The global level of violence against girls is horrific. All too often rape and violence are used as weapons of war and in many countries discrimination against girls is deeply embedded in the national culture.
In our own country one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence over their lifetimes and on average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner. Statistics which haven’t change for far too many years now.
The estimated total cost of domestic violence to society in monetary terms is £23 billion per annum.
I want girls in my constituency to grow up knowing they won’t face discrimination because of their gender and never fear that violence will be used against them.
We must set an example to young people about why it is important that we continue to fight for gender equality and continue speaking out against violence and discrimination – in our local area, but also across the country and internationally too.
Teenage girls and young women are now the most likely group to be victims of domestic violence, thousands of girls are at risk of FGM and the NUS report a growing number of sexual assaults at university.
I am sorry I cannot be with you in person today to support your campaign as part of the 16 day worldwide campaign of Activism Against Gender Violence. Thank you for taking a stand on this vital issue for women and girls in Sale, the UK and beyond.
Labour MPs will be putting this issue centre stage in our plans for Government. We are committed to:
- New legislation to give better support to victims of violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
- Introducing a new Commissioner of Domestic and Sexual Violence to sit at the heart of Government and ensure victims voices are being heard
- New national standards for policing to drive up performance across the board
- Introducing compulsory sex and relationship education in all state-funded schools, so young people are taught that no form of violence in relationships is acceptable
- A new £3million annual fund for refuges supporting victims of domestic violence
- New FGM Protection Orders to stop children suspected of being at risk of FGM from being taken abroad
We cannot turn a blind eye to this growing violence and I will continue to do all I can in my capacity as a Member of Parliament to end violence against women and girls.