A collaborative partnership of organisations across Plymouth researching ways of tackling violence against women and girls in the city.
This project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) aims to understand what is important for reducing and preventing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Plymouth and develop research and evaluation projects to tackle these important areas. Police and partner organisations in Plymouth already work together in the city’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership. This includes Plymouth City Council, health services and charities supporting victims or working with perpetrators.
The Plymouth VAWG Commission was set up following the devastating murders in Plymouth of Maxine Davison, Sophie Martin and Kate Sheperd in Keyham in August 2021 and the murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod in November 2021. The Commission covers VAWG in all forms. It includes representatives from the Police, partner organisations, researchers and other members of the community from Plymouth. The Commission has listened to the experiences and concerns of the people of Plymouth in relation to VAWG. This includes women and girls who have experienced violence. The Commission has also listened to the Police and partner organisations about how VAWG is being addressed in the city. Recommendations about how Plymouth will reduce and prevent VAWG will be launched by the Commission in June 2022. Devon and Cornwall Police have also produced an Action Plan to reduce and prevent VAWG across Devon and Cornwall.
It is important that the Police Action Plan is made relevant to the specific needs of Plymouth as highlighted by the VAWG Commission Recommendations. This project aims to (1) understand what the Police, partner organisations and people who live in Plymouth think is most important to reduce and prevent VAWG in Plymouth, and (2) develop projects to tackle those specific areas.
This work will have three phases:
1. Identify the priorities of services in Plymouth by listening to a variety of organisations that work with victims and survivors of VAWG or support people who commit violent acts against women and girls. We will also listen to members of the public across Plymouth. These include women and girls, men and boys, women who are homeless, women who have experienced violence, women who are migrants and asylum seekers, women with disabilities, women with experience of of street prostitution and men with a history of violence to women and/or girls. Once we have listened, we will work with people from those groups to decide between 4 and 6 priorities that should be taken forward to the next stage of the project.
2. Map work that is and isn’t already happening in Plymouth: We will again listen to organisations and public groups to understand what is happening in Plymouth to help prevent or reduce VAWG. We will take the priorities agreed in the previous phase and map where services in Plymouth are providing support. We will also identify gaps in what people in Plymouth think they need to prevent or reduce VAWG. From this we will work with organisations and the public to identify important questions that could be answered by research.
3. Develop priority project teams: We will bring together teams of Police, partner organisations and members of the public together with researchers to develop projects to answer the research questions. We will support teams to write project proposals and either work on smaller projects or apply for funding to work on larger projects. We will present the work of the project through a variety of events in locations across the city and to a range of audiences to promote the impact of the work.
This project aims to strengthen, extend and diversify partnerships and knowledge exchange relating to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Plymouth and engage the public, including traditionally marginalised groups, to inform and drive the VAWG evidence base in the city.
The main objectives of the proposed co-designed activities are as follows:
a. Prioritization phase: (i) Understand priorities of police, partner organisation and the public in relation to tackling VAWG (ii) Identify key priority themes to take forward as research and evaluation projects to support the implementation of the DCP Action Plan and the VAWG Commission recommendations
b. City initiative mapping phase: Specific objectives will be to identify the completed or current initiatives (activities; interventions; innovations; services; research; evaluation) in the city and map them against the above priority themes to assess (i) the extent to which they meet need identified in the priority themes and where there are gaps under each theme and (ii) where there are synergies and opportunities for extended and diversified networking and partnership working.
c. Matching and project generation phase: We will: (i) identify projects that can be conducted within existing resource and those that require additional funding; (ii) match police, partner organisations and people with lived experience with researchers to co-design research and evaluation projects to tackle VAWG under above themes; (iii) support the design of projects that can be conducted with existing resource; and (iv) support and signpost teams to develop proposals for research/evaluation projects that require further funding.
d. Collaborative networking and public engagement: (i) map and develop public engagement and lived experience consultation about VAWG; (ii) listen to the experiences and views of people with lived experience of VAWG, including children and young people (both victims/survivors and perpetrators); (iii) increase public awareness of services and work being carried out in Plymouth; (iv) increase public knowledge of how they can contribute to service development and research; (v) increase the number of people in Plymouth involved in VAWG consultation and research; (vi) enhance engagement with traditionally marginalised groups and the organisations that support them in the development of VAWG research and evaluation.
Get in touch with the research team to find out how you can get involved.
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- Lucy Cartwright, University of Plymouth