Day of action as part of Merseyside Police's commitment to tackling VAWG

DCC Maggie Blyth talking to the Chief Constable Serena Kennedy

Merseyside Police has today, Thursday 9th June, arrested 17 men as part of their ongoing commitment to tackling violence against women and girls.

The force-wide day of action, which has taken months of planning, targeted a number of named suspects for domestic abuse related offences including threats to kill, disclosing private sexual images, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault by beating, harassment, malicious communication and breach of a non-molestation order.

Those arrested range in age from 21 to 55 and are from the Wirral, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Liverpool and Skelmersdale areas.

They are all currently in custody.

Today’s day of action coincides with the launch of the force's Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Plan which aims to target and pursue offenders, create safer spaces and improve trust and confidence in the police.

We know that every day across Merseyside, and the UK, women and girls are subjected to incidents of violence, hate and sexual assault at work, in schools, on public transports, in open spaces and at home.

Many of these incidents go unreported and we know that more needs to be done to address this.

Tackling violence against women and girls is already a priority for Merseyside Police and the Plan reiterates the force's commitment to making the difference that they communities expect.

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Today’s day of action is visible evidence of our ongoing commitment to pursuing offenders and protecting women and girls and I hope that it demonstrates to people that we will take positive action to bring perpetrators to justice and gives confidence to victims and survivors to come forward and speak to us.

“Merseyside Police is absolutely committed to not only responding to reports of crime against women and girls but taking all opportunities to reduce this by also making the best use of all the tools at our disposal including protection and preventative orders.

“We want to make Merseyside a place where women and girls feel safe and can live their lives free from fear and harassment but we know this is not something we can do alone. Violence against women and girls is a problem across society and needs a collaborative solution.

“We will work with women and girls to ensure they have a voice in how we deliver and develop our services and we will continue to work with our partners to better support women and girls to ensure they feel safe, that action is taken in their time of need and that they have assistance accessing emotional support or help with accommodation or finances.

“Internally we will continue to develop the culture of our force and seek out and investigate those who don’t represent the professional standards we would expect from police officers and staff. We will also continue to work to ensure there is a force-wide understanding of VAWG and have a culture that displays attitudes and behaviour that will not tolerate misogyny in the organisation or community."

Merseyside Police has today also welcomed a visit from Home Secretary Priti Patel and Hampshire’s Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, who is the national police lead for violence against women and girls.

They were able to listen to a number of presentations and meet officers and staff from the Violence Reduction Partnership, the Unity team who are responsible for investigating sexual offences and the Op Cornerstone team who are responsible for targeting domestic abuse offenders.

They were also able to hear of some of the ongoing ‘Empowering Females’ work within Merseyside Police including military leadership and the She Inspires football team.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: "Tackling Violence against Women and Girls is an absolute priority for both for myself and the Chief Constable. We are both determined to create a region which is safer for all women and girls who live, work and visit Merseyside.

“The publication of this Plan is a very welcome step in this work. It details how Merseyside Police will look to drive improvements in the way women and girls who suffer violence are supported, how offenders are brought to justice and how they can ensure women feel safer wherever they go.

“A critical part of my role is scrutinising the Chief Constable on behalf of the public of Merseyside. This framework will be a key document for monitoring Merseyside Police’s performance to ensure we continue to see improvements month on month, year on year. Much of this scrutiny is held in public now, so our communities can watch and listen first-hand to find out exactly how this work is being delivered.

“The issue of VAWG is deep-rooted and complex and the police cannot tackle it on their own. I will do everything possible to encourage our partners in criminal justice, community safety, health, education and beyond to play their part and I will be launching my own delivery plan shortly setting out actions for all agencies to improve their response to VAWG, ensuring victims are the heart of everything we do.

“There is a long way to go if we are to eradicate VAWG for good, but by working together we can be a force for change, making our region safer for all women and girls.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Violence against women and girls are heinous crimes, and I am determined to tackle this threat head on.

"Across England and Wales we are recruiting 20,000 additional police officers to help make our streets safer. 629 extra officers have been recruited to Merseyside Police so far and they have opened a dedicated unit to ensure specially-trained officers are available to support rape victims.

"This is all part of delivering on our priority of tackling the varied crimes of violence against women and girls, which are simply unacceptable, and also preventable."

National Police Coordinator for Violence Against Women and Girls, Deputy Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, said: “It is great to see so much taking place in Merseyside to tackle violence against women and girls. Days of action such as this have a real impact and we want perpetrators of these crimes to know that we will not tolerate violence against women and girls of any kind.

“Action plans, such as the one announced today, have been drawn up by all 43 forces so that good work and areas of improvement can be identified and coordinated. At a national level and within local forces we have a good plan for change in policing which the violence against women and girls sector have helped to shape and are behind it. In my role as national police coordinator, l will review progress and ensure it is delivering what we intend. While we recognise there is still much to do, we are working hard to make meaningful change to the lives of women and girls."

The link to the Merseyside Police VAWG plan can be found here: 

Introduction | Our commitment to keeping women and girls safe in Merseyside | Merseyside Police

If you need help

Don't be afraid to tell someone, find the courage to come forward and get the help you deserve. There is a lot of help out there both from specialist officers within Merseyside Police and partner organisations.

The force is also encouraging neighbours and friends of those that are suffering from domestic abuse to tell them about it. Trust your instincts - if something you’ve seen or heard doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. By knowing the signs of domestic abuse, you could help a friend, colleague or family member. Domestic abuse isn’t just physical – it can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial or controlling behaviour. Some of the signs of domestic abuse, such as physical marks, may be easy to identify. Others may be things you can easily explain away or overlook

People can contact Merseyside Police and after explaining who they are and what the problem is, request that the police do not call at their address if they’re concerned about the response of their neighbours – this is about protecting the vulnerable people out there.

Anyone with information on domestic abuse can contact @MerPolCC, 101 or @CrimestoppersUK, anonymously on 0800 555 111

If someone is in immediate danger they should dial 999 and speak to an operator but we also accept that openly speaking is not always an option.

The Silent Solution is a service which means a vulnerable person can call 999 and alert us, by pressing ’55.’ This will indicate that help is needed and we will respond.

If you’ve been affected by sexual violence of any kind, support is available through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Victim Care Merseyside service delivered jointly by two registered charities. In Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral, support is provided by Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (RASA) Merseyside who are available on 0151 558 1801 and, in St Helens and Knowsley, by the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside who can be contacted on 01925 221 546 or 0330 363 0063

For further help and advice contact:

Safe Place Merseyside – Sexual Assault Referral Centre

0151 295 3550

Victim Support Merseyside

0151 353 4003

[email protected]

Amadudu Women’s Refuge

0151 734 0083 

Savera UK

0151 709 6586


Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service

0151 263 7474

South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service

0151 494 2222


SWACA – Sefton Women’s and Children’s Aid

0151 922 8606


Wirral Women’s and Children’s Aid

0151 643 9766

St Helens

St Helens Safe2Speak Support and Advice

01744 743200 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm) 
Out of hours: 24 hour helpline if you need emergency accommodation - 01925 220541


The First Step Knowsley

0151 548 3333

[email protected]