It is extremely important for women to feel safe whether they’re at school, working, travelling or simply having a night out.
However, too many young women experience harassment, abuse, or even violence. According to the NSPCC almost one in three 16-18 year olds have experienced groping or unwanted touching at school. The same survey showed that one in three teenage girls have experienced violence from a boyfriend. 38% of women raped are under 16.
It seems to be getting worse. Young women are finding it more and more difficult to stay safe in their daily lives. When the Government is cutting 15,000 police officers, when cuts to local council budgets mean fewer buses are running, or street lights are turned off at night, their safety is put at risk.
Yet, sadly, offenders are less likely to be brought to justice. More women are telling the police about these crimes, reported incidents of rape are up nearly 10%, but the number of cases being referred to prosecutors has been reduced by nearly a third. This means fewer criminals are being caught and more women are put at risk.
It is time to act. A Commissioner for Domestic and Sexual Violence would ensure police, prosecutors and local authorities work together to tackle violence against women. We need clear national standards to protect women from violence and abuse.