In My View: Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea

The safety of women and girls is important to my constituents in Battersea.

That’s why one of my priorities continues to be promoting community safety and creating a safe environment for women and girls.

Successive Conservative governments have failed to adequately tackle the scourge of violence against women and girls over their 13 years in government.

The prevalence of sexual violence, abuse and harassment remains very high, and women are disproportionately impacted.

In recent years, we have seen the tragic kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard so close to home on Clapham Common, and the murders of Sabina Nessa, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman and many other women in London.

Police recorded rape and sexual offences are at record highs in England and Wales with a record 70,633 rapes reported in the year ending September 2022.

Prosecutions and convictions have sunk with only 2,616 rape case resulting in charges in the same period.

A report by Rape Crisis found a record high backlog of 7,859 sexual offence cases, and 1,851 adult rape cases in Crown courts.

In March 2021, research published by the APPG on UN Women, found that 71p er cent of all women in the UK had experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public space.

That number rose to 86 per cent among 18-24-year-olds.

These shocking statistics indicate the cost of inaction.

I am proud that Labour is committed to ending violence, misogyny, harassment, and abuse faced by many women through increasing the minimum sentences for rapists and stalkers, making misogyny a hate crime, introducing a new street sexual harassment offence to protect women everywhere, creating specialist rape units in every police force area and put domestic abuse specialists in every 999-control room.

In London, the Mayor has launched the Women’s Night Safety Charter which has found widespread uptake in London’s nightlife sector, including many businesses in Battersea.

I have also recently consulted with many businesses, local organisations, and the local police about community safety and held a walk and talk with young people on Wandsworth Common where we spoke about the changes they would like to see.

In response, I will be launching a “Safe Spaces” campaign in collaboration with the local police and Wandsworth council.

My initiative will call on businesses in Battersea to commit to providing a safe place for women and girls.

The initiative is prompted by the acknowledgement that addressing gendered violence isn’t just a women’s issue, but a goal that should concern us all.

We all have a responsibility to make our communities safe and inclusive for women and girls in Battersea.

Together, we can conclusively end violence against women and girls.

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