Council wants cash to protect women and girls from harassment
- Credit: George Thompson
A Norfolk council will search for funds to better protect women and girls from harassment after delays forced them to miss out.
A motion brought before Broadland District Council on Thursday called for a series of measures to help protect vulnerable groups in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder.
A cancelled meeting last month meant that councillor Trudy Mancini-Boyle's motion was delayed, forcing them to miss out on a chance to bid for funding through the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.
She said: “While such extreme occurrences recently reported with the murder of Sarah Everard in Clapham are thankfully rare, it has brought the issue of street harassment into sharp focus.
“Women and other groups will share the anxiety of not being able to walk alone without concern for their safety.”
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The £25m fund was intended for better lighting, CCTV and a pilot scheme which would see plain-clothes officers in pubs and clubs.
Ms Mancini-Boyle suggested they look to other sources of funding such as the Police and Crime Commissioner.
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Alongside funding, the council agreed to work with Norfolk police and town centre managers to “challenge and eradicate street harassment in our district”, to raise awareness of what constitutes street harassment and work with Broadland MPs to seek further powers for police to take action.
Amendments were proposed to call for better education and to state clearly that men are often the perpetrators of harassment.
Labour councillor Natasha Harpley, who has experienced and campaigned against harassment, said: “This isn’t something that happens when you turn 18, I have a daughter that this has been happening to since she was 13.
“Ninety-four pc of girls have experienced street harassment, clearly this is a huge problem.
“It is important that we name it [as an issue that affects] women and girls and that men are the perpetrators.”
Conservative councillor Shelagh Gurney rejected this, she said: “I feel we are treading into dangerous territory if we single out girls here. Men and women should be treated equally.
“It’s not men all the time, this should apply to everybody equally.”
The amendments were rejected but the Wellbeing committee chairman, Fran Whymark agreed to discuss education further in the committee.
The motion was unanimously approved.