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Home Affairs agree to expedite a SARC as part of plans to tackle Violence against Women and Girls

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The Committee for Home Affairs is looking at ways it can expedite the opening of a Sexual Assault Referral Centre. The Assembly unanimously supported the introduction of a pilot scheme for a SARC in 2023 as part of the Government Work Plan. Following strong representations from the community about the importance of a SARC the Committee has started exploring ways that could result in it opening sooner.

Violence against women and girls is an issue that the Committee is taking extremely seriously and wants to tackle as a priority. A SARC is just one piece of this puzzle.

The Committee is exploring a range of approaches it can take to both make Guernsey a more comfortable environment for women and girls, support victims more effectively, and push people to show everyone else the respect they deserve.

Very early conversations are ongoing with colleagues in Education about starting an annual presentation on this issue targeting sixth formers, for example, and the Committee and Bailiwick Law Enforcement have met with campaigners to begin to develop a number of other initiatives.

Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee forHome Affairs, said:

"Violence against women and girls, and any form of inappropriate violence and behaviour, are areas that are extremely important to the Committee, and we have been looking at what we can do to help strengthen the offering Guernsey has when it comes to both supporting victims, and preventing these offences from occurring in the first place. Among our work in this area, we will be looking at how we can get a SARC open as soon as is feasibly possible.

"As a Committee, we have also undertaken a number of other work streams in this area. As an example, we are at the very early stages of discussions with colleagues in Education about putting on an annual presentation to young people about violence and intimidation against women, and all of the forms it takes, before they are old enough to go out and enjoy pubs and clubs. We look forward to being able to share more about this, and other plans, in the future.'

Deputy Sue Aldwell, a Member of the Committee forHome Affairs, added:

"We have also been pleased to give Bailiwick Law Enforcement our full support as Officers there have been looking at Violence Against Women and Girls as an area in which it can strengthen its services. Nationally, tragic incidents in the past year have only shone more of a spotlight on this issue, and it is clear we need to do as much as we can to help women and girls feel comfortable when they are enjoying themselves in the community. Everyone deserves to be shown respect, and it is unacceptable that some people don't show that respect to others. Together with our island's Law Enforcement Officers, we are committed to doing what we can to change that."

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