Police officer appointed to tackle hate crime against women and girls in football - The Solihull Observer

Police officer appointed to tackle hate crime against women and girls in football

Solihull Editorial 16th Mar, 2024   0

WEST Midlands Police has appointed a dedicated women and girls officer as part of its efforts to tackle hate crime in football.

PC Catherine Clinton joined the football unit dedicated to making the game a safer space within the sport – this includes offences against players, officials, fans, police officers and stewards too.

Catherine said: “Despite playing a lot of sport growing up when I was in school, I wasn’t encouraged.

“I feel sport particularly in adolescent years has many positive aspects – it provided me with focus and discipline, kept me on the right path and this is one of the reasons that I’m passionate about making sure it is inclusive for all, and everyone can receive these positive impacts.

“I want to ensure that everybody gets the same opportunity in sport, and especially football.”

A survey carried out in 2023 by Her Game Too – found that 91.9% of the respondent women have seen sexist abuse towards women in football, with 63% having experienced it themselves, and 58% of those women had experience it whilst attending football grounds.

Catherine will work with leads at all the football clubs within the West Midlands, where she will deliver presentations to men’s and women’s teams to raise awareness on how to report offences, and give reassurance that West Midlands Police is taking misogynistic behaviour and offences against women and girls within football seriously.

She said: “I feel that the Lionesses and other female players have been such role models in recent times, and it is our job to capitalise on that, emphasise their influence and ensure women and girls are safe around the sport.

“There has been improvements and we recently had the first ever female referee in the men’s professional game.”

Sergeant Lizzie Lewandowski, of the Football Unit, added: “There is a national focus on violence against women and girls for all police forces and in football, it is increasingly on the agenda following the Safety at Major Sporting Events Inquiry.

“With the appointment of Cat, we hope to build networks both locally and nationally to encourage reporting and ensuring that our females are confident to report any crimes that take place at football.

“We have learnt from the experience of hate crime having a dedicated officer, that it can assist in better supporting victims on a local level and work in partnership with our clubs to influence change on a national level.”


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