Government failing to tackle violence against women, says Jess Phillips | Violence against women and girls

The nation has undergone huge cultural change round violence against women previously 12 months however the authorities remains to be failing utterly to recognise the size of the issue, in accordance to Labour MP Jess Phillips.

“I do really feel like for the primary time in my life violence against women and girls is certainly going to have to be a political precedence and they can’t overlook it,” she instructed the Guardian.

“However even with all of the cultural change, the conversations, the cash apparently being thrown at it, I’m nonetheless left despairing with women who’ve received nothing out the system and it’s simply failed them once more and once more.

“And are women safer now than they had been initially of the 12 months? No, they’re not.”


Phillips, the shadow home violence minister, has lengthy campaigned on points surrounding violence against women, and annually in parliament reads out the names of all of the women who’ve been killed by males within the previous 12 months.

This 12 months has marked an enormous “shift change” in consciousness of the problem, she stated. “I used to look ahead to Karen Ingala Smith [from Counting Dead Women] to ship me the names. However I see all of them myself now; they’re being reported in all places,” she stated. “And eventually it’s not similar to: ‘Aren’t these particular person instances dangerous?’ We’ve began as a public to see them within the spherical.”

Jess Phillips reads out names of women killed in Britain in the last year – video
Jess Phillips reads out names of women killed in Britain within the final 12 months – video

The homicide of Sarah Everard by the police officer Wayne Couzens in March sparked a nationwide dialog round women’s security that has been galvanised by additional killings, together with Sabina Nessa, who was discovered lifeless in a London park in September, and Gracie Spinks, who was killed by a stalker in June.

Andrea Simon, head of the End Violence Against Women coalition, stated efforts to additional shield women in 2021 had not gone far sufficient.

“It has been an unprecedented 12 months when it comes to how a lot we’re speaking about violence against women and girls, which signifies that for a lot of it seems like a watershed second,” she stated.

“Nevertheless, I feel lots of the options and the responses from authorities, and within the prison justice system, have missed the mark. We haven’t gone so far as we must always have carried out. And we haven’t moved as shortly when it comes to making issues higher for women and girls who report abuse.”

Phillips stated that whereas the federal government has claimed to be taking motion on the problem, “it’s not OK to focus this completely on the prison justice system”.

“They’re nonetheless caught in a furrow of ‘powerful on crime’. I’ll reply to their ‘powerful on crime’ by saying you’re not being powerful on crime, you’re actually letting most rapists by way of.”

To successfully tackle the issue there wanted to be institutional change throughout a variety of companies, she stated, significantly in housing and welfare. “In England there isn’t anyplace a single girl on a mean wage might afford a personal rental property. And we ask ourselves why women find yourself caught,” she stated. “However the authorities suppose that declaring new sentences is the reply.”

The federal government can be failing to dedicate sufficient sources to prevention, she stated. “There wants to be way more about training, way more about what behaviours are and aren’t acceptable, there wants to be way more strong interruption of the perpetrator, whereas presently the system depends on the interruption of the sufferer.”

Reflecting again on the 12 months, Phillips stated she felt “a little bit bit overwhelmed” after talking out about so many distressing instances.

“I’ve discovered it a extremely tough 12 months. You get to the purpose the place every and each case that I see, I can’t imagine that it’s nonetheless so dangerous, and it feels tiring. It feels tiring.” she stated. “And I’ve suffered extra due to the raised profile, and the menace stage against me has gone up on account of me talking out about it.”


In April, white supremacist Tony Eckersley was jailed for greater than two years after sending a whole bunch of violent, misogynistic and racist messages to Phillips. She stated the web harms invoice presently making its approach by way of parliament have to be used as a possibility to shield women on-line. “However presently it doesn’t say ‘women’ in it as soon as. So there’s work to do,” she stated.

Phillips stated she was longing for the longer term, with extra alternatives to assist tackle points round violence against women than ever earlier than, however she nonetheless despairs at how a lot “preventive work” women are anticipated to do themselves.

“Women are those passing on the tales to their daughters about what you have got to do. There’s a dreadful baton-passing about what to count on in life,” she stated. “Women are those who’ve to act in a different way, have to behave in a different way, we’re supposed to flag down the buses. Women in relationships are meant to danger assess and then if you’re a sufferer of violence, that is sort of a full-time job to come ahead about it.

“There’s simply a lot the place we’re anticipated to fill the gaps left by a system that has failed.”

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