Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

I have received correspondence regarding sexual harassment and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

I agree that sexual harassment of women and girls, including in public places, is totally unacceptable. No one should be forced to change the way they live to avoid harassment and abuse. 

Over recent days, many women have come forward and shared their stories online. These accounts are both disturbing and shocking. Nobody should be in fear of walking the streets, be that through intimidation, harassment or violence.

The Government has announced that the Safer Streets Fund will be doubled in size to crack down on neighbourhood crimes and provide further re-assurances for women and girls. The Government has also announced it will roll out pilots of ‘Project Vigilant’ across the UK, previously tried in the Thames Valley Police area, to ensure women are safe in the night-time economy.

It is good news that the Home Secretary has appointed Nimco Ali as an Independent Adviser on Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls. Nimco Ali will advise the Home Secretary and other ministers on the government’s new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. It is welcome that Ministers will be bringing forward the new strategy this year. 

I also welcome the new Voyeurism (Offences) Act, which criminalises the reprehensible behaviour of upskirting. There can now be no doubt that this activity is criminal and will not be tolerated. For the most serious offences, this law will ensure that the offender is also placed on the sex offenders register.

There is, of course, always more work to do and I will be paying close attention to the important work which is underway.