Make Street Harassment a Criminal Offence in the UK

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I’m Maya. I’m 21 years old and my sister Gemma is 15. Like 90% of women in the UK, we have both faced street harassment. And we are sick of it.

Women and girls* should feel safe walking the streets, day and night, with the confidence that the law protects them. But in the UK, that’s not the case, as there is no specific law against street harassment.

So we’ve started this petition to make public sexual harassment (PSH) a criminal offence in the UK.  Will you sign it?

We believe that making it a criminal offence will empower victims of harassment to report incidents, and dissuade harassers.

Street harassment is now illegal in France, Belgium and Portugal. So why not in the UK?

The first time Gemma was harassed in the street she was only 11 years old. Hearing that as a big sister was the most upsetting thing in the world. And knowing there is nothing I could do about it was heartbreaking.

As young women, we have gotten so used to constantly being scared. Public sexual harassment (PSH) is an incredibly threatening thing to experience. It makes us feel powerless, objectified, hurt, and angry.

But it’s also about the long-term effects. Being forced to adapt our routes and clothing, and restrict our behaviour in order to feel safe is not ok. Studies show that public sexual harassment can cause long-term emotional and psychological harm.

This new law would be a powerful step in tackling inequality and in keeping women safe.

France has shown that criminalising street harassment works. Now it’s the UK’s turn!

Please sign our petition to make street harassment a criminal offence in the UK. 

Alongside making PSH a criminal offence, we are working hard for societal change. You can learn more about our work on our website.

You can also follow our campaign on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (@OurStreetsNow), and remember to use our hashtag #EndPSH.

*We include anyone who experiences misogyny within our movement. Trans* and gender-diverse individuals are victims of high levels of public sexual harassment.