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Jess Phillips Warns Violence Against Women Is An “Epidemic” With One Killed Every Three Days

Jess Phillips has read out the name of women killed by men in the last 12 months at previous Commons debates(PA)

3 min read

Labour MP Jess Phillips has warned of the widespread scale of violence against women in the wake of the disappearance of Sarah Everard in London last week.

Later today Phillips will read out the names of all the women killed by men in the last year during a debate to mark International Women’s Day.

On Wedensday, police confirmed that human remains had been found near Ashford in Kent after a Met police officer was arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnap following the disapparance of Everard, 33, in Clapham last week.

In a statement confirming the discovery, Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick said "that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets.”

Bu this morning Phillips — who serves as Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding on the Labour frontbench — disputed this, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that violence against women is “not a rare crime”.

“Since last week, since Sarah first went missing, six women and a little girl have been reported as being killed at the hands of men, so it's not particularly rare and it’s a fear that women live with. It's an everyday thing,” she said. 

“Cressida Dick has to temper it, but the reality is that for most women, they have had some form of experience that they feel frightened of."

In the wake of Everard's disappearance there has been increased discussion around women's experiences with fear and violence, and where the responsibilty lies for preventing it. 

“The message that [the Met Police] should be sending out is not one about what women should or shouldn't do," Phillips continued. 

“It is about how serious violence against women and girls is and how it is an epidemic that we have to we have to put far more attention and resource into.”

Phillips also discussed her yearly tradition of reading out the names of all the UK women killed by men over the previous year during the debate to mark International Women’s Day.

“If the same number of women — well, people — had been murdered in the same period of time that I'm going to have to read out later today, it would be a national scandal,” she said.

“Today is the International Women's Day debate in the House of Commons and since last International Women's Day, there are 118 Women who have died at the hands of violent men. 

“That's more than one every three days.”

Elsewhere, senior Labour MP and chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights Harriet Harman echoed her sentiments.

She told Times Radio: "Women should be entitled to walk in the street without fear and that's why the case has sent such a shockwave.

"It's a problem of men's behaviour, not women's behaviour."

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