In a motion to this December’s Full Council meeting, York’s Liberal Democrats will be urging all councillors to back calls to take action to tackle violence against women and girls.
Across the UK harassment and violence towards women and girls is endemic. Over the last 24 months in York there have been 878 sexual offences and 2,278 stalking and harassment offences reported, whilst 3,117 domestic abuse crimes were reported in York between January 2019 and June 2021.
Liberal Democrat Councillors will be looking to receive cross-party support to do more to tackle these worrying levels of violence and harassment, calling on all councillors to:
- endorse the Council’s application to become a White Ribbon Accredited local authority,
- undertake awareness training,
- support the partner summit and the implementation of the forthcoming North Yorkshire Police strategy to help make York a safer place for women and girls.
- Encourage local schools, academies and colleges to develop and implement policies on tackling physical, mental or emotional harassment of female pupils or staff, separate to their bullying policy.
- Support and work to expand such campaigns as the ‘Ask for Angela’, ‘Ask for Clive’ and the Our Streets Now.
- Write to the new Police, Crime and Fire Commissioner to ask them to report on performance on tackling violence against women and the progress of implementing a region-wide strategy to support this work.
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, commented:
“In recent years the shocking prevalence of male violence against women has been brought into sharp focus across the country. The issues which lead to violence are often systemic. Misogynistic attitudes are unfortunately still present throughout our society, through the media, workplaces, politics and services.
“Excellent partnership work is taking place across the city and region to tackle this together with the North Yorkshire Police, Council services and organisations such as IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services), but there is more than can and must be done.
“We must do all we can as a Council and representatives in our communities to champion the rights of women and girls and to tackle violence against them. Raising awareness plays a huge part in changing the cultural and social norms which are recognised as being highly influential in shaping individual behaviour, including the use of violence.
“Every woman and girl in York must be free to live their life without fear of harassment and violence. I hope councillors across the political spectrum will join us in working together to make York’s streets safer for all.”