National Policing Lead for Violence and Public Protection Chief Constable Dave Whatton said:
"Tackling violence against women and girls is a clear priority for chief officers. It can take many forms and all are taken seriously by the police service.
"Over the past 6 years a significant amount of progress has been made to improve our response to stalking so that we can safeguard and protect victims. We have focused on improving the understanding and responsiveness of frontline officers to stalking, raising public awareness and encouraging victims to report to the police, and working with other agencies in the criminal justice system to protect victims and to intervene early to prevent offending.
"To provide a victim focused response to rape investigations, there have been significant improvements in the specialist training of officers, the use of early evidence kits, greater access to sexual assault referral centres, and increased partnership working with support groups.
"Our understanding of child abuse and our ability to investigate and safeguard children, as well investigating reports of abuse that took place many years ago, has increased a huge amount in recent years. A national action plan to tackle child sexual exploitation is helping to ensure that all forces are meeting a high standard in tackling this crime.
"Our investment in specialist officers, training call handlers to better assess risks and building working partnerships with a multitude of organisations has also greatly improved our response to domestic violence.
"A particular challenge is female genital mutilation, we are working with the Crown Prosecution Service to identify victims and build cases for prosecutors to take forward.
"There is more to do and we are working with partners, such as the College of Policing, and piloting new approaches and initiatives to prevent women and girls suffering abuse."