Annual Report 2022 - 2023 - Page 7

Tackling Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

Domestic abuse and sexual offences are some of the most heinous crimes that Lancashire Constabulary deals with. I made it absolutely clear that my Fighting Crime Plan would recognise this and also commit to driving up conviction rates in Lancashire.

LPCC meeting a dedicated RASSO team

In the last year, the Constabulary has engaged in a number of national and local initiatives with partners and academics to ensure that our strategy, policies and practice are underpinned by the latest knowledge and research evidence.

Victims remain at the heart of all we do. As we continue going after offenders and protecting people, Lancashire Victim Services provides dedicated support, whenever and however victims need it.

The Constabulary continue to improve support for victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence or abuse; are committed to conducting robust risk assessments and ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable through timely, rigorous investigation and utilisation of the full range of tools available.

2022/23 Highlights

Dedicated RASSO team increasing prosecutions

Last year I invested in the establishment of a dedicated rape and serious sexual offences team, meaning 45 extra officers joined existing colleagues to form three Rape and Serious Sexual Assault Offences (RASSO) teams, one in each of our policing divisions with the purpose of specialising in and investigating offences of Rape.

The past twelve months has seen these teams hit the ground running in Lancashire, with the most qualified and experienced investigators managing complex cases, maximising opportunities to bring offenders to justice and ensuring victims receive the specialist support they deserve.

I have visited officers within the teams, talking about how the investment we have provided and the restructuring of how rape and serious sexual offences are policed is providing positive results.

Operation Soteria Bluestone

In December 2022, Lancashire Constabulary was one of 14 forces to join a nationwide expansion programme which aims to transform the way rape and serious sexual offences (RASSO) are investigated.

The programme – Operation Soteria Bluestone – is led by National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and Home Office funded research and will result in a national operating model which will be rolled out to all 43 Home Office forces.

This evidence-based, academic-led project aims to ensure consistency and quality in the investigation of Rape and Serious Sexual offences.

It is a great opportunity to strengthen the policing response to rape and serious sexual assault here in Lancashire and build in long-term, lasting improvements to how these horrific and traumatic crimes are dealt with to ensure we put offenders behind bars, secure justice for victims and protect the public.

£7m Government Funding to support Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

In August 2022 I was delighted to announce that my Office had secured over £7m to enhance domestic and sexual violence support across Lancashire.

The funding, awarded by the Ministry of Justice, will benefit a wide range of local organisations and services aver three years and deliver support for victims and deliver enhanced specialist support to help them move forward and recover.

The money will also see additional support workers joining services across the county which will ensure that anyone affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence can access support that’s right for them, whenever and wherever they need it.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) will now be based in Southport and Ormskirk, Preston and Morecambe Bay hospitals, meaning that every hospital trust in Lancashire now has at least one specialist support worker on site.

Placing support in health setting and ensuring that hospitals and GP practices are aware of the support available has proven hugely successful. Health settings are a place of safety meaning that victims may feel more confident to talk about what has happened to them. The Office has invested over £650,000 in Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board to implement IRISi in Lancashire – a specialist domestic violence and abuse training, support, and referral programme for GPs. The support that is already in place has seen more victims referred into support services at the earliest opportunity so it’s fantastic to be able to build on this success and to make sure support of this kind is rolled out across Lancashire.

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Summit

Violence against women and girls is unacceptable.

In December 2022 I brought together senior leaders from across Lancashire to coordinate how violence against women and girls (VAWG) is tackled across the county.

The leadership summit gave Lancashire organisations including the police, local, the NHS and other community safety partners the rare opportunity to come together to discuss the vital role they play in tackling VAWG.

The event provided an opportunity to shared best practice, to identify any gaps in service provision and to discuss how we can better work together to develop a consistent and proactive approach to combat VAWG and, importantly, create wrap-around support for victims across the county.

I was encouraged to see leaders declare their organisations’ commitment to tackling VAWG as part of the summit and I will continue to work closely with partners to help shape strategic plans to ensure that national VAWG priorities translate into local action to keep women and girls safe across Lancashire.

I am making significant investments in co-ordinating VAWG activity across Lancashire, and I have established a new post within my Office, Senior Policy and Partnerships Manager (Victims and Vulnerable People), to work across key-issues and stay up to date on related policies.

Op Provide

My office continues to support Operation Provide, which sees police officers responding to domestic abuse reports alongside a trained NHS domestic abuse specialist. It has already been highlighted as National Best Practice by the Home Office, and forms part of the Homicide Prevention Tool Kit.

An independent evaluation of this approach by Liverpool John Moores University has shown that the number of victims engaging with safeguarding advice was increased by 45.7 per cent – from 21.5 per cent to 67.2 per cent – as a result of the operation. It has also seen the number of victims engaging with prosecution increase by 26.9 per cent.

Op Night Guardian

I continue to back Operation Night Guardian to tackle violence against women and girls in the night time economy. This operation involves proactive work including the deployment of uniform and plain clothes officers in key areas to ensure that Lancashire residents and particularly women and girls can enjoy a safe night out in our county.

Consent Campaign

The issue of consent was highlighted as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Week. A digital campaign was launched by my Office across social media to dispel common myths around consent. Campaign materials were shared with partners across the county to ensure that the campaign messages reach as many people as possible.

Scrutiny and Advisory Group

Following on from the VAWG Summit in December, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Lancashire Constabulary have established a VAWG Scrutiny and Advisory Group. This group will be involved in the development of a pan-Lancashire VAWG strategy and advise on the views of the community to help shape better delivery of VAWG related services.

But the outfit said yes poster

Case Study

Support for victims

Melinda* disclosed to LVS she had suffered from historic rape and sexual assaults by her husband. An IDSVA (Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advisor) helped her develop coping strategies and attended interviews with her as well as her having continual support from a RASSO officer.

‘I would have not done this without my IDSVA the support is priceless. Couldn’t have done it without your belief in me and constant reassurance.’

Sidra* made a report to the police and disclosed that her husband had tried to strangle her a few days ago. This was not the first time, she had endured many years of coercive and controlling behaviour, psychological, financial abuse and she no longer wanted to be in the relationship but would not support prosecution. She had tried to leave him before but returned due to family pressure and the lack of support she had access to.

Sidra did not speak English, so was assigned an IDVA who was able to speak with her in Punjabi who could provide her with ongoing support and reassurance. The IDVA helped her apply for grant funding from the Home Office, something she felt was not possible after being denied four years earlier. The IDVA then helped Sidra plan her move to refuge.

“I am really happy I had an IDVA that spoke Urdu and Punjabi and I was able to convey what was going on and had a clear line of communication. It’s emotionally draining when an interpreter is used, and I was thankful I am able to speak to you openly and freely and be able to portray what my wishes and wants were.”

Lancashire Victim Services Client Testimonial


Of domestic abuse victims surveyed felt that officers treated them with respect.


More protective and preventative orders issued and monitored for breaches in the last 6 months (176 VAWG Related.


Reduction in violence with injury offences.


Detectives dedicated to the investigation of rape offences.


Of violence Against Women and Girls Investigations resulted positively An increase of 5% compared with last year.


Submissions from the public via the StreetSafe portal shared with our partners to identify areas where people feel unsafe.

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