20 Jul Government to announce plans to tackle violence against women and girls including 24/7 rape and assault helpline | UK News
The government will announce plans to better protect women and girls on the street, at home and online on Wednesday following growing safety concerns.
Home Secretary Priti Patel will confirm to MPs that the government will create a new national policing lead to improve the response times to crimes involving violence against women.
The proposals also set out a commitment to appoint two “Violence Against Women and Girls Transport Champions” which the government says will “tackle the problems faced by female passengers on public transport” and to commission a 24/7 rape and sexual assault helpline.
The strategy will also seek to criminalise the practice of so-called virginity testing.
And the Department for Education will work with the Office for Students to tackle sexual harassment and abuse in higher education.
The review is published after the government’s rape review revealed dire conviction rates for the crime, despite the number of reported cases increasing.
It also comes four months after the death of Sarah Everard who was murdered near Clapham Common in March.
Ms Everard’s death prompted mass protests regarding the safety of women on the streets.
The home secretary said the safety of women and girls is an “absolute priority” for her.
“The safety of women and girls across the country, wherever they are, is an absolute priority for me,” she said.
“It is unacceptable that women and girls are still subject to harassment, abuse, and violence, and I do not accept that violence against women and girls is inevitable.
“I am determined to give the police the powers they need to crack down on perpetrators and carry out their duties to protect the public whilst providing victims with the care and support they deserve.
“This strategy, shaped by the responses of those who bravely came forward and shared their stories and experiences, will deliver real and lasting change.”
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins is due to make a statement on the government’s strategy for tackling violence against women and girls on Wednesday evening in the Commons.
But shadow home office minister Jess Phillips accused the government of “dragging their feet” on the matter.
“The services and support required to end violence against women and girls cannot run on warm words alone,” she said.
“How are we in a situation where we have better protections for statues than for women?
“Labour has set out a wealth of proposals to tackle Violence Against Women’s and Girls but the Tories are dragging their feet. The government should step up to the plate and take action rather than more warm words.”