Home Secretary Theresa May has urged the public to 'speak out and stand up' against violence against women and girls.
In a specially recorded video message for International Women’s Day (IWD) the Home Secretary paid tribute to the achievements of women across the UK and around the world.
However she reiterated her determination to tackle the challenges still facing women such as domestic violence, sexual violence, forced marriage, teen relationship abuse and stalking. She spoke out as she published an updated action plan setting out government progress in tackling violence against women and girls.
The government has already taken steps to address many of these problems dedicating £40million to services for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence, announcing plans to criminalise forced marriage, creating specific offences of stalking and starting pilots of Clare’s Law.
But to totally eradicate violence against women, the Home Secretary challenged the public to work together and challenge violence against women in all its forms from domestic violence to stalking.
She said: ‘What we need is for people to raise their voices, whether it’s against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation or an abusive relationship and supporting someone in an abusive relationship.
‘We need to change attitudes, we can only do that by working together. So speak out, stand up against violence against women and girls and that’s the way we can eradicate it.’
The UK Government has worked across the globe to support & empower women and released a map showing its worldwide involvement on International Women’s Day.
Stopping violence against women
The new action plan A Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls has a renewed focus on protecting under-represented victims, such as girls associated with gangs and those at risk of female genital mutilation.
The document - containing over 50 new actions - recognises that young people can be more vulnerable to violence and that changing technologies mean they can be exposed to new threats like sexting or grooming. To break this terrible cycle of abuse and protect future generations it focuses on prevention and early intervention.
Recent inquiries into historical abuse demonstrate that there is more to do to protect victims of sexual violence, and the action plan sets out the government’s determination to tackle rape and sexual assault throughout the criminal justice system, putting the victim first at every stage.
The Home Secretary added: ‘Violence against women and girls is a terrible form of abuse that this government is determined to tackle.
‘The updated action plan shows the real progress we have made but there is still much to do. I want to see real reductions in domestic and sexual violence and a society where abuse is no longer tolerated. The new action plan sets out our determination to do even more to help victims, bring perpetrators to justice and eradicate these appalling crimes.’