MPs demand new offence to stamp out street harassment

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TURSDAY MAY 12 File photo dated 10/09/18 of Labour MP Stella Creasy who has revealed that she was threatened with gang rape during a two-year campaign of sexual harassment at Cambridge University. Picture date: Thursday May 12, 2022. PA Photo. The Walthamstow MP said college authorities "admonished" her instead of punishing the abusers when she made the complaint after running for a student council role at Magdalene College in the 1990s. She said a culture of "privilege and entitlement" is behind the string of allegations of misconduct that politicians have been sharing, and warned it is not unique to Parliament. See PA story POLITICS Creasy. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

NINE million women a year experience street harassment every year with campaigners demanding a new offence to stamp it out.

Protections to strengthen the  rules would ensure those who abuse women can’t claim their behaviour was a compliment or the victim  wanted to hear the remarks.

Labour MP Stella Creasy is calling on Liz Truss to make street harassment illegal

Labour MP Stella Creasy is calling on Liz Truss to bring her proposals into law following pledges during the leadership election in the summer.

She said: “Liz Truss promised to crack down on street harassment when she wanted to get elected as Prime Minister.

“These amendments are her chance to show those words during the Tory leadership contest meant something.

“And to show those who hassle women but claim a defence of ‘I thought she would enjoy it’ will find no friend in her.’

Creasy hopes the government will either accept her amendments or the Commons will vote for them when the Public Order Bill is debated tomorrow.

She added:  “For years now police and campaigners have been pushing for legislation to give women and girls equal protection from abuse and hatred – these figures show the scale of the abuse so many face.

“We have seen time and time again the urgency of identifying and stopping these perpetrators before they escalate to even more serious crimes.

“With the scale of harm clearly evident we can’t keep making women, and especially those from minorities who are repeatedly targeted, wait for action when there is agreement across parliament on the need to act.”

The Prime Minister vowed to make street harassment a standalone crime in her leadership campaign to clampdown on “aggressive and misogynistic behaviour”.

 A Home Office Spokesperson said:  “Tackling violence against women and girls remains one of our top priorities.

“That’s why we have already carried out a targeted consultation on whether there should be a specific public sexual harassment offence, and what it should look like. We must now carefully consider those responses before taking further decisions.”