IOPC publishes guidance on Ending victim blaming: Violence against Women and Girls

Published: 07 Mar 2024

Today (7 March) we publish our guide, Ending victim blaming: violence against women and girls: Why language, attitudes, and behaviours matter. The guidance forms part of our programme of work on violence against women and girls which has been prioritised in response to increasing public concern about the policing response to violence against women and girls and cultural attitudes in policing about women and girls. 

We know that too many women and girls do not have a good experience when reporting these crimes and we also know that language, behaviour and attitudes can play a big part in this. Putting any responsibility on a victim for what has happened to them can put women and girls off from reporting these crimes and pursuing justice and in some instances, wrongly leaving victim-survivors to feel they are to blame for the trauma they have endured.

The words we use in our communications, written or spoken, can set the tone for an investigation, any future contact and impact on the victim-survivor. We haven’t always got this right and recognise that as part of the system, we are also part of the problem. 

Amanda Rowe, Director Operations and Strategic Lead: Violence against women and girls said:

“Today – a day before International Women’s Day, the launch of this guidance is another step forward for us to help change attitudes and behaviors in policing, and the police complaints system to better support victim-survivors. 

“Our guidance provides a set of key principles to follow when engaging with victim-survivors. 

“We believe it is a valuable resource, not just for IOPC staff but for the whole system which is why we have shared it with all police forces across England and Wales.”

Watch our animation about this work and the video from Amanda Rowe – Director, Operations, and Strategic Lead on Violence against women and girls.

  • Violence against women and girls