A government call for evidence - which will help shape an update to the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy - is in its final few weeks.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald is calling on constituents to share their experiences.

The government is has launched a nationwide 'call for evidence' in order to ensure that those who have lived through experiences of abuse and violence, and the views of members of the public are at the heart of plans to stop these harmful crimes.

He said: "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 acts of gender-based violence.

“The government’s strategy needs to reflect the views and experiences of those who have been directly and indirectly affected, in order to stop these harmful and often hidden crimes happening in our society.

“With one month to go until the call for evidence closes, I hope that my constituents will help us to create a strategy to tackle crimes against women and girls in the 21st century.”

The government has recently strengthened the law on crimes such as stalking, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, but there is more to do.

There have already been many responses, shining a sobering light on the prevalence of gender-based violence in our society.

The survey anonymous, and welcomes responses from frontline professionals and academics, victims and survivors, their families and friends and members of the public.

The coronavirus lockdowns saw an increase in calls for help regarding domestic abuse.

Last month, both the Comet and Crow ran a series of articles shining a spotlight on the issue, which revealed there was a 90 per cent increase in the number of Survivors Against Domestic Abuse service users during the first national lockdown

You can participate in the call for evidence by completing the public survey at https://ipsos.uk/VAWGsurvey.

The call to evidence runs until Friday, February 19.