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MPs across Party call on Prime Minister to act on women's safety in public spaces, start a national conversation

March 15, 2021 5:53 PM


A group of cross-party MPs led by Wera Hobhouse MP, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Women and Equalities, has written to the Prime Minister to express their concerns about the safety of women and girls in public spaces following the death of Sarah Everard. In recent days, there has been an outpouring on social media from women and girls sharing their own experiences.

The letter states:

"As a group of public representatives, we have heard countless stories over the past week about sexual harassment, violence against women and girls, and assault in public spaces. For many of us these stories are sadly not surprising, having experienced similar situations throughout our lives."

It concludes:

"As Prime Minister we are calling on you to start a national conversation asking everyone - not only women - to think about what they can do to make our public spaces safer. For too long, the conversation has been confined to women's behaviour. It is time to change that narrative. We will only end public sexual harassment by calling it out in all its forms.

"Millions of women and girls, across the UK, are living with a constant state of fear and anxiety when in public. It is time for change."

The full letter and list of signatories is below.

15th March 2020

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to you to express our deep concerns about the threat that women experience in public spaces. As a group of public representatives, we have heard countless stories over the past week about sexual harassment, violence against women and girls, and assault in public spaces. For many of us these stories are sadly not surprising, having experienced similar situations throughout our lives.

Research from UN Women, released earlier this week, shows that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, whilst 80% of women of all ages said they had experienced sexual harassment in public. Furthermore, a YouGov survey suggests that 96% of women do not report incidents to the authorities. 45% said it would not change anything.

As this research so powerfully illustrates, although not all men are perpetrators, almost all women are survivors of this type of incident.

As Prime Minister we are calling on you to start a national conversation asking everyone - not only women - to think about what they can do to make our public spaces safer. For too long, the conversation has been confined to women's behaviour. It is time to change that narrative. We will only end public sexual harassment by calling it out in all its forms.

Millions of women and girls, across the UK, are living with a constant state of fear and anxiety when in public. It is time for change.

Yours sincerely,

Wera Hobhouse, Member of Parliament for Bath, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Women and Equalities

PLUS

Tonia Antoniazzi MP

Paula Barker MP

Steven Bonnar MP

Ian Byrne MP

Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP

Wendy Chamberlain MP

Daisy Cooper MP

Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey MP

Geraint Davies MP

Allan Dorans MP

Tim Farron MP

Dr Stephen Farry MP

Marion Fellows MP

Andrew Gwynne MP

Claire Hanna MP

Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP

Rachel Hopkins MP

Christine Jardine MP

Kim Johnson MP

Barbara Keeley MP

Ben Lake MP

Clive Lewis MP

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP

Siobhain McDonagh MP

Navendu Mishra MP

Gavin Newlands MP

Layla Moran MP

Brendan O'Hara MP

Sarah Olney MP

Kate Osborne MP

Ian Paisley MP

Liz Saville-Roberts MP

Virendra Sharma MP

Tommy Sheppard MP

Jamie Stone MP

Claudia Webbe MP

Dr Philippa Whitford MP

Mick Whitley MP