THE views of East Lancashire women and girls are being sought to help shape government strategy to tackle violence and abuse.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham is urging them to take part in a Whitehall ‘Call for Evidence’.

Nationwide responses will be fed into an updated Violence Against Women and Girls strategy.

Mr Higginbotham said: “We’ve already taken important steps in this area, including strengthening the law on crimes such as stalking, forced marriage and female genital mutilation but there is more to do.

“I know it takes a lot of courage for those who have experienced violence and abuse to come forward, but this information is vital in tackling gender-based violence.

“Our strategy needs to reflect the views and experiences of those who have been affected, in order to stop these harmful and often hidden crimes happening.

“Crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls range from rape and FGM to upskirting and online offences. They can have terrible effects on victims and we want to do all we can to tackle these appalling crimes.

“With one month to go until the call closes on February 19, I’d ask all residents to help create a strategy to tackle crimes against women and girls fit for the 21st century.”