Notice of Opposition Business, 4 November 2020

Motion 2: Let’s make street harassment a crime

This Council is committed to making our Borough a safer place for everyone.

Council notes:

  • Public sexual harassment is the most common form of violence against women and girls, restricting their freedom of movement and expression;
  • That in surveys two-thirds of women and girls report they have faced street harassment in the UK;
  • That street harassment in the UK is not covered by any specific offence, unlike in Portugal, Belgium and France;
  • That stopping street harassment would be a powerful step in tackling inequality and keeping women safe;
  • The incredible work of Our Streets Now, and their petition which has attracted over 200,000 signatures to make street harassment a specific crime;
  • That according to a report by Our Streets Now, only 14 per cent of pupils have been taught about public sexual harassment at school, and that 47 per cent of them would not report an incident of public sexual harassment to their school because they were afraid or feared they would not be taken seriously by staff.

Council recognises:

  • That we must create an environment where street harassment is seen and policed as a crime, and where girls feel safer on our streets;
  • That we need to work together with our schools to ensure that anyone who is harassed will feel confident that their report will be treated with the respect, care and seriousness that is required;
  • That changing the law, and education for our young people, are key planks in combating street harassment, establishing safer streets, and delivering equality.

Council resolves to:

  • Promote the Our Streets Now campaign to make street harassment a crime, and encourage all elected members, and residents to sign the petition;
  • Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Home Secretary to ask her to make street harassment a specific crime;
  • Ask the Chief Executive to write to the three MPs who cover the Borough, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester / Police and Crime Commissioner, to ask them to show their support for this campaign by signing the petition and by lobbying ministers to make street harassment a specific crime;
  • Ask schools, academies and colleges in the Borough to each develop a clear policy on tackling harassment, separate to their bullying policy;
  • Ask local schools to include education around public sexual harassment as part of their PSHE education;
  • Ensure that the recommendations of the Our Schools Now report are communicated to schools with a view to integrating their recommendations into their PSHE teaching

Proposed by Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani

Seconded by Councillor Hazel Gloster