Labour proposes new offences for violence against women and girls

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Labour would create a slew of new offences concerning violence against women and girls, including prohibiting street harassment, making misogyny a hate crime and banning sex-for-rent.

The proposals also include introducing criminal sanctions for tech executives who do not act fast enough to remove misogynistic abuse on their platforms, building on previous proposals from the party to tackle online hate speech.

The party has published its own version of a government green paper to highlight what it says are inadequacies in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill and in the Queen’s speech.

Jess Phillips, the shadow domestic violence and safeguarding minister, said: “The violence that women and girls face is endemic, and no matter how much the government want to paint a picture of it being a rare crime, the figures tell a different story.”

The proposals include tougher sentences for rape, stalking and domestic murder as well as introducing whole-life tariffs for those who rape, abduct and murder a stranger. The minimum tariff introduced for rape would be seven years.

The green paper also proposes removing barriers to legal aid – including to refugees and migrants who may have no recourse to public funds – in cases of domestic violence.

Other proposals include custodial sentences for those who name victims of rape and sexual assault; teacher training to identify and support child victims of domestic abuse; repealing the rape clause for social security claims; and ending the five-week wait for universal credit.

The shadow justice secretary, David Lammy, said it was time to act on the record low conviction rates for sexual violence. “The Conservatives are failing to protect women and girls from violent criminals, which should be one of the first duties of any government,” he said.

Labour has said the government should be held to specific targets to measure progress on male violence, domestic abuse and sexual violence. It proposes a national rollout of the system operating in Wales, where there are 10 national indicators of progress by which the government can be held to account, with a report on its performance for each indicator published each year.

Labour would also create a specific ministerial position with oversight for rape and sexual violence survivors, which would involve the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, the attorney general’s office, and public health departments.