Policy

Ending domestic violence and other forms of violence against women and girls

Labour's record of leadership and achievement speaks volumes about our commitment to ending gender-based violence and promoting equality. My own record complements this and will help to support our continued work if we win in May 2015.

From the Sex Discrimination Act and Equal Pay Act in the 1970s to the Equalities Act 2010, we've led the way on equality.

Along the way Labour has led the way to change through our role in local councils and in parliament even when in opposition. We've always worked with NGOs like Women's Aid where I worked in the 1990s. Whilst I was Women's Aid National Children's Officer our partnerships with Labour politicians such as Jean Corston and Paul Boateng meant we could secure protection for victims and their children in the 1996 Family Law Act, reforming civil injunctions.

In the last Labour government the inspirational leadership of women like Jacqui Smith, Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper brought in reforms to the law on sexual consent, helping thousands of victims of rape and sexual assault, and changes to the law on domestic violence and homicide which gave survivors and their children more protection. Under Labour we also saw the pioneering approach of tackling all forms of violence against women and girls. This meant a broader approach to a huge problem. It gave local authorities powers to limit so-called "sexual entertainment venues" - and some Labour councils have used this to make their cities completely free of these establishments, thus helping to reduce the climate of sexualisation of women and girls which supports violence. It also meant work tackling female genital mutilation (FGM) and the sexual abuse of children.

At Respect I've also been part of developing specific, appropriate help and support for male victims and interventions working with women who use partner abuse. I'll be bringing that experience with me as well - along with colleagues like Purna Sen and Jess Phillips, standing as Labour candidates in Brighton Pavilion and Birmingham Yardley, who both have years of experience in this work.

With the continued leadership of Labour women we are going to do more under the next Labour government. If we win in May 2015, amongst other things we will:

  • Bring in compulsory sex and relationships education - and if you elect me you will be electing one of the pioneers of this form of domestic violence prevention and someone who has worked with adults who could have been prevented from abusing if they'd had this at school.
  • Introduce national standards for responses to domestic violence - and if you elect me, you will be electing someone with practical experience of doing this for work with perpetrators, in my role at Respect. I've also helped to set the groundwork for Respect to develop standards for responses to women using violence and for male victims. 
  • Establish a domestic violence commissioner and the country's first minister for preventing violence against women - and if you elect me, you will be electing someone with a quarter of a century of experience and knowledge to help them.  

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