Measures to stop violence not working for women

30 September 2021

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Today, as former Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens received a whole-life sentence for the kidnap, rape, and murder of Sarah Everard, ActionAid UK is calling for radical change to prevent violence against women and girls – in the UK and worldwide. 

ActionAid UK’s Deputy Director of International Development Policy and Practice, Lee Margaret Webster said:  

“The traumatic details of the murder of Sarah Everard have shocked the nation. Since 2020, we have heard about the devastating cases of Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman, Sabina Nessa, Sarah Everard and Terri Harris. And many cases never make the headlines – particularly the cases of minoritized women and girls. 

"In March 2021, people across the UK demanded stronger safety measures for women. The response has not been enough. Many of the new safety measures announced by the government this year focused on ways for women to protect themselves - but it is not a women’s responsibility to end male violence.  

"Instead, we must see measures which address the deep-rooted misogynistic attitudes and structures that cause violence against women and girls. There must also be a focus on creating stronger justice systems where reports of violence are taken seriously, and survivors are supported. Sarah Everard’s murder at the hands of a police officer has fractured trust between women and the justice systems that are supposed to protect them. 

"The recent cases in the UK are an emblem of a worldwide crisis of violence against women and girls. We know from our work with women and girls in over 40 countries that violence against women and girls is devastatingly pervasive – and that it has intensified since the outbreak of Covid-19. Globally, 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime. 

"At ActionAid, we know that investing in feminist movements and women’s rights organisations is pivotal to creating change, and we are committed to supporting such organisations globally so that they can continue their life-saving work. 

"Violence against women and girls is preventable. But only when we see strong political will and resources to address patriarchal norms and systems that perpetuate violence.  

"We urge governments worldwide to ensure that violence against women and girls is at the top of their agenda. Enough is enough.” 


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Notes to editors  

ActionAid UK  

ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are changing the world with women and girls. We are ending violence and fighting poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want.