Petition to recognise street harassment handed to Mayor of Greater Manchester
A petition calling for street harassment to be recognised as a form of gender-based violence has been handed in to the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s office.
Global children’s charity Plan International UK started a petition after its survey found that 71 per cent of girls in the North West have been sexually harassed in public, 47 per cent receive verbal harassment once a month or more, and 41 per cent said they have been followed.
More than 1400 people in the North West signed the petition led by youth advocates for Plan International UK, Atlanta and Lauren, who live in Manchester and have experienced harassment in public.
Earlier this year, following a campaign by Plan International UK, the UK government officially recognised street harassment as a form of gender-based violence in its Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy. Plan International UK is now calling on the Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to include street harassment in his upcoming regional VAWG strategy later this year.
The petition was received by the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes, who said herself and the Mayor are committed to tackling all forms of gender-based violence:
“We all have the right to go about our day-to-day lives without fear of intimidation or harassment. Sadly, that is not the reality for many girls and young women.
“We each have a responsibility to make sure girls and women feel safe on our streets and in public spaces, as well as in their own homes.
“Both the Mayor of Greater Manchester and I are committed to tackling all forms of gender-based abuse and violence, and the experiences highlighted by Plan International UK’s Youth Advocates will help us as we continue to shape Greater Manchester’s violence against women and girls’ strategy.”
Atlanta, a member of Plan International UK’s Youth Advisory Panel, said: “Street harassment is something I regularly experience, especially when I get the tram into Manchester. It can make you feel unsafe and question what you’re wearing or how you are acting.
“I’m really glad that people in the North West stood with us and signed the petition. As girls we get told that this type of consistent harassment is just part of growing up, but it’s not okay and we need to call this behaviour out!”
Tanya Barron, Chief Executive at Plan International UK, said: “Following on from our petition, we will be working to secure the recognition of street harassment in the Mayor’s regional strategy to tackle violence against women and girls in Greater Manchester.
“We would then hope to see this issue taken on at local authority level, so that police and local councils can work together to make an impact on the lives of girls.”
To find out more about Plan International UK’s ‘It’s not OK’ campaign tackling street harassment visit www.plan-uk.org/streetharassment.