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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Marsanu

CYW Statement on Violence Against Women and Girls, Party Conference 2021

As young women, the deaths of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Nicole Smallman and countless others have hit us hard – many of us feel unsafe and all of us are sad and angry that the epidemic of violence against women and girls has been left unaddressed for so long.

Every one of us has thought to ourselves “that could have been me”.

This Conservative Party Conference we call on all political leaders, at national and local level, to ensure that Violence Against Women and Girls remains top of the political agenda, even when it is no longer headline news. We expect to see urgent action taken to stop preventable violence against women and girls.

The response of the police has been deplorable – from the overzealous policing of Sarah Everard’s vigil, to public statements which effectively blame victims. The failure of police forces across the country to recognise their need to reform should be concerning for us all, men and women. We join with cross-party colleagues and campaigners in calling for the following:

- All police forces should immediately ensure that plain clothes police officers work in pairs, at least, and that arrests should not be conducted by solo plain clothes police officers

- Any police officer under investigation for misogyny or violence towards women should have their warrant card removed and be confined to desk duties

- Any police officer found guilty of violence towards women should be dismissed

- A thorough investigation into why Wayne Couzens was not arrested for indecent exposure, followed by meaningful reforms to ensure swifter action in similar cases in the future

- A review into the apparent culture of misogyny in the police, the sharing of images of victims, and why a serving police officer nicknamed “the rapist” by his fellow officers was not investigated for inappropriate behaviour

We stand ready to urgently work with colleagues and campaigners from all parties and backgrounds to deliver the change we so badly need. More than eighty women have been killed by men since Sarah Everard’s murder – we deserve better.

Ella Robertson McKay & CYW Committee

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