We had very informative evening with Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey. The evening began with a candle ceremony which celebrated the Soroptimist Centenary and International Day of Peace (21 September).Four candles were lit and all present on Zoom were asked to make four wishes, one for each: Soroptimist International, Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland, Southern England region and local Soroptimist Clubs.
The ceremony was then followed by Lisa speaking about the work of Surrey police and how they are combatting crimes against women and girls. We had requested a number of statistics which Lisa was able to provide, some of these are quite disturbing. For example, on average a woman receives 36 assaults before she will report it to the police. The number of domestic abuse cases increased through the pandemic with 9754 cases being recorded by Surrey police. 9158 of these cases were where children were involved, which is a very high rate. 733 crimes recorded last year were for stalking. The arrest rate for crimes against women was just over 40 %. We have made a request for these statistics and others mentioned, to be sent to us and we hope to distribute them to those who were present.
Lisa’s call to action recommended talking to the men in our lives about the safety of women and writing to local MPs. She encouraged us to write to County Council members for issues such as poor street lighting. Some funding can be generated by reporting issues to our neighbourhood teams in order to enable resources to be allocated to the appropriate area.
In this video, Lisa talks about the Domestic Abuse Bill and the letters written by Soroptimist Clubs to Baronesses in a campaign to highlight gaps in some amendments to the Bill. She talks about the work of Surrey police and their success in terms of supporting victims of domestic abuse through working closely in partnership with organisations such as East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services and Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid.