National conference event in Penrith to focus on preventing violence against women and girls

The event will be held at the Roundthorn County House Hotel, near Penrith, on Monday 6 February. Credit: Roundthorn County House Hotel

A conference in Penrith will focus on the issue of violence against women and girls.

The conference, organised by Cumbria Police and the University of Leeds will also discuss domestic abuse in rural areas, elder abuse and reasons why victims may not support a police investigation.

It will bring together national experts on these issues and report on the findings of research the University of Leeds conducted last year in Cumbria.

The research was funded by the Home Office’s ‘STAR’ fund, which funds science, technology, analysis and research across police forces.

The conference attendees will be made up of specialist police officers, domestic abuse service providers, local authority officers, victim support staff, health colleagues, Age UK staff and academics.

One of Cumbria Constabulary’s senior detectives, Detective Superintendent Sally Blaiklock, will speak at the event about what has already been done in response to the research findings to improve the services Cumbria Police provides.

Detective Superintendent Dan St Quintin from Cumbria Police said: “We are extremely pleased that the work and practical knowledge of day-to-day police officers, staff and partners in Cumbria on these extremely important issues will play a key part in this important conference.“Cumbria Constabulary and partners have treated these issues very seriously for a long time."We will continue to do so and we will always look to see how we can improve further.

“We are also honoured to have such an event take place in our force area, featuring a range of national experts in their field."This is a national event held in Cumbria, which demonstrates to our communities that Cumbria is place where we want to learn more about what is happening in all our communities.”

Dr Sam Lewis from the University of Leeds, will also speak about the research findings.

Dr Lewis said: “There is mounting evidence from countries including the USA and Australia that victims of domestic abuse in rural areas have particular needs which require a bespoke response.

“International research evidence also suggests that practitioners face challenges when trying to reach, and provide support for, rural victims.

“This is the first study in England and Wales to combine a large police dataset with information from other organisations, and insights from practitioners, to shine a light on this issue.

“Our work with Cumbria Constabulary and partners brings new insights which have the potential to shape policy and practice in Cumbria and beyond.” 

The event will be held at the Roundthorn hotel, near Penrith, on Monday 6 February.

DS St Quintin added: “While Cumbria remains one of the safest places to live in the country, these crimes do still happen here – often behind closed doors but in public spaces too.

“Everyone should be safe and should feel safe. We take reports seriously and we treat all cases with sensitivity.

“If you have suffered abuse of any kind, please get in touch. We are here to help and support you. Even if right now you only have questions, I would urge you to contact us.”

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