Britain Introduces Measures to Curb Street Harassment and Violence Against Women

LONDON — The British authorities on Wednesday unveiled proposals to curb the harassment of ladies on the streets, a part of a wider crackdown on violence that comes months after a nationwide outcry over the homicide of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped whereas strolling residence this yr.

The plan was formed by 180,000 testimonies from survivors of abuse and different members of the general public, largely delivered within the months after Ms. Everard’s loss of life. Ms. Everard, a 33-year-old advertising govt, went lacking as she walked residence from a pal’s home in South London round 9:30 p.m. in early March. Her physique was later discovered a number of miles from the home of a London police officer who pleaded responsible in her kidnapping, rape and homicide. He is predicted to be sentenced in September.

The proposals for England and Wales, which is able to come into impact within the coming months, embody funding for an app for girls and women to document streets the place they really feel unsafe and specify why, comparable to a scarcity of lighting or surveillance cameras. Police will then work with group leaders to enhance security in these areas, the federal government mentioned.

A course of has additionally been arrange for girls to report verbal or bodily harassment they face on public transportation, a authorities spokeswoman mentioned.

The authorities may also present funding for packages aimed toward defending ladies at bars and nightclubs, comparable to a program that may assign plainclothes law enforcement officials to patrol such venues. The authorities may also look into using nondisclosure agreements in circumstances of sexual harassment in increased training. Critics say nondisclosure agreements have enabled abusers to silence their victims.

Priti Patel, Britain’s residence secretary, mentioned that she didn’t settle for that violence towards ladies and women was inevitable.

“I am determined to give the police the powers they need to crack down on perpetrators and carry out their duties to protect the public whilst providing victims with the care and support they deserve,” she mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday.

Some questioned whether or not the measures could be sufficient. Ms. Everard had taken precautions the evening she disappeared: She was strolling down a well-lit road and had trainers on.

Women’s Aid, a British charity that helps survivors of abuse, mentioned the federal government ought to do extra to tackle violence inside properties. The group mentioned the British police obtain a name each minute about home violence, and 9 out of 10 of these calls are from ladies being abused by males.

Sophie Francis-Cansfield, the coverage supervisor at Women’s Aid, mentioned the federal government’s proposal was too slim.

“It doesn’t deliver anything particularly radical, and it doesn’t address those root causes of inequality that women and girls face,” she mentioned.

Public harassment is only one kind of misogynist and sexist habits that ladies face, mentioned Ms. Francis-Cansfield, who known as on the federal government to higher assist group teams which can be working to cease violence towards ladies.

Public anger over violence towards ladies and women in Britain, and a scarcity of presidency response, has escalated in current months. Government ministers apologized in June after a evaluation discovered that the prison justice system had failed hundreds of rape and sexual assault victims. The evaluation reported a 59 % drop in rape prosecutions in England and Wales up to now six years, even because the variety of reported rapes almost doubled in that point.

And that’s simply reported rapes. The authorities estimates that solely 20 % of rapes are reported to the police.

The authorities mentioned the brand new measures to fight the harassment of ladies would complement initiatives already laid out to toughen sentences for rapists and improve safety for victims.