Strategy for Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:13 pm on 21st July 2021.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 7:13 pm, 21st July 2021

I thank the right hon. Lady and my hon. Friend Mr Baker for bringing Mrs Squire to meet me. It was an incredibly moving meeting. Indeed, Mrs Squire and parents of other women who have been murdered have set out very clearly the escalation of behaviours before such terrible, awful, horrendous crimes are committed.

We are doing a number of things. The right hon. Lady mentioned the public communications campaign—I know that was something that Mrs Squire was very interested in—but I hope that she will also see in the strategy that we want to review the police management of sex offenders to ensure that it is as effective and safe as it should be. She may note, too, that in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, we are strengthening sexual risk orders and sexual harm prevention orders, which can be used to manage such offenders in the community.

However, the plea must go out that if you are the victim of a non-contact sexual offence—in common language, that means if someone flashes you, if they are following you, if they are masturbating in front of you, if they are making you feel unsafe in the streets, and it is sexually motivated—please, please, if you feel able to, ring the police so that we can get these crimes recorded and, hopefully, the police can start to find those serial perpetrators before they do something even worse.