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Our response to news that public sexual harassment may become a criminal offence

Our response to news that public sexual harassment may become a criminal offence

Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, says:  

‘We welcome the news that the Government are considering making public sexual harassment a crime, as reported in today’s Daily Telegraph. This is a landmark moment for our #CrimeNotCompliment campaign in partnership with Our Streets Now. If implemented, legal change would start a cultural shift, so that girls and women will finally begin to feel safe in public spaces.    

‘We have created a ready-made bill which the Government can pick up and turn into law. Girls and young women across the UK are facing harassment every day. They’re being followed, shouted at, touched and groped – and they want it to stop.  

‘New legislation criminalising this behaviour would be a huge victory for girls and young women who have bravely shared their stories and called for change. As one girl told us, you can be fined for dropping litter in the UK, but not for harassing a woman or girl in public. This cannot be right. The government must act now to protect girls and women.’  

Gemma and Maya Tutton, Co-founders of Our Streets Now, said:  

“This is a huge campaign milestone to have our ready-made bill being considered at the heart of government. If these changes were to come about it would help promote a fundamental paradigm shift in our society’s understanding of how girls, women and those from marginalised genders should be able to enjoy public spaces and civil society – resulting in a vindication of their right to equal access to all parts of society without fear of abuse or intimidation. Public sexual harassment can’t continue to be a ‘normal’ part of being a girl in this country.’