Letter to The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP on violence against women and girls

Councillor Ruth Dombey OBE, Leader of Sutton Council, wrote to The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, on 30 November 2021.

From: Councillor Ruth Dombey
London Borough of Sutton
Leader of the Council
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Sutton North Ward

Address: Leadership Office, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA
Telephone: 020 8770 5406
Email: ruth.dombey@sutton.gov.uk

To: The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP
Home Office
2 Marsham Street

30 November 2021

Dear Home Secretary,

Violence against women and girls

I am writing to you as Leader of Sutton Council to call for action to tackle violence against women and girls, which remains prevalent in today’s society. This letter follows on from a motion recently passed by the council, which received unanimous cross-party support.

This year, violence against women and girls has sadly been brought to the forefront due to the murders of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, amongst many others, who died as a result of actions by men. While more and more of us are raising the issue of violence against women and girls, this is not a new problem. National crime statistics in the UK show that, on average, one woman is killed by a man every three days; the ONS reported that last year alone 618,000 women were victims of a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault by a man; and a 2021 YouGov national survey on behalf of UN Women UK found that among women aged 18-24, 97 per cent said they had been sexually harassed.

Following this, Sutton councillors have four key asks:

  • We demand an urgent Royal Commission into male violence against women and urge the Government to immediately declare misogyny to be a hate crime
  • Public sexual harassment to be made a crime, as was indicated in the Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls consultation
  • All necessary action to be taken to immediately address the backlog in the courts and put in place the funding required, so, in future, the criminal justice system deals with cases promptly to ensure victims get justice and can move on with their lives, and the rehabilitation of criminals can begin sooner;
  • To increase investment in victims' services, in particular, investment in refuges, mental health services, and legal aid support for all victims of male violence.

While the recent unveiling of the ‘Tackling violence against women and girls strategy’ was welcome, there is still a long way to go before male violence towards women and girls is eradicated and future generations of women can feel safe.

I have included a copy of the council motion.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Ruth Dombey OBE
Leader of Sutton Council
Cc: Boris Johnson MP, Prime Minister
Paul Scully MP
Elliot Colburn MP