West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin has promised the safety of women and girls will be “at the heart” of her next plan on policing and crime.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, she and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Alison Lowe said rates of rape, domestic violence and sexual abuse translate into justice in West Yorkshire were still “not good enough”.
Brabin and Lowe hope to improve the safety of women and girls in Leeds and West Yorkshire with this plan.
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Lowe said LeedsLive: “I love being a woman, but it comes with challenges. I have spoken very openly about my own experience of rape and domestic violence and these are challenges that many people around the world have to endure.
“It is important that as women we are sisters who come together and support each other in these difficult times.
Lowe said only 9.5% of recorded rapes in West Yorkshire end up being brought to justice.
“This means that more than 90% of recorded rapes do not end up in court,” she added.
“Nationally, 1.3% go to court, which is even worse. We know domestic violence is a huge problem here in West Yorkshire and it’s something our policing and crime plan will address. But we also know that violence against women and girls is a cradle-to-grave so that women can be at risk from men who are sometimes known and sometimes unknown.
“We need to create a space where women are safe and also where we help men understand that they can be allies – that they can be part of the solution – because the vast majority of men here in the West Yorkshire are amazing and want to be part of the solution.
“They also live in our communities and we want them to be active in our communities instead of bystanders to support and create safe spaces that women deserve.”
Brabin and Lowe spent International Women’s Day at Bad Company Thai Boxing Gym in Burmantofts with Olympic hero Nicola Adams, talking to local girls and encouraging them to strive for success like Adams.
Parts of Burmantofts and Richmond Hill near the gymnasium are among the 10% most deprived neighborhoods in the country, according to the 2019 Multiple Deprivation Indexes.
brabin said LeedsLive: “Well, this week we’re launching our policing and crime plan. When I ran for office and became the subway’s first-ever female mayor, we talked about it – we placed women’s safety and girls at the heart of this plan – whether it’s transportation, whether it’s housing or job training.
“So, for example, we’re investing £6m in Skills Connect, £6m for entrepreneurs – and I’ve made sure that 50% of those opportunities go to women and 20% to people of colour, 3% people who define themselves. I can do this because I have the power, the money and the mandate of the people of West Yorkshire to make a difference.
Nicola, Brabin and Lowe hosted a boxing workshop in partnership with Leeds Beckett with girls at the gym and gave the girls the chance to ask Nicola questions.
Both Lowe and Nicola are from East Leeds, where the workshop took place.
“One of the big things that the mayor’s policing and crime plan is about women and girls, but also early intervention and prevention,” Lowe said.
“If we can build the resilience and capacities of our young people, especially our young girls, who we know can be really vulnerable in this sometimes very nasty world, then that’s a huge plus. So we want to build the abilities of these girls, but also build the hope and aspiration of these girls by seeing this wonderful woman Nicola Adams who is from East Leeds like me.
“She won everything she wanted to win and it’s great to have a local hero back so the young people of Leeds can say ‘if I can see it, I can be it’.”
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The full policing and crime plan for West Yorkshire will be unveiled on Thursday March 10 during a full week of International Women’s Day events.
Brabin added: “What a great start that Nicola Adams came here with a whole group of young girls to inspire them in the next stage of their lives.
“It’s amazing to be a woman. To be a woman leader, a woman in politics, to be a mother, to be a wife, all those things, to be an MP, and also to be an actor and a writer – it’s a real privilege to “to have our stories told. and it’s a real honor. And that’s what we say – the world is your oyster, all you have to do is reach out.”
You can see the full list of International Women’s Week events in West Yorkshire here.
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