Jane East visited Huddersfield New College to support International Day of the Girl. A UN-led campaign to raise awareness of gender inequalities and abuse suffered by girls around the world, this year’s theme is “Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence”.
Jane lived in Nigeria for three years and, through former colleagues, has a good insight into the distress suffered but the families whose daughters have now been missing for over 180 days after being kidnapped by Boko Haram.
“I want girls in Colne Valley to grow up knowing they won’t face discrimination because of their gender and never fearing violence will be used against them. That’s why I’m talking to young people about why it’s important that we continue to fight for gender equality and continue speaking out against violence and discrimination – in our local area, but also across the country and internationally too. This is an incredibly important cause and that’s why a Labour Government – and a Labour MP in Colne Valley – will make it a priority.”
The Labour Party has made ending violence against women and girls a key priority for their programme for Government. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP recently announced that a Labour Government would bring in a new piece of legislation to give better support to victims of violence and bring perpetrators to justice. Over the summer, Seema Malhotra MP, was appointed as the first ever Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls.
The Labour Party has committed to:
· Introducing a new Commissioner of Domestic and Sexual Violence to sit at the heart of Government and ensure victims voices are being heard.
· New national standards for policing to drive up performance across the board.
· Introducing compulsory sex & relationship education in all state-funded schools, so young people are taught that no form of violence in relationships is acceptable.
· A new £3million annual fund for refuges supporting victims of domestic violence.
· New FGM Protection Orders to stop children suspected of being at risk of FGM from being taken abroad.
Seema Malhotra MP said:
“The global level of violence against girls is horrific. All too often rape and violence are used as weapons of war and in many countries discrimination against girls is deeply embedded in the national culture. International Day of the Girl is an important moment where we can stand side-by-side with women and girls across the world and say: ‘we will not stand for this. We want change.’
“We need change in our country too. Teenage girls and young women are the most likely group to be victims of domestic violence, thousands of girls are at risk of FGM and NUS report a growing number of sexual assaults at university. We cannot turn a blind eye to this growing violence. That is why Labour is putting this issue centre stage of our plans for Government.”