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Violence against Women and Girls

Part of Contamination of Beef Products – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 14th February 2013.

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Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Conservative, Mid Norfolk 2:04 pm, 14th February 2013

I agree. The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point, which I feel personally, too, as the father of an 11-year-old daughter. I also think, however, that as a Parliament and a Government we need to be brave enough to realise that advice on sex must be put within some kind of moral framework. We need to be brave enough to acknowledge that young children require of us some guidance about what is right and wrong. Difficult territory though it is, there is no excuse for simply suggesting that there is no sense of appropriate conduct that we should be conveying.

This is a vital and topical issue which affects more than half our population, and it is an issue of global and local significance. I believe that our generation in this great institution must address it, and that we all have a duty to take it seriously. As I said earlier, I am the father of an 11-year-old daughter, but I also speak as the husband of a wife and as the son of a mother. We are all, in one way or another, linked to this issue, and, as a compassionate Conservative, I am proud that this generation, and this Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, have provided such leadership on it. The Prime Minister said recently:

“I want to see an end to violence against women and girls in all its forms. I’m proud to add my voice to all those who stand up to oppose it. Too often these horrific crimes have gone unpunished. We want this to change and that is why we have criminalised forced marriage, widened the definition of domestic violence and made stalking illegal.”

I believe that, as a result of cross-party consensus, our generation may be able to look back on what we have achieved and be proud of it. I congratulate the Backbench Business Committee on arranging the debate, which, given its significance, I should have preferred to take place on a Monday rather than a Thursday. I also congratulate the sponsors of the motion, and those who are speaking about this important topic this afternoon.