I am deeply concerned about the high statistics that show the level of sexual violence, misogyny and microaggressions faced by women in the UK.
Reports have shown a rise in domestic abuse and reports of rape during the Covid-19 pandemic. Statistics from the 2020/2021 Report by Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) showed almost one in three women will experience domestic abuse, two women a week in England and Wales are killed by a current or former partner, and more than half a million women are raped, or sexually assaulted each year.
In my view, too many women have been left without protection and support.
Despite the Government promising £165 million for domestic abuse support services, campaign groups have estimated the real funding required for a safe and sustainable network of services is £393 million. The Government needs to do more and act swiftly to ensure women feel protected at home and in public.
I am in full support of the Green paper published by the official Opposition on 16 May providing a detailed plan on how to end the epidemic of violence against women and girls. The Ending Violence Against Women Green paper proposes a long-term, whole system response that provides justice and protection for survivors, as well as delivering effective prevention, and the tackling of the social attitudes, inequality and discrimination that underpins the abuse that women and girls face.
The plans embedded in the Green paper would make misogyny a hate crime, toughen existing sentences for perpetrators of rape and stalking, create new specific offences for street sexual harassment, as well as introducing bold measures to reverse record low conviction rates for rape. Our laws must send a strong signal that violence against women and girls will not be tolerated.
Together, we must continue to demand more from the current government and continue the campaign to ensure all victims of violence are seen, supported, and protected.