MORE than 140 arrests were made as part of a regional campaign targeting violence against women and girls.

West Yorkshire Police carried out a number of initiatives during a week of action.

Following the arrests, 53 charges were brought for various offences.

The force introduced a strategy in 2021 for pursuing perpetrators of violence against women and girls, including measures to boost early detection of offending and work with partner organisations to create safe spaces for victims and provide them with more support as they navigate the criminal justice system.

Detective Superintendent Vanessa Rolfe, the West Yorkshire Police lead for tackling violence against women and girls, says the issue is "an absolute priority".

She adds: "Women and girls are disproportionately affected by violence and abuse, which includes rape and sexual offences, domestic abuse, honour-based abuse, and stalking and harassment.

"In addition, they are more likely to be affected by inappropriate contact, catcalling, misogyny, explicit messaging and unwanted touching.

"Any form of violence or inappropriate or unwelcome behaviour against women and girls is unacceptable.

"We focus on this all year round but the week of action gave us the opportunity to put additional emphasis on raising awareness amongst our young people in particular, with educational and student-based events, whilst continuing to tackle offenders and take them off our streets.

"Combating violence against women and girls needs a joint response. The responsibility does not solely sit within policing, and we will continue to work closely with our partners, communities and wider society so people can go about their daily lives without fear of violence or harassment."

Her comments are echoed by Detective Chief Supt Lee Berry, director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership.

He says: "Tackling violence against women and girls has to be a partnership approach, working side by side with our communities to change cultures, attitudes and behaviours.

"This week of action was a great snapshot of our ongoing efforts to make a difference, and we continue to educate and inform young people in West Yorkshire."

West Yorkshire's mayor, Tracy Brabin, says: "Keeping women and girls safe is a key priority in our mission to build a stronger, safer region.

"We are working with police officers and other partners right across West Yorkshire to help achieve this goal.

"Our message is absolutely clear – violence against women and girls is unacceptable and we will bring it to an end."