Tackling misogyny needs resources not just fine words
COMMENT: There is no quick fix for violence against women and girls. It requires time, money and detailed planning, working in partnership with the third sector and the police
Thursday, 18th November 2021
A vigil in Russell Square for Sarah Everard, who was abducted by a serving police officer before she was raped and killed
IN and after Monday’s debate the council must set clear, achievable goals to tackle violence against women and girls. This will be the first time the council has had a meeting dedicated to this issue.
It follows a month where a beloved mother died from stab wounds, a young woman said she was raped in a Camden Town alley and 86 other people reported sexual offences to the police.
There is a danger that this debate will be a tick box exercise, used as a soundbite generator for social media.
Slogans like “we have a zero tolerance policy for sexual violence” or “we want Camden to be a safe place for everyone” are nice, but not enough.
We don’t need platitudes – we need to hear that they will be increasing funding for emergency sexual and domestic violence services, we need to hear detailed plans for a roll-out of more community support, we need to hear that there will be more street lights, CCTV – and more police patrols and where.
The are some specifics in the council’s report on the cost of violence against women and girls for the Town Hall, but we need to see a budget, and a list of third-sector organisations they’ll be working with.
We need to see how many women they are aiming to help, and how many they actually reach. We need them to set goals, and then actually check whether they reach them.
The next concrete event the council outlines is white ribbon day, where they will tackle violence against women and girls by posting pictures of their ribbons on Twitter and inviting people to sign a pledge.
Their time would be better spent setting up outreach programmes for boys and young men and widening the sexual education curriculum to teach consent.
There needs to be support programmes for older women and women who don’t have the language to report.
There are communities in Camden which the council will never be able to reach alone, to do so they need to partner with specialist organisations who already work in those communities and have those links.
There is no quick fix for violence against women and girls. You cannot make it all better with a ribbon and a few inspirational words.
It requires time, money and detailed planning, working in partnership with the third sector and the police. It isn’t impossible, it just isn’t easy – this is what we need to see from the council.