Pledge to make Merseyside a safer place for women and girls on eve of Ava White murder anniversary

A minute’s silence is being held for all women and girls who lost their lives to male violence. (Posed scene) Credit: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

Merseyside's Police and Crime Commissioner is launching a new scheme to help improve women's safety.

Working in partnership with 50 bodies across the county it aims to crack down on all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

It comes on the eve of the first anniversary of the murder of 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed to death in Liverpool City Centre after the annual Christmas lights switch on.

Emily Spurrell said: "There is an epidemic of VAWG in this country.

"Recent tragic and high-profile cases have brought this into sharp focus, highlighting just how far we still must go to eradicate such crimes."

PCC Emily Spurrell at the 2022 VAWG summit. Credit: Merseyside PCC

The plan, which has been agreed by all local political leaders, sets out a series of straight-forward and achievable actions which all agencies can deliver to help eradicate VAWG.

Emily Spurrell says it sets out a clear ambition to protect women and girls who live, work and visit Merseyside, prevent violence, pursue offenders and ensure tackling VAWG is prioritised and treated with urgency.

Women and girls from all across all five boroughs of Merseyside have come forward to share their experiences for the scheme.

Ava White was killed in Liverpool on 25 November 2021. Credit: Family photo

A minute’s silence is being held at the launch event to remember all women and girls who have tragically lost their lives to male violence, including Ava.

Partners will sign the key pledge demonstrating their commitment to making Merseyside safer for all women and girls.

Ms Spurrell added: "We know women and girls experience violence in our communities every day. It is culturally embedded – deep-rooted in a society that was designed for men, and which enables misogynistic attitudes and sexism to fester.

"As Police Commissioner, my priority is to create a safe region for everyone - that means for all women and girls.

"This epidemic cannot be tackled by any one agency or organisation in isolation; we must respond collectively, urgently and with meaningful action if we are to make a genuine difference."

  • If you have been affected by crime, Victim Care Merseyside is here to provide support online at any time, or by calling Freephone 0808 175 3080 on weekdays between 8am and 6pm.