Dear friends & supporters,
The government has reopened its Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) consultation. Please submit your views and experiences here. Deadline 26 March.
In our previous Action Alert we outlined the dangers of prostitution and pornography being listed as a form of violence against women on an equal par with rape, domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, etc. It would be great if you could address that issue in your submission by commenting whenever you get a chance.
Two recent events in particular have drawn international attention to the issue of violence against women. In the UK, protests about the murder of Sarah Everard dovetailed with protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would increase police powers including against the right to protest and anyone campaigning for justice. In the US, the tragic murder of eight parlour workers in Atlanta brought forward an outpouring of grief, anger and protest.
In both cases there were forthright statements from organisations such as Women Against Rape, Sisters Uncut and Red Canary Song (US) against increased police powers being proposed in the name of protecting women. Red Canary Song also led protests against racism, for decriminalisation of sex work, for recognition of the women as mothers and workers, and for a living wage for all workers so that women aren’t targeted for attack.
However, in the UK Labour MP Diana Johnson used the occasion to push for the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients and for a crackdown on online sites where sex workers advertise. This is along the lines of a 10-minute-rule bill she introduced earlier this year. Please see information here about the widespread opposition to this and the evidence from countries where clients are criminalised which shows that it has increased violence against sex workers.
We must stop the VAWG consultation and the Police Bill being used to increase police powers and the criminalisation of sex workers. All women and all workers are entitled to protection from violence and abuse of power.