#GE2017 - Party leaders asked for commitment to end violence against women and girls

Women’s groups call for tax credits ‘rape clause’ axe, proper funding for support services, and pledge to maintain women’s rights beyond Brexit.

Women's 'manifesto' launched & toolkit for contacting local candidates

Stubbornly high levels of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, forced marriage and FGM require every candidate’s attention

EVAW urges supporters to use Toolkit to locate and contact candidates: General Election Activist Guide for Ending VAWG 8 June 2017

A broad coalition of women’s groups has today (10 May) written to party leaders asking in detail about what they will do if elected to end all forms of violence against women and girls, as it published its own ‘Priorities for Government’ and called on supporters to press their local candidates for commitments.

Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said:

“In recent years the reality of abuse of women and girls in the UK has become clear – we now know that there are more than a million domestic violence incident calls to the police every year, and we have seen the trials of gangs of men for the organised abuse of vulnerable girls. Young Black women have led the campaign to expose and get effective action to end FGM.

“These issues are no longer “behind closed doors”. Times have changed and many women and men demand that the Government make a high priority of ending and preventing this abuse in the first place.

“This means an overhaul of the police and courts response, stopping welfare policy like the rape clause, making sure GPs and hospital workers know how to detect and respond to abuse, and the best Relationships and Sex Education in our schools.

“And it also means – as a matter of great urgency – ending the postcode lottery and ensuring that every woman who needs support – for danger she is in now, or to help recover from abuse many years ago – can get it.

“As Brexit looms, we need to hear from party leaders and every candidate during this election that action in this area remains a priority, and that there will be no roll back of our rights to protection.”

The End Violence Against Women Coalition has written to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, Theresa May and Angus Robertson asking them:

  • If elected, would your Government ensure that women and girls’ rights are protected during Brexit negotiations? This means that the many advances in equality and human rights law which benefit women in the UK are protected.
  • If elected, will you improve the way the criminal justice system handles these crimes – including acting urgently to stop the use of victim-blaming sexual history, and ensuring all women have access to legal aid and advocacy for as long as they need it?
  • If elected, will you ensure that every woman and girl at risk can get the support she needs, whether it be crisis accommodation, counselling for abuse that happened many years ago or legal advocacy and advice?
  • If elected, will you make it a priority for all public services, especially the health service, schools and the welfare system, to play their part in tackling abuse? This means health workers being trained not to miss abuse; stopping welfare rules which stigmatise women, such as the rape clause; asylum and immigration systems which do not deter women from seeking protection; and schools delivering the best possible Relationships and Sex Education.

The EVAW coalition has produced a guide for supporters, which gives information on how voters can ask their candidates to commit to pledge to work to end violence against women and girls.

Rachel Krys continued:

“These issues are life and death and they should be a priority for everyone who is standing for election. Despite countless scandals, inquiries and reviews, violence against women and girls still blights lives and prevents women from living full and free lives.”

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