Britain Introduces Measures to Curb Street Harassment and Violence Against Women

LONDON — The British authorities on Wednesday unveiled proposals to curb the harassment of ladies on the streets, a part of a wider crackdown on violence that comes months after a nationwide outcry over the homicide of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped whereas strolling residence this 12 months.

The plan was formed by 180,000 testimonies from survivors of abuse and different members of the general public, principally delivered within the months after Ms. Everard’s dying. Ms. Everard, a 33-year-old advertising and marketing government, went lacking as she walked residence from a pal’s home in South London round 9:30 p.m. in early March. Her physique was later discovered a number of miles from the home of a London police officer who pleaded responsible in her kidnapping, rape and homicide. He’s anticipated to be sentenced in September.

The proposals for England and Wales, which is able to come into impact within the coming months, embody funding for an app for girls and ladies to document streets the place they really feel unsafe and specify why, corresponding to a scarcity of lighting or surveillance cameras. Police will then work with group leaders to enhance security in these areas, the federal government mentioned.

A course of has additionally been arrange for girls to report verbal or bodily harassment they face on public transportation, a authorities spokeswoman mentioned.

The federal government may even present funding for packages aimed toward defending ladies at bars and nightclubs, corresponding to a program that may assign plainclothes cops to patrol such venues. The federal government may even look into the usage of nondisclosure agreements in instances of sexual harassment in larger training. Critics say nondisclosure agreements have enabled abusers to silence their victims.

Priti Patel, Britain’s residence secretary, mentioned that she didn’t settle for that violence towards ladies and ladies was inevitable.

“I’m decided to provide the police the powers they should crack down on perpetrators and perform their duties to guard the general public while offering victims with the care and assist they deserve,” she mentioned in a press release on Wednesday.

Some questioned whether or not the measures can be sufficient. Ms. Everard had taken precautions the night time she disappeared: She was strolling down a well-lit avenue and had trainers on.

Ladies’s Support, a British charity that helps survivors of abuse, mentioned the federal government ought to do extra to deal with violence within houses. The group mentioned the British police obtain a name each minute about home violence, and 9 out of 10 of these calls are from ladies being abused by males.

Sophie Francis-Cansfield, the coverage supervisor at Ladies’s Support, mentioned the federal government’s proposal was too slim.

“It doesn’t ship something significantly radical, and it doesn’t deal with these root causes of inequality that ladies and ladies face,” she mentioned.

Public harassment is only one kind of misogynist and sexist conduct that ladies face, mentioned Ms. Francis-Cansfield, who known as on the federal government to raised assist group teams which can be working to cease violence towards ladies.

Public anger over violence towards ladies and ladies in Britain, and a scarcity of presidency response, has escalated in latest months. Authorities ministers apologized in June after a evaluate discovered that the legal justice system had failed 1000’s of rape and sexual assault victims. The evaluate reported a 59 p.c drop in rape prosecutions in England and Wales up to now six years, even because the variety of reported rapes almost doubled in that point.

And that’s simply reported rapes. The federal government estimates that solely 20 p.c of rapes are reported to the police.

The federal government mentioned the brand new measures to fight the harassment of ladies would complement initiatives already laid out to toughen sentences for rapists and enhance safety for victims.

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