Sutton Motion - Violence against women and girls

According to national crime statistics in the UK, on average one woman is killed by a man every three days.

Council notes:

1. Sexual violence, sexual harassment, and domestic abuse remain endemic in our society, highlighted most recently by the appalling murders of Sabina Nessa, Sarah Everard and sisters Bibba Henry and Nicole Smallman:

  • According to national crime statistics in the UK, on average one woman is killed by a man every three days.
  • A 2021 YouGov national survey on behalf of UN Women UK found that among women aged 18-24, 97 per cent said they had been sexually harassed, while 80 per cent of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces.
  • A recent OFSTED review into sexual harassment in schools has found that sexual harassment, including online sexual abuse, has become ‘normalised’ for children and young people.
  • The ONS reported that last year alone 618,000 women were victims of a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault by a man.
  • The Government’s End-to-End Rape Review found that only 1.6 per cent of rape cases brought to the police result in a charge.

2. Those from minority backgrounds experience domestic abuse disproportionately:

  • ONS figures for 2019 show that disabled women were more than twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than non-disabled women.
  • LGBT+ people are significantly more likely to experience domestic abuse, with 13 percent of bisexual women facing intimate partner abuse in 2019/20, according to Stonewall.
  • In 2019, 60 per cent of UK police forces admitted referring victims of crime to the Home Office for immigration purposes, harming migrant women.

3. White Ribbon UK is the leading charity with a mission to end male violence against women and part of the global White Ribbon movement which arose from a campaign started by men in Canada in 2004:

  • They mark White Ribbon Day annually on 25th November, the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women, by encouraging men and boys to pledge never to take part in, condone or stay silent about violence against women and to make this by wearing a white ribbon on the day and a week or two afterwards.
  • White Ribbon UK operate a system of male Ambassadors, female Champions and Youth Advocates, as well as having specific materials to support primary and secondary schools, all with the aim of encouraging men to take the pledge and help to eradicate male violence against women.

4. That hate crime particularly directed against minority groups and the LGBTQ Community have increased dramatically caused in part by increases in transphobic rhetoric in the public domain.

Council believes:

  • Male violence against women and girls is part of a broader culture of misogyny in society.
  • Perpetrators of serious violence usually have a history of inflicting abuse and harassment
  • against other women and girls. Tackling violence against women and girls means
  • dismantling this culture.
  • It also means tackling other forms of discrimination and the economic system that further
  • enables abuse against women and girls.
  • Sustained cuts to all elements of the justice system, as well as institutional misogyny mean
  • that crimes against women and girls that are reported are not effectively investigated.
  • More focus should be placed on changing men's behaviour than on women taking action to make themselves safer.
  • That transphobia has become more commonplace under the cover of ‘protecting women’s spaces’.
  • That transphobia, homophobia, misogyny and all forms of hate crime have no place in modern society.

Council calls on:

The Leader of the Council to write to the Home Secretary and Prime Minister:

  • Demanding an urgent Royal Commission into male violence against women and urging them to immediately declare misogyny to be a hate crime.
  • For public sexual harassment to be made a crime, as was originally indicated in the Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) consultation.
  • To take all necessary action to immediately address the backlog in the courts and put in place the funding required so in future the criminal justice system deals with cases promptly to ensure victims get justice and move on with their lives and the rehabilitation of criminals begins sooner.
  • Increase investment in victims’ services including in particular, refuges, mental health services and legal aid support for all victims of male violence.
  • The Leader of the Council to write to the Mayor for London urging him to make women’s safety a priority by swiftly reinstating the Night Tube, Night Overground and Night Buses to full service capacity.

Council therefore resolves to:

  • Encourage all male councillors to take the White Ribbon pledge, never to take part in, condone or stay silent about violence against women
  • Continue to work towards White Ribbon accreditation, joining the large number of public sector bodies which have already done so; and
  • As part of this, mark White Ribbon Day on 25 November each year and encourage participation among councillors, council staff and local primary and secondary schools.
  • Work with our partners in the LGBTQ Community and Stop Hate UK to produce a Transphobia Hate Crime awareness plan