Published on
21 July 2021

The success of the Government's Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy will depend on multi-year funding for specialist services for victims and those at risk.

This is the message from Barnardo's, the UK's leading children's charity, as the Government unveils the strategy today (July 21).

Michelle Lee-Izu, Corporate Director, Barnardo’s said: "The harrowing testimonies from young victims on the Everyone’s Invited website and the tragic murder of Sarah Everard demonstrate that that harassment, abuse and violence against women and girls are deeply ingrained in our culture. 

“Experiences like upskirting at school and harassment on the street must not be seen as acceptable or dismissed as a rite of passage. 

“At Barnardo’s we have spent decades tackling violence against children and young people, supporting victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation, and hosting both the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse and the National FGM Centre. Abuse causes trauma that can last a lifetime and sadly it often goes unreported, as the onus is too often on the victim to come forward.

“Today’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy is therefore timely and welcome. The focus on additional support for teachers to deliver relationships, sex and health education is particularly positive, but we need to go further and invest in support for children displaying harmful sexual behaviour before it escalates. 

“The success of today’s strategy will depend on multi-year funding for specialist services for victims and those at risk, which must be a key feature of the Government’s Spending Review expected this autumn. 

“We also need a clear guarantee of support for all victims, including children, through the forthcoming Victim’s Bill. 

“Finally, we are calling on the Government to introduce robust age verification measures as a matter of urgency, to prevent access to pornography and other harmful content online, because we know that violent and sexualised materials normalise misogyny and violence against women and girls.”