Coalition demand political leaders legislate to end violence against women and girls

A coalition of women’s groups has written to political leaders asking what they will do to end violence against women and girls if they win the General Election.

The UK-wide coalition of more than 90 women’s organisations is calling for legislation to protect all women from domestic abuse.

They want decisive action on the crisis in rape justice, proper funding for support services, and a duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment.

Sarah Green (pictured), director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said voters need to hear from party leaders and every candidate during the election that action in this area remains a priority.

She said: “Issues relating to the abuse and violence experienced by women and girls are no longer ‘behind closed doors’.

“Times have changed and many women and men demand that the Government make a high priority of ending and preventing this abuse in the first place.”

In their letter to the leaders, including the Prime Minister, the coalition said: “Violence against women and girls is not inevitable, but it is enduring because it relates to women’s persistent inequality.

“This election is taking place at a time of crisis in the criminal justice response to rape – even though more women than ever are coming forward to report to the police, just 1.5% of cases are being prosecuted.

“Domestic abuse homicides are at their highest level for five years, reports of sexual harassment are reaching epidemic levels in our workplaces and education institutions, and many women MPs are leaving political careers citing online abuse and threats of violence against them as factors.

“These issues are deeply related and require urgent action by an incoming government.”

The letters have been sent to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson, Sian Berry, Jonathan Bartley, Ian Blackford and Liz Saville-Roberts.

Ms Green added: “These issues are life and death and they should be a priority for everyone who is standing for election.

“Despite countless scandals, inquiries and reviews, violence against women and girls still blights lives and prevents women from living full and free lives.”

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