U.K. government backs bill criminalizing street harassment


The British government on Friday said it was backing legislation that would criminalize sexual harassment in public places, along with a number of countries that have made specific offenses, such as bullying, punished by law.

The receipt will introduce harsher penalties for those who deliberately harass someone in public because of the victim’s gender, UK Home Office said in a statementwith the maximum sentence increased from six months to two years.

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“Every woman should feel safe walking our streets without fear of harassment or violence,” Interior Minister Suella Braverman said on Friday. “And that’s why we support this bill that makes a specific offense for sexual harassment in public.”

She said the matter was a “complicated one” but that the government had “carefully considered the arguments.”

“We are putting the needs of our victims at the heart of every decision we make, which means that criminals who commit these acts will face the consequences they deserve,” she said. experience.

Support for incoming invoices Ministry of Interior consults experts during the congressional summer break. Most respondents said they consider sexual harassment in public to be a pervasive issue and endorse creating a specific offense “to make the law around harassment in public become clearer to both the public and the police.”

The aim of the law is to “reinforce a change in culture that has determined that the abuse of women on the streets is completely unacceptable,” BBC News reported. quote the bill’s sponsor, lawmaker Greg Clark, said.

If passed, it would ban deliberately following someone when they come home at night; making obscene or aggressive comments or gestures towards a person; and obstruct one’s passage. The ruling Conservative Party has a majority in Parliament, meaning the bill is likely to pass.

Several other European countries, including Belgium, France and Portugal, have criminalized verbal or public sexual harassment with on-the-spot fines and jail time.

But in the UK, it was the murder of Sarah Everard last year by a Metropolitan Police officer on duty in London that shocked the country and helped spark calls for more protection for women. The 48-year-old officer, Wayne Couzens, kidnapped, raped and strangled Everard, 33, after traveling around London in a rented car “hunting” for a lone woman. according to the prosecutor.

The murder erodes public trust in the police and highlights the dangers women face when alone or in public places. In August, 62 per cent of Britons said police are not taking sexual harassment seriously enough, according to global opinion firm YouGov.

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“We take reports of sexual harassment extremely seriously, but I hope the proposed legislation will reinforce our clear message to perpetrators that the behavior is simple. is intolerable,” British Transport Police assistant police chief Charlie Doyle said in a statement. Friday.

“We know that all forms of sexual harassment go unreported to the police and I hope this awareness will encourage more victims to report what happened. out to them,” he said.


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