Vera Baird QC, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, will today release the findings of a report which will influence the next Labour Government’s agenda on delivering for women across the north east and United Kingdom.
In 2011 the Labour Party asked Vera Baird to lead ‘Everywoman Safe Everywhere’ Commission and come up with recommendations for the next Labour Government. An interim report was produced in 2012 with the final report being published today (Wednesday, 10 December, 2014).
The research covered many areas affecting women – from legal aid to services for victims of domestic violence.
The report asks the next Labour Government to do more than just reverse the last five years of decline by putting tackling violence against women and girls at the heart of our modern welfare state.
It proposes a statutory obligation on Government and local authorities to develop integrated domestic and sexual violence strategies and the establishment of a new Commissioner to tackle violence against women and girls, to drive their implementation and bring national standards of service to all.
The report encourages reforming how services are commissioned, refocusing on the practical need for specialist women-centred services with a track record of success.
Vera Baird said: “I was delighted to be asked by Yvette Cooper to lead this Commission, as it’s allowed me to put the changes we’ve implemented here in Northumbria on a national platform.
“The work happening in our region can be used as a model of good practice by the next Labour Government. The main job for Ed Miliband and his team is to develop an integrated domestic and sexual violence strategy. If we get it right from day one of the next Labour Government we will change lives for a generation.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has already accepted one of the report’s recommendations for a new national refuge fund, to provide the safe places that women and children need and national Rape Support Funding on a three-year cycle, to give rape crisis centres real security.
Vera Baird added: “The Shadow Home Secretary’s actions show how Labour take women’s issues seriously and we are committed to providing safe places for women and girls when they need it most.
“The Commission’s recommendations are about fixing this issue, in all its myriad forms, including forced marriage, trafficking, slavery, harassment, honour crimes, FGM and prostitution; putting them at the heart of the modern public services that Ed Miliband’s Premiership will deliver. Next we should work on a strategy with the Department of Education, to prevent violence against women and girls in coming generations so we can also drive a lasting legacy of culture change.”