Full picture of violence against women needed, says former chief superintendent

Full picture of violence against women needed, says former chief superintendent

By Gareth Dennison | 01/12/2021

Full picture of violence against women needed, says former chief superintendent

SOUTH Yorkshire Police’s new lead for strategic lead for violence against women and girls says building a full picture of the issue is top of her to-do list.

Natalie Shaw, a former chief superintendent with the force, said it was when her daughter began going to pubs and clubs that the reality of the problem really hit home.

The officer retired in 2019 but has rejoined SYP in the new role, set up as the nation is still reeling from the murders of women including Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

“I was chatting to my friends and we realised that we had all been sexually assaulted within our lifetime,” said Natalie.

“We had accepted it as part of growing up. I don’t want that same experience for my daughter, or for my daughter’s daughters. I accepted what happened to me, but I will not accept that for her.”

Natalie — mum to a 23-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter — joined the police straight from school in 1989 and ended up specialising in protecting vulnerable people.

“There’s a reason women go to the toilet in pairs,” she said. “There’s a reason why I tell my daughter to put her finger over bottle tops in clubs, why I tell her to stay on the phone during a taxi journey until she makes it home safely, why I tell her to walk the longer route home with the better lighting.

“I didn’t have any of those conversations with my son when he was the same age.”

The first item on Natalie’s to-do list is to continue building up a true understanding of violence against women and girls in South Yorkshire.

Alongside this, she will develop a plan to deliver and implement the national strategy to tackle the issue, covering such aspects as domestic abuse, stalking and harassment, forced marriage, rape and serious sexual offences, so-called honour-based violence and female genital mutilation.

Natalie said: “We have got to get the answers, work with partners, victims, and communities. Not all of this is a policing issue, it’s a society issue.

“We in the police are a thread that runs through a lot of that and we need to make sure we play our part. We just need to understand it first.

“It’s not all men, but it is all women. It’s not that every man is going to attack a woman, but every woman does have to think about which way she walks home.

“I want to play my part in beginning to change that, for my daughter and for all women in South Yorkshire.”



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