Bath Voice News: message on the prevention of violence and harassment of women and girls from the Bath MP and the police

From the Bath MP Wera Hobhouse: On Saturday December the 2nd, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse visited The Rec, the home of Bath Rugby. Before the match she also spent time at a stand highlighting the Avon and Somerset Police / British Transport Police initiative around eliminating violence against women and girls. The initiative promotes the act of being an active bystander, where individuals can come together as a community and safely challenge unacceptable behaviour on a matchday, on the journey to the stadium and when travelling home. 

Wera said: “I am delighted to see Bath Rugby working alongside the law enforcement agencies to ensure supporter safety on matchdays, and urge them to do all they can to ensure the matchday experience is a safe space for all its supporters and the wider community. By acting together to “Speak Up Interrupt” we can all help tackle violence and harassment towards women and girls.”

Avon and Somerset Police continuing to make the region a hostile environment for perpetrators of sexual harassment

Posted on 30 November 2023, at 09:46 in Campaigns

A member of the public walking with a PCSO down Glastonbury High Street during a 'Walk and Talk'

A Walk and Talk in Glastonbury

The UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence started on Saturday 25 November and runs until 10 December. The annual initiative was created to support and encourage people and organisations to work together to end gender-based violence.

To mark this week of action, we are sharing some of the work we do, throughout the year, to help make our region a safer space for women and girls, and a hostile environment for perpetrators of violence towards them.

Domestic Abuse Matters training

It is vital that domestic abuse victims are confident to reach out to us knowing that they will be believed and given the support they need.

In the last 12 months, over 2,000 officers and staff have received a new training programme called DA Matters, to equip them with better understanding of the ways that perpetrators groom and control their victims and helping them to spot the signs of domestic abuse and how to manage it.

The training programme was designed by domestic abuse charity SafeLives and is helping us to transform our response to domestic abuse, ensuring that the voice of the victim is kept at the centre of domestic abuse cases. This training is still ongoing with more officers and staff due to receive it.

Night-time economy training and engagement

Neighbourhood Policing Teams work year-round with night-time economy venues such as pubs and clubs to provide guidance for managers and staff. This includes advice for how to spot spiking and potential signs of sexual harassment, and how to safely deal with and report it. This guidance is also given to universities in the region as well as the night marshals that help people on busier Friday and Saturday nights in Bristol and Bath.

Partnerships are vital to the work we do, the MAVIS bus (Multi-Agency Vehicle in Service) in North Somerset is a great example of this. Together with ambulance crews, street pastors and North Somerset Council, the bus is used to keep vulnerable people safe on their night out, as well as providing a visible presence to deter any perpetrators from harassment or violence.

Walk and Talk

A trial of the ‘Walk and Talk’ initiative was launched in Somerset this September. The initiative invites women to meet with a female police officer or PCSO to show them areas in which they feel vulnerable or unsafe in their local communities. Officers can then act on this by putting on extra patrols in place or working with partners such as the local council to improve environmental concerns.

To date, 25 Walk and Talks have already taken place or are scheduled in Somerset, and there are plans to expand the initiative throughout the whole of the Avon and Somerset area.

To find out more and sign up to a Walk and Talk, visit


StreetSafe is an online service that allows users to anonymously report environmental concerns in their area such as poor street lighting or overgrown hedges blocking footpaths and behavioural concerns such as being followed or verbal harassment. Officers use this data to come up with solutions such as putting on extra patrols in certain areas or working with partners to improve lighting or install additional CCTV.

In the past 12 months, this service has received 741 reports, which is an increase of over 550% compared to the same period last year (134 reports).

To find out more and submit a StreetSafe report, visit

Online safety

Work is also taking place to increase safety online with our Online Safety for Women and Girls webinars run by our Cybersecurity team.

The team ran 13 Online Safety classes this year, reaching a total of 1090 attendees, with plans to continue this in 2024. One of the main aims of these sessions is to empower individuals to take back control and limit the amount of personal information that is publicly available online. Advice is provided on how to ensure social media and email accounts are set up securely, as well as smart watches and smart devices with location tracking, to ensure that privacy is protected.

Superintendent Jane Wigmore, Tactical VAWG lead (Violence Against Women and Girls) for Avon and Somerset Police, said:“We will be joining organisations and citizens from around the world this week and next to support an end to violence against women and girls. It is encouraging to hear some of the positive stories and conversations taking place, but we know there is still a long way to go.

“In Avon and Somerset, women and girls must be free to live their lives free from fear and harassment, wherever they live, work and travel.

“Although encouraging personal safety is important, it can’t be the whole picture, which is why we are also, in all our operational activity, taking a perpetrator focused approach; looking for ways to create a hostile environment for anyone who considers committing sexual harassment and relentlessly pursuing those that do.” 

“We also know that we can’t solve this issue by working alone; we need our partners and communities to help make our spaces hostile for perpetrators and safer for women and girls.  We’ll also be sharing a series of short films that will give people the confidence and skills to intervene, safely, if they see someone at risk of harassment.”

For Avon and Somerset Police’s Violence Against Women and Girls Framework, visit