The survey wants to hear about experiences of women and girls as being victims of harassment, sexual and violent crime.
The online survey will run for six weeks and opened yesterday (Thursday, November 25) to mark White Ribbon Day and the start of a global 16 days of activity against gender-based violence.
This comes as a way for Sussex Police to engage with local communities on this issue, to better understand lived experiences, and enhance work already underway.
Detective chief superintendent Steve Rayland, head of the Public Protection Command, said, “We have chosen this important day to reach out and seek the experiences of everyone, particularly women and girls, to help us do better to prevent and detect such crimes and keep everyone safe.
“We know that crimes including harassment and sexual offences are under-reported and this anonymous survey will provide an up-to-date snapshot that improves our understanding of why, and how best, the police and other agencies in Sussex can provide support, keep people safe and target perpetrators
“We already have comprehensive plans in place to tackle violence against women and girls in Sussex and we enjoy really strong partnerships with local authorities, victim services, and charities, working together to seek to address the root causes of gender inequality.
“But it is clear that in the police service we must do more, and must consider doing some things differently. This survey will give us a valuable steer on experiences that people have had and how we can adapt our work to respond more effectively.
“It is part of a wider programme of targeted engagement to ensure we hear views from a cross-section of the community across Sussex. This too will feed into our operational response.”
This survey follows news that Katy Bourne, the police and crime commissioner for Sussex, has been awarded £300,000 from the Safety of Women at Night Fund. The money will be used to fund extra police patrols at night time to deter violence and provide a clear contact point for women and girls at risk. Training will also be provided to businesses open at night on how they can help to reduce risk and create safe spaces for women.
PCC Bourne said, “I know from my own surveys and regular correspondence with members of the public that they want to see more being done to help women and girls in our county to feel safe.
“I will also soon be launching our Do the Right Thing campaign which will help men to recognise misogyny and sexual harassment and encourage them to call out these behaviours whenever they see them.
“Every resident deserves to feel safe in our county so I’m pleased that violence against women and girls is a topic which Sussex Police is taking seriously. I will be interested to see the results of their new survey and will be monitoring what changes are made as a result.”