Rochdale joins Oldham in standing up against street harassment

Date published: 04 January 2021

Rochdale Council has joined Oldham in standing up against street harassment, after the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council successfully brought forward a motion supporting the Our Streets Now charity’s campaign to change the law on public sexual harassment.

The campaign, which wants to see a specific law introduced to combat this threat – which often sees girls in their early teens or younger subject to intimidation in the street – will now be promoted to local schools, getting conversations going with students, both boys and girls, to help them feel confident about getting help, and to make it clear that this behaviour is not to be tolerated.

Andy Kelly, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Rochdale Council, said: “Anyone who has a daughter will probably have gone through a time when this has happened to their child.

"You give them all the support you can, you do everything you can to make it all right for them.

"This motion is says that everyone – families, schools, the police and councils can be part of that support, and stop this from happening in the first place.”

The motion was brought locally by Oldham Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani, who has been lobbying MPs to support the campaign, as well as leading the campaign to get local councils on board.

He said: “If this kind of behaviour goes unchallenged, it sets a pattern which will only get worse, both for the victim and the aggressor. We must stop this now.

"Changing people’s attitudes will come from the conversations we have in our homes and schools, to make it clear that this is unacceptable.

"Changing the law will show that this is something that we all believe in, and will give a solid foundation for those conversations.

"And it will make it easier for victims to know that they will get the support they need.”

Mr Kelly added: “It’s important that as a Council we stand up against this behaviour, and ensure that young women – and men – have the support they need to speak out, and to stop this behaviour.

"I got into politics to help people, and to them feel safer – getting work like this done is why we are here.”

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