This week, Labour held an opposition day on the issue of violence against women. There is a clear consensus that the Government must do more to tackle this issue. In the debate, I called on them to address institutional misogyny in policing, reverse cuts to specialist services for survivors and ensure boys aren’t learning the wrong lessons in school and from culture more widely.
In this week’s debate, I paid tribute to my constituent Sarah Everard, who was murdered by a serving police officer a year ago this week. I argued that women must be able to trust in the Police and the Police still have a long way to go to rebuild this trust. We will not tackle violence against women until we address the institutional misogyny and culture of impunity among the people who are supposed to be prosecuting it.
It is impossible to discuss this issue without discussing the service cuts that have been disproportionately shouldered by women over the last twelve years. If the Tories were serious about tackling violence against women and girls, they would be reversing their own cuts to specialist services for survivors. But they aren’t and they’re not.
While the causes of violence against women are far-ranging and complex, I still believe prevention is better than cure. That’s why we should be putting a greater emphasis on education and instilling a culture of care and consent in our schools. Indeed, half of school pupils reported receiving no sex education during lockdown, whilst exposure to misogyny online only increased.
We desperately need to get a handle on Incel culture, which seems to be indoctrinating so many young men online. I urged the Government to put greater duties on social media companies to tackle this and take content down to stop more men falling down the Incel rabbit hole.
These are just some of the things we need to do if we are going to start to rid our society of violence against women.