The government adviser on women’s safety has expressed frustration at how her proposals to criminalize street harassment have been received
Nimco Ali, an independent adviser to the government on preventing violence against women, has claimed her calls for street harassment to be criminalized are being blocked.
She said her proposals had been “rejected.”
Who is Nimco Ali?
Nimco Ali, a friend of Boris and Carrie Johnson, has been appointed Home Office Advisor for 2020 by Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Born in Somalia, the social activist moved to Manchester with her family when she was four, but she underwent female genital mutilation while on holiday in Djibouti when she was seven.
“I met someone in my community who wasn’t circumcised just a few years ago, and she was from Sweden,” she told the BBC in 2011. “I didn’t know anyone in the Somali community who wasn’t circumcised. Women oppress themselves because they think ‘this is my culture’.”
This experience led her to found the Daughters of Eve organization to help girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) and campaign for the practice to end.
In 2019 she co-founded The Five Foundation, a global partnership to end FGM.
She was appointed by Ms Patel in October 2020 with the task of formulating a strategy to reduce violence against women and girls.
Ms. Ali wants behavior such as wolf whistling, whistling and prolonged staring to become a crime punishable by immediate fines.
The government announced a crackdown on sexual harassment in July 2021, its strategy being developed following a public consultation that used 180,000 people as evidence, the vast majority during a two-week period after Sarah Everard’s murder.
What did Nimco Ali say?
Ms Ali told the BBC podcast Political Thinking with Nick Robinson she had experienced “setbacks” during her campaign.
“I would especially love it if public sexual harassment became a crime.”
“One of the things I’ve seen is that a department and a secretary of state can have an opinion and then there can be other things (where there is) pushback,” she said, before clarifying that the pushback was from “others people” came “.
“And cabinet responsibility is a thing – that’s why I say ‘as a thing’, it’s not just individual, so I think sometimes there’s a very masculine conversation where government, how government and institutions work, so we have to in the Be able to address that,” she added.
What has the government said about women’s safety?
As part of the crackdown launched last year, the government said it was not ruling out the creation of new laws on street harassment, saying: “We are carefully examining where there might be gaps in existing law and how a specific sexual harassment offense could be introduced in the public could appeal to them.”
At the time, Ms Patel said: “The safety of women and girls across the country, wherever they are, is my absolute priority.
“It is unacceptable that women and girls are still subject to harassment, abuse and violence, and I do not accept that violence against women and girls is inevitable.
The government also said at the time it would not rule out creating new laws on street harassment, saying: “We are carefully examining where there might be gaps in existing law and how a specific offense of public sexual harassment could fill these.” “
It also pledged to examine whether street design features could help improve personal safety among the public, while it will also test an online tool called StreetSafe, which allows members of the public to anonymously highlight places where they feel particularly at risk.
The announcement also included measures including a public campaign “focused on creating behavior change” that the government hopes will tackle misogyny in society, as well as pledges to ensure police know how to respond effectively to allegations.
Marketing director Ms Everard, 33, was kidnapped, raped and killed by off-duty Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens in March 2021 while walking home, sparking widespread grief and demonstrations over concerns for women’s safety .
Last year’s government announcement drew a mixed reaction from activists, with Victim Support’s Rachel Almeida saying: “Only system-wide, societal change will bring an end to violence against women and girls.
“It is vital that there is a move away from the culture of ‘victim blaming’ and poor police treatment of victims that has contributed to dismal justice outcomes for the majority of survivors.”
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/crime/nimco-ali-governments-advisor-womens-safety-street-harassment-law-blocked-3701949 Nimco Ali says her street harassment law will be blocked