Oldham Council’s Liberal Democrats want to see street harassment of women and girls made a crime, as it is in Portugal, Belgium and France.
Saddleworth and Lees Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani is taking a motion on this issue to the next meeting of the full Council (Wednesday November 4).
Councillor Al-Hamdani said: “Everyone should feel safe on our streets and in our communities, yet in national surveys two-thirds of women and girls report that they have been subjected to street harassment. We all the right to self-respect, and to freedom of movement and freedom of expression, yet women and girls are intimidated by this unwanted personal sexual attention. It is frightening and as a result some choose not to go out or do not feel able to be themselves.
“I want the Council to back the campaign of the group, Our Streets Now, which wants to end street harassment by criminalising this unacceptable behaviour and prosecuting offenders. These would represent powerful steps towards tackling gender inequality and keeping women and girls safe.”
As well as outlawing harassment at a national level, Liberal Democrat Councillors also want to see some local action. Shaw Councillor Hazel Gloster, who is backing the proposal, explained: “Only 14 % of pupils have been taught about harassment at school and less than half of all pupils would report an incident of sexual harassment to a teacher. We need all pupils to know more about what constitutes harassment and we need to ensure that all female pupils would feel confident, comfortable, and believed when they report it.
“We want to see all of our borough’s schools introduce this subject within the curriculum and to take on board the advice and recommendations of Our Streets Now. I am sure that this will also be an issue and concern for Oldham’s inspirational Youth Councillors”.
The next full meeting of Oldham Council can be seen online from 6pm on Wednesday November 4.