Harsher penalties for vandalising a statue than for attacking a woman

Sarah Everard's body was found in woodland in Kent on Wednesday.

Sarah Everard's body was found in woodland in Kent - Credit: MPS

The tragic death of Sarah Everard has shocked the whole country. Alongside the outpouring of grief for Sarah’s family and friends is a demand for tougher action to tackle such violence.

This week’s Crime Bill was a golden opportunity to take action against domestic homicides, rape and street harassment. Instead, the Conservatives put forward a Bill that would lead to harsher penalties for vandalising a statue than for attacking a woman.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any problem with taking tough action against those who desecrate war memorials or monuments like Sir Winston Churchill’s statue in Woodford Green, but women aren’t mentioned once in the Bill.

Wes Streeting MP, Ilford North.

Wes Streeting says the criminal justice system is a mess - Credit: House of Commons

It’s not just violence against women and girls. This week I raised the case of a children’s care manager in Redbridge who was convicted for using vulnerable boys as drug mules to sell heroin and crack cocaine in Devon and Cornwall. She was given just four years in prison for grooming kids to run drugs. It’s disgusting.

Since 2010, we’ve seen cuts to the police and to the courts, which not only delays justice for victims but perversely lets criminals off with weaker sentences because of the delay in trials.

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We have fewer police, fewer courts and fewer rape and sexual violence convictions – which are at their lowest ever level in England and Wales – because the criminal justice system is a mess.

I’m sick and tired of Tory ministers talking tough and acting soft on serious crime. All of us deserve better.

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