Scottish Lib Dems call for better Police vetting and Commission to prevent violence against women and girls

This weekend, Scottish Conference passed a motion calling for serious action to prevent violence against women and girls:

In the wake of the shocking revelations of the details of the murder of Sarah Everard, Scottish Lib Dem Women submitted an emergency motion calling for, amongst other things:

  • An NHS-style public awareness campaign to build public understanding of the drivers behind violence against women;
  • An extended Independent Review of Equality Matters in policing as recommended by Dame Elish Angiolini, to include a review of police vetting processes and consideration of misogynistic behaviour;
  • New training for those working in education and frontline in public authorities;
  • Recognition of misogyny as a hate crime.

The party also reaffirmed its call for a new Commission to look at ways of preventing men’s violence against women and girls in all its forms, to report within one year in order to ensure a co-ordinated approach across all levels of government.

Wendy Chamberlain MP summated the motion, saying:

Enough is enough. For too long, women and girls have had to change their behaviour in an attempt to work around the constant threat of violence and harassment. It’s time for that responsibility to shift elsewhere.

This needs to be more than just a re-heated version of existing strategies. We need an NHS-style awareness campaign, and new training and support for all those in public facing public sector roles so that problematic behaviour can be identified and addressed.

Policing culture needs to see a step change to build back public trust. The canteen cultures that breed poor attitudes need to become a thing of the past.

Women need to be able to feel safe again.

I proposed it and had a hand in writing it. Much of it was based on the comprehensive motion passed at Federal Conference last month with some Scottish details added. I ended my speech by saying:

The social, economic, political and cultural conditions that drive violence against women can be changed. But that will only happen if new approaches are taken that are informed, resourced and evidence based.

That’s why all this work needs to be fronted by a new Commission, to work at the scale this issue demands.

This conversation needs to be re-set and standards need to be raised.

The debate got some good coverage in the Herald, too.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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