures with partners in these critical areas.

In Leeds, officers engaged with partners across the district through various events held at Trinity Shopping Centre, Leeds University, and within the night-time economy. Similarly, in Calderdale, officers initiated ‘cuppa with a copper’ sessions in town centres, encouraging local residents to engage in conversations while also participating in school programs and continuing the SWAN (Safety of Women at Night) project in Halifax town centre.

In Wakefield, officers concentrated on bolstering the night-time economy by supporting partners with licensing inspections and promoting campaigns such as ‘Ask for Angela’ and ‘Cut It Out’ among local businesses. Meanwhile, Bradford District, through the Safer Bradford partnership, launched the JogOn campaign aimed at preventing and addressing incidents of harassment, abuse, and unwanted behaviour towards female runners.

In Kirklees, officers facilitated drop-in events focused on VAWG in collaboration with partner agencies, including the University of Huddersfield, PDAP, LOCALA, Change Grow Live, and Victim Support. Additionally, they promoted safe spaces such as Safezones, the Night Safety Bus, and the WalkSafe App at colleges, supermarkets, and transport hubs throughout the district.

West Yorkshire Police’s Violence Against Women and Girls lead, Detective Supt Vanessa Rolfe said; “This latest week of action is a great snapshot of our ongoing efforts to make a difference across all five districts.

“Working with partners to create safe spaces has proven incredibly successful so far and we hope to continue to build on this area, ensuring women and girls are safe across West Yorkshire.

“We know that there is more to do, to stamp out this behaviour, but we will continue to push forward and support those in need when they need it the most.”