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Haringey activist leads Labour probe into women’s safety

PUBLISHED: 13:50 23 January 2012

Vera Baird, who was chosen to head up the Women's Safety Commission.

Vera Baird, who was chosen to head up the Women's Safety Commission.

Archant

Vera Baird will challenge the coalition government’s record on issues affecting women’s safety after shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper appointed her chairman of Labour’s new Commission on Women’s Safety.

Ms Baird, a barrister and women’s officer for Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party, said: “From legal aid cuts to closing domestic violence centres, deleting rape suspects from the DNA database, scaling back police and public transport and turning off street lights, policy decisions and spending cuts are having a direct impact on women’s personal safety.

“Serious concerns are now being voiced by women across the country that their sense of safety and security is being threatened by government policy and that the government has no real understanding of how their decisions are affecting women’s lives.”

But Ms Featherstone defended the government’s record, calling Labour’s assessment “scaremongering”.

She said: This government is serious about keeping women and girls safe. We’re doing more to help women in crisis. We’re providing extra money for rape support centres and specialist services to tackle violence against women; taking a tougher stance on forced marriage and on stalking; piloting Domestic Violence Protection Orders; and funding to improve services to support children under 18 suffering rape and sexual abuse – including from gangs.”

The commission is now taking evidence on the impact of the government’s work on women’s personal safety and enhancing it. Plans are underway to hold a public meeting in Haringey on women’s safety issues.

Ms Baird is supported on the commission by Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone’s opposite number Kate Green, the shadow minister for equalities, and Stella Creasy, shadow home office minister.

Women can email their evidence and experiences to personalsafetycommission
@labour.org.uk or write to Every Woman Safe Everywhere, Commission on Women’s Personal Safety and Security, Room 2.09, 1 Parliament Street, Houses of Parliament, London SW1A 0AA, by February 24. More information can be found at http://freshideas.org.uk/safetyconsultation.

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