Labour Appoints Rape Crisis To Deal With Sexual Harassment Claims

Labour Appoints Rape Crisis To Deal With Sexual Harassment Claims

Labour has appointed Rape Crisis to deal with allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.

The party said the independent charity will offer “advice and support” to anyone reporting or affected by incidents and will also carry out an independent audit of internal procedures to make sure they work for victims.

Labour is also expected to announce details of the next stage of its investigation into MP Kelvin Hopkins on Friday, after he was suspended from the party over allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”.

It is thought the matter will be elevated to the National Constitutional Committee, which will decide whether Hopkins, who was accused of “years of unwanted attention” towards fellow MP Kerry McCarthy, should be permanently excluded.

Labour’s leadership has been under pressure to take action in the wake of a series of serious allegations, including one of rape made by former NEC member Bex Bailey.

The activist, who has long campaigned for reforms to Labour’s reporting processes, said appointing Rape Crisis was “an important step”.

“But Labour, as the party of equality, should be the very best and there is more to do,” she added.

“This announcement covers the very start of the complaints process but there is still a question about what happens once the complaint reaches the party.

“The next step needs to be independence at every stage of the process, so that all bias and internal politics is removed.”

A party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of sexual harassment extremely seriously.

“We understand that for those who have experienced sexual harassment, coming forward is a big step that is often extremely difficult, which is why we have appointed Rape Crisis to provide independent advice and support to anyone affected by sexual harassment.”

Specialists will offer advocacy, counselling and information to all complainants and provide them with a named member of staff to deal with throughout any investigation process.

Yvonne Traynor, CEO of Rape Crisis South London, said: “We are happy to be able to offer support and information to survivors of sexual harassment and any other form of sexual violence that has been experienced within the Labour Party at any level.

“We feel that it is important that, we, as an independent organisation provide a confidential, unbiased and empathic response to survivors to ensure they receive the help that they deserve.”

A survey of Westminster staff, commissioned by a cross-party working group of MPs chaired by Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, revealed dozens of parliamentary aides have faced bullying at work, with four women claiming they had been victims of sexual assault.

Many blamed the “sexist, laddish, misogynistic” culture in Parliament where they said there was a “toxic” mixture of alcohol and power.

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