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MPs Are Calling For Car Harassment To Be Made A Criminal Offence

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MPs Are Calling For Car Harassment To Be Made A Criminal Offence

A number of MPs from across the political spectrum are calling for the government to criminalise sexual harassment against women.

Labour MP Harriet Harman has formed an allegiance with the Conservative chair of the women and equalities select committee, Caroline Noakes, to strengthen a number of laws relating to the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill.

MPs are calling for stronger punishments for men who harass women (Credit: Shutterstock)
MPs are calling for stronger punishments for men who harass women (Credit: Shutterstock)

The pair are now urging the government to make amendments to the bill in order to protect women from harassment and misogyny.

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Currently, sexual harassment in its own right is not a criminal offence in the UK. Let's let that sink in - a man can be prosecuted for dropping litter, but not for harassing a woman on the street.

Kerb crawling is also illegal in the UK, but only if it is done to obtain sexual services, and if it causes public nuisance under the 2001 Criminal Justice and Police Act.

Speaking about the issue, Harriet explained: "It makes absolutely no sense that kerb crawling is an offence if its aim is to solicit prostitution, but kerb crawling a schoolgirl to shout sexualised abuse at her is not.

"The law needs to be changed."

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New research show women don't think enough is being done to tackle harassment (Credit: Shutterstock)
New research show women don't think enough is being done to tackle harassment (Credit: Shutterstock)

Elsewhere, Caroline added: "When I spoke to women, they were living with this on a daily basis. Sexual harassment, catcalling, is rife, it's unwanted, in some cases, it can be downright intimidating and scary.

"And it is absolutely no way for any kind of civilised society to conduct itself."

Fellow Conservative MPs Peter Bottomley and Andrew Mitchell, and the Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, are also calling for street harassment to be criminalised, as well as for stricter controls over the use of the sexual history of complainants in rape trials.

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The news comes after a poll found seven out of ten women saw current government measures to stop sexual assault as "inadequate".

Harriet Harman has spoken out saying the government needs to be tougher on misogyny (Credit: PA Images)
Harriet Harman has spoken out saying the government needs to be tougher on misogyny (Credit: PA Images)

The poll, carried out by YouGov for The Independent, also found three-quarters of women say men in society don't "pull their weight" in keeping women and girls safe from violence.

Shaista Aziz, a women's rights campaigner, told the publication: "This research shows again how much work society must do to challenge and dismantle patriarchy and the harm and damage it's doing to women and girls.

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"The responses show again how low levels of trust are in the criminal justice and policing system to hold perpetrators to account."

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: UK News, News, women

Kimberley Bond
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