Government seeks views on tackling violence against women and girls

The Government is seeking further views on how to tackle violence against women and girls following an outpouring of experiences shared online in response to the Sarah Everard case.

The Home Office is reopening a public consultation which will help inform its tackling violence against women and girls strategy.

This is due to be published in the summer.

The initial call for evidence was open for 10 weeks between December 10 and February 19, and an online survey forming part of this has received more than 15,000 responses from across the UK.

The Government is seeking responses from anyone over 16, including people who have experienced violence, those who work with survivors and relevant professionals.

Among multiple areas of focus, it is understood officials are considering a proposal for legislation to protect women against public sexual harassment.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “While an awful incident like this is incredibly rare, it is worrying because it reminds women everywhere of the steps we all take on a daily basis, without a second thought, to keep ourselves safe.

“So many of you have bravely shared your own experiences of harassment, abuse and violence online over recent days, so today I am reopening our nationwide call for views on tackling violence against women and girls. The Government is listening.

“Everyone should be free to walk our streets without the slightest fear. With Sarah and her family in my thoughts and prayers, I will continue to do all I can in my role as Home Secretary to protect women and girls.”

Women’s Aid said it had been concerned that the initial consultation period, much of which fell throughout the third lockdown, would “limit the ability” of survivors and local services to respond.

Lucy Hadley, head of campaigns and policy, said: “Whilst it is good to see a longer timeframe, the call for evidence has not been accessible to all survivors – particularly deaf and disabled women, those with insecure immigration status and language support needs.

“We remain highly disappointed that there is still no change to the Government’s plan to separate domestic abuse from this strategy, a decision which will put the response to all forms of violence towards women and girls into reverse.

“We urge the Government to listen to the voices of all survivors in this process, and deliver a strategy which protects and supports all women.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times | UK News