An independent sexual harassment complaints system for the Labour Party.
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As the #MeToo movement has shown, sexual harassment and abuse happens at all levels of society and in all institutions, including the Labour Party. A recent report compiled by LabourToo recorded 43 anonymised stories of women who had been victims of harassment and abuse, including party staff, activists, politicians and candidates, both at a national and at a local level.
The report found there is low or no confidence in the party’s formal complaint or disciplinary processes; there was little support for those making complaints and in some cases women were actively dissuaded from pursuing complaints; and that there was routine abuse of women by senior people in positions of trust.
It concluded that without an independent complaints system, free from political interference, women in the Party would continue to be let down. As someone who is currently going through the Labour Party's current complaints process, I have experienced first hand the lack of impartiality and lack of understanding of the needs of victims of sexual harassment.
For example, I was given three days to submit my witness statement - without being provided any legal representation which I can't afford. I also learned about a delay to the hearing for my case via the media, rather than through the Party itself - if that can leak, what else might be leaked to the media? Most concerning is that a staff member for the respondent sits on the body which is due to hear the case - the National Constitutional Committee, though the person concerned has been banned from sitting on the panel on the day of my case.
That is why I am calling on the Labour Party to introduce an independent complaints system, so that people can have the confidence to report incidents and know that it will be investigated without fear or favour.
For more information about the LabourToo campaign, please visit: www.labourtoo.org.uk
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