Statement on government’s Violence Against Women and Girls strategy

21 July 2021

Girlguiding’s Advocate panel responding to early reports of the government’s Violence Against Women and Girls strategy said:

“Addressing the endemic culture of harassment and the damaging impact it’s having on girls’ wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem, needs to be a national priority and we welcome the government’s new strategy as a step in the right direction to tackling this. Ensuring schools deliver effective relationships and sex education is essential. And we hope the government use this opportunity to take explicit steps to addressing gaps in the law around public sexual harassment.

“Worryingly our recent research revealed 80% of girls and young women aged 13 to 18 don’t feel safe outdoors alone, with two thirds (60%) facing unwanted attention such comments or being whistled at. At school, appallingly 67% of girls said they had experienced sexual harassment from another student, with girls from marginalised communities facing even greater threats to their safety. This issue is affecting girls and young women in all parts of the country. And needs to change. Girlguiding will continue to support girls to have their voices heard and work to creating a society where we and our peers can be free to live safely and equally.”