Shocking statistics on sexual harassment as new Manchester board to tackle gender-based violence begins work

The numbers clearly show the scale of the task the city-region faces as it tries to crack down on unacceptable behavior towards women and girls.

Greater Manchester’s new board dedicated to tackling gender-based violence has met for the first time as figures show the scale of the task in tackling the problem.

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It held its first meeting on Thursday, December 16, chaired by the Deputy Mayor, Baroness Beverley Hughes and bringing together senior public sector leaders, members of organizations representing victims and survivors and people with first-hand experience. domestic and gender-based abuse or violence.

What will the Greater Manchester Gender-Based Violence Board do?

Over the next decade, the board is expected to oversee the implementation of the GBV strategy.

It is hoped that someone with lived experience will eventually co-chair it alongside Baroness Hughes.

Over the next 10 years, Greater Manchester authorities working to end gender-based violence will focus on accountability to victims and survivors of abuse as well as children and youth and sustained engagement campaigns with the public, employers, schools, colleges and universities to make sure the messages get through.

Emphasis was also placed on the role played by frontline health workers, social care staff and specialist providers, especially those created by and for those who have themselves experienced abuse, in reducing the number of people who repeatedly become victims.

Other commitments include being open about the capacity of the criminal justice system to help those who have been abused or experienced violence and the demands placed on them by the courts.

The city-region will also create an integrated housing policy so that victims can stay at home or be quickly relocated to their neighborhood without compromising their rights as tenants, and will work on safe and effective interventions with perpetrators so that victims and survivors are protected.

How much of a problem is that?

The statistics available on gender-based violence are frankly shocking.

UN Women UK has found that 71% of women of all ages in the UK have experienced some form of sexual harassment in a public place.

This rate reaches 86% among 18-24 year olds.

In addition, some 95% of women did not report their experience of sexual harassment.

97% of young women said they had been harassed (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Government Equality Unit’s 2020 Sexual Harassment Survey, based on 12,131 responses, found that 43% of those surveyed had experienced sexual harassment in the previous 12 months.

The most common behaviors encountered were unwelcome sexual jokes, comments of a sexual nature, and intrusive stares or glances.

Some 42% of those questioned have experienced this behavior in the street or in public, 31% in a pub, club or bar and 28% in public transport.

Data from the ONS for July 2021 revealed that two in three women aged 16 to 34 had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the previous 12 months.

Some 44% of women in this age group have been victims of unwanted cries, wolf whistles, remarks or unwanted sexual jokes.

And 29% felt followed.

Is work to remedy this already underway in Greater Manchester?

In addition to the work of the council and the launch of the campaign on male behavior, work is underway throughout the city-region.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Deputy Mayor are working with the new Student Sexual Violence Action Network to develop a powerful campaign challenging behavior and attitudes and preventing sexual violence and harassment.

Avon and Somerset Police are working with sites to tackle drink spikes

A partnership offer to the Home Office by GMCA, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Oldham Council secured £ 550,000 from the Safer Streets fund to improve safety for women and girls on and around the public transport network.

The offer was developed following direct feedback from the consultation on the Gender Based Violence Strategy, where street harassment and harassment on public transport was the most frequently raised issue.

Police, who are currently under surveillance and are working to improve the handling of this type of problem, carried out a domestic violence operation in July, with 230 arrests.

The Cut it Out campaign is rolling out in Greater Manchester, which will provide free training for hairdressing and beauty professionals to know what domestic violence is and how to recognize its signs in their clients. to help them get help and support.

A pilot project commissioned by NHS partners in Greater Manchester has been launched, called ADViSE, which aims to help sexual health staff identify and respond to patients affected by domestic violence.

And Wigan Council has received more than £ 273,000 from the Home Office to support a wide range of interventions on the safety of women and girls, including working with schools and colleges to change attitudes of women and girls. men and boys and training of personnel in approved premises.

Work on other areas identified in the strategy, such as the development of a cross-border housing reciprocity agreement in Greater Manchester to help those victims of domestic violence, is also envisaged.

What has been said about the strategy and the launch of the board?

Baroness Hughes said: “I have long campaigned and worked to improve the safety of women and girls against a background of societal attitudes and behaviors that have allowed sexual harassment in public spaces to continue for too long.

“The wind is now turning around what were once considered tolerable behaviors, such as unwanted yelling, comments or jokes of a sexual nature. It has never been OK in the past and it is not OK now.

“While some might say that we should focus our energies on serious and violent crimes against women and girls, and we are, we also need to recognize that gender-based violence is on a continuum.

Baroness Beverley Hughes. Photo: Martin Rickett / Pool / AFP via Getty Images

“Turning a blind eye to daily harassment allows some men and boys to go further and can have horrific consequences for the victim.

“The common thread running through all of these types of behavior is that too many men and boys feel empowered to say and do whatever they want to women and girls, and that is just plain wrong.

“We want to galvanize the work in our city-region led by our councils, GMP, public transport, charities, students, schools and activists to fight against gender-based violence in all its forms. To do this, it is vital that we continue to work together towards our common goal, including through the work of the Gender-Based Violence Board.

GMCA has worked closely with the organization Right To Walk on gender-based violence, and the work has so far received a positive response.

Rebekah Spratt, Co-Founder of Right To Walk, said: “Low-intensity harassment is probably one of the most common forms of abuse that women face every day. It can be intimidating, boring, frustrating, and even triggering at times.

“It’s a question of education. In working with GMCA on these issues, we sincerely hope that these issues are addressed and considered by all – so that ultimately we can learn and continue the conversations where they matter most.

Emily Sutton, Co-Founder of Right to Walk, added, “We are very proud to support and advise the GMCA on this extremely important and vital issue facing women.

“Low level harassment can seem like nothing serious to many, when in fact it is incredibly serious because it can escalate into more dangerous offenses if not stopped.

“We need to prevent these dangerous crimes and violence against women in a staggered way, it should always be a matter of prevention. “