Thank you for contacting me with regard to ending violence against women and girls.
I share your deep concern about this extremely important issue and I agree it is vital that the international community redouble efforts to tackle and eradicate violence against women and girls. Indeed, Action Aid emphasise that one in three women will experience violence at some point in their lives and that this remains one of the most widespread human rights abuses.
I believe that the UK Government should continue to play a central role in international efforts to address this and push for the inclusion of a clear target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls around the world.
As I am sure you are aware the UN Open Working Group has included a target (no. 5.2) in their draft SDGs to achieve this. I know has been welcomed by aid organisations including Action Aid and I hope that this target – and the wider goal to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ – will remain in the final SDGs when they are agreed in September. The UK Government have also recently stated that they will push for this goal to be retained in the final SDGs.
I know that Action Aid have also called for adequate financing to be put in place to ensure this goal can be achieved. I agree this is important and believe that, more broadly, the final SDGs should be bold, ambitious and inspiring so that they rise to key challenges such as universal health coverage, human rights and climate change.
As well as tackling violence against women and girls in developing countries, I believe we need to do more to more to address this issue at home. Indeed, two women a week in the UK are killed by a current or former male partner and at least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence.
I believe the Government need to do more on this, and that is why I fought the last General Election on a manifesto that included plans for a Violence against Women and Girls Bill, to appoint a commissioner to set minimum standards in tackling domestic and sexual violence and to provide more stable central funding for women’s refuges and Rape Crisis Centres.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and support steps to tackle and eradicate violence against women and girls in the UK and worldwide.
Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.
Karen Buck MP