Sadiq Khan To Campaign For Sexual Harassment In Public Places To Become A Crime

Olivia Blair
·2-min read
Photo credit: Ming Yeung - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ming Yeung - Getty Images

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled a new strategy for tackling violence against women and girls in London.

The announcement - made at a pharmacy in Newham where staff have been trained to provide a safe space for women at risk of domestic violence - comes a month after calls for tackling gender-based violence amplified following the alleged murder of Sarah Everard in south London.

Khan's manifesto - to be implemented if he is re-elected after the mayoral elections on May 6 - will build on his London's Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and includes a campaign to make sexual harassment in public places a crime.

Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images
Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS - Getty Images

Khan, who describes himself as a 'proud feminist', has indicated that his manifesto will put an onus on men and perpetrators, rather than women.

'It breaks my heart that so many women and girls do not feel safe in our country on a daily basis,' Khan said in a statement. 'And let’s be honest - these problems are caused by the unacceptable attitudes and behaviours of men.

'The problem is not just with the minority of men who are violent, the problem is also with those men who are sexist, continue to behave inappropriately around women, perpetuate a toxic form of masculinity or just stand by silently when women feel threatened or are being threatened. Men simply must change.

'I promise to spearhead the change we desperately need to see in the way women and girls are treated in every single part of our society and at all ages.'

Photo credit: Leon Neal - Getty Images
Photo credit: Leon Neal - Getty Images

Pledges include investment in programmes to reform domestic abusers, advocate for relationships education in schools and work with the Metropolitan police to improve victim support services and dwindling conviction rates for rape and abuse and encourage more women to come forward.

Khan will also allocate resources to ensuring that women feel safer while out in London, particularly at night, including safer, well-lit routes for women to walk and cycle on.

Following, the disappearance and alleged murder of Everard - who first went missing while walking home from a friend's house in the Clapham area of London at 9pm on March 3 - movements and rallies were held by women and men demanding that women should feel safe to be able to walk home by themselves, reminding politicians, the police and the public of the links between gender inequality and violence against women.

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