North East police chiefs launch domestic abuse strategy
A strategy to tackle violence and abuse against women and children has been launched by police and crime commissioners in north-east England.
Northumbria PCC Vera Baird, Cleveland's Barry Coppinger and Durham's Ron Hogg's plan includes scrutinising case files on failed rape prosecutions.
Other measures include more support being made available for women at work.
The PCCs hope the police rape scrutiny panels will improve evidence-gathering and lead to more convictions.
Other pledges in the plan surround issues including forced marriage, stalking and female genital mutilation.
More than 4,800 violent crimes were recorded against women throughout the region last year, the PCCs said.
Ms Baird said the strategy was designed to "boost and enhance" the work already done by police and other organisations.
"We need to make access to help, access to a route out or access to a solution much more readily available," she said.
Ms Baird said it was "absurd" more was not done to tackle perpetrators.
Mr Coppinger said the strategy introduced a "common approach" across the region and would be more than a "nice booklet on a shelf".
"We've got to use this as a means of making progress," he said.