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Tackling Violent and Sexual Offences

Volume 704: debated on Monday 22 November 2021

8. What recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department’s policies to tackle violent and sexual offences. (904268)

15. What recent assessment her Department has made of the progress of its tackling violence against women and girls strategy. (904275)

Crimes of violence against women and girls are abhorrent and have no place in our society. Maggie Blyth has been appointed as the new policing lead for tackling violence against women and girls. We have launched a £5 million safety of women at night fund, and we will be launching a national communications campaign focused on targeting perpetrators, educating young people and ensuring victims can access support.

The sexual abuse and grooming of our young women and men is a heinous crime, and it is outrageous that victims should come into contact with their perpetrators after those perpetrators are released from prison. Successive Home Secretaries, including the present Home Secretary directly, have promised me that action would be taken where appropriate to deport those perpetrators. Can we know what progress has been made? If there has been no progress, will the Home Secretary agree to meet me?

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has indicated that she would be very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman. We all recognise the need to tackle these absolutely disgusting crimes, and I am sure that the whole House would support what he is asking for.

Drugs, speeding and ineffective response times were top issues at the crime forum I held in Breightmet and Tonge with the Haulgh, but it was violence against women that gave me pause during that event. What is being done to tackle violence against women in Bolton?

I thank my hon. Friend for how he is focusing on this issue. We have a national programme to support women and girls’ safety and, as part of that, Greater Manchester has been awarded £1.5 million from the Home Office’s domestic abuse perpetrator programme fund. The fund works with perpetrators to get them to change their behaviour. It is very difficult but important work, and it is taking place specifically in Bolton. One of the partners is Talk, Listen, Change, which has been accredited by the organisation, Respect, as delivering very high-quality interventions.