Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony McNally was speaking as a new framework was launched by the National Police Chief’s Council and the College of Policing in Britain.
Police in England and Wales will now have to take wide-ranging action to deliver a fundamental shift in priority of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and give victims a consistently high standard of service wherever they are.
DCS McNally said: “The voices of women and girls in our society, and our partners that support them, are being heard loudly. We have been developing and consulting on the first Violence and Intimidation against Women and Girls action plan for Northern Ireland for a number of months and it continues to develop at pace.
“We welcome the publication today of national guidance that provides clear consistent expectations for all police forces. I want to make assurances that in Northern Ireland we are echoing, in our own action plan, the commitment to focussing on tackling misogynistic, sexist attitudes that we know can escalate and ultimately disrupting male offenders who seek to harm women and girls in our society.”
The action plan for Northern Ireland will focus on prevention, early intervention and enhanced support for victims and will aim to tackle the issue of misogyny. A focus will also be placed on the internal working practices and culture within the Police Service to align with the ongoing strategic programme of work on professional conduct, behaviours and ethics led by the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Constable.
A dedicated Independent Advisory Group is being established to hear and better understand the views of women in respect of male violence and intimidation against women and girls and an extensive series of focus groups and site visits have taken place over the last month with partners and victims. The Police Service says they are in “listening mode” and are taking the time to “get it right”.
DCS McNally added: “A key part of developing the action plan is an extensive programme of engagement with advocacy groups, service providers, and women and girls themselves across Northern Ireland and we thank everyone who has been a critical friend at this time and provided us with invaluable feedback and guidance.
“Those with the lived experiences, expertise and knowledge are helping us ensure our action plan contains the right themes and actions to make real and meaningful progress and garner confidence in our approach.
“The entire PSNI is committed to taking a preventative approach to VAWG, tightening our grip on offenders and creating safer communities for women and girls.”