UK Political Party Creates New Role To Tackle Violence Against Women & Girls

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In a bid to add to the great efforts the UK is doing to stamp out awful crimes against women and girls such as child marriage and female genital mutilation, the Labour party have decided to create a specific position which one MP will focus all her efforts on. Her name is Seema Malhotra, she is the MP for Feltham and Heston, and is now officially the new Shadow Minister who will be in charge of preventing violence against women and girls.

It is called a “shadow minister” position because the Labour party is not in power in the UK government right now, Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party is. But if the Labour party win the election in 2015 Seema’s ministerial role will become even more significant.

Labour leader Ed Milibrand appointed Seema, who will work to prevent issues such as forced or illegal marriage, rape, domestic violence, sexual violence, female genital mutilation, as well as tackle prostitution. Normally in the UK government, the minister who focuses on issues relating to women and equality also has a much bigger role.

The current minister for women and equalities, Nicky Morgan, is also the Education Secretary which is a major role in the cabinet. Before her there was Maria Miller – combining it with the apparently pretty unrelated role of Culture Secretary – and before that, Home Secretary Theresa May.

“Earlier this year, a damning report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) revealed that only eight out of the 43 forces in England and Wales responded well to domestic abuse. While most of them had claimed domestic abuse was a priority, this often wasn’t matched in reality on the ground,” states Cosmo UK about the new appointment.

“It is significant that Labour has made this issue such a priority and I look forward to working with colleagues to try and make a real difference to women who have experienced huge trauma in their lives,” said Seema in a statement to the press about her new role.

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“The level of violence against women in Britain, and indeed the world, is shocking and too little is being done to prevent these crimes, support the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice. I will be looking to change this and look forward to working with Ed [Milibrand] and Yvette [Cooper, shadow home secretary] to make sure a Labour government offers a real alternative to women and children trapped in cycles of violence.”

She said figures showed there were 12 million women and 2.5 million men that had been the victims of domestic abuse, but the number of prosecutions was nowhere near that figure. The Labour party is really putting the pressure on David Cameron’s government, who were a crucial part of the inaugural Girl Summit held in London in July. But the appointment of Seema to only focus on the issue of violence against women and girls without it being an addendum to an already existing role shows they too see this as a serious problem in the UK that needs special focus.

Seema has controversially stated that domestic violence and controlling behavior can be spotted because it first attacks a woman’s self esteem at a seemingly harmless level.

“Psychological abuse can be an indicator of physical abuse in the future or an indication of physical abuse that has happened in the past. It can be part of a pattern of controlling behavior that leaves people feeling fearful and terrorized in their own homes,” she said. That statement may seem a little extreme to some, but if the above numbers are correct and crimes are going unpunished, then perhaps it is worth looking in greater depth at how some of these crimes start.

We’re certainly pleased to see one of the world’s major western political parties step up to the forefront and make the statement that violence against women and girls is not something that will be tolerated. We’d back any politician who believes preventing this crime is a priority. Now would the rest of the world’s politicians please continue to follow suit?

It can be part of a pattern of controlling behaviour that leaves people feeling fearful and terrorised in their own homes.”

 

 

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