Jess Phillips MP calls for “tougher sentences” for femicide to help tackle male violence, as she reads the names of women murdered in 2021 in parliament
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Jess Phillips MP calls for “tougher sentences” for femicide to help tackle male violence as she reads the names of murdered women in parliament

Labour MP Jess Phillips shared the 2021 report by the Counting Dead Women project with parliament on Thursday.

Tougher sentences must be introduced for femicide and investigations launched into whether female suicides are the result of domestic violence in order to tackle male brutality against women and girls, Labour MP Jess Phillips has urged.

In an impassioned speech to parliament yesterday, the shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, read the names of 128 women killed by a male suspect in the past year, which included teacher Sabina Nessa, who was murdered in a London park in 2021 and teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod.

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The names of the murdered women were sourced from the Counting Dead Women project, led by campaigner Karen Ingala Smith.

However, Phillips explained that the true number is much higher, as many women “don’t appear on our lists because no-one is ever charged with their killing, or because they die by staged homocide and sudden death, falling from a building, overdose or suicide, and we never look into the history of domestic abuse in their cases”.

“The list is painfully long, but in reality the list is much longer. We can make it shorter. Let’s act faster,” she added.

Phillips told MPs: “The perpetrators killed, but it is on us in here if we keep allowing a system where women live under the requirement to give away their labour for free in the pursuit of their own safety,” referring to Ingala Smith’s work.

The representative for Birmingham Yardley also noted that the deaths of the women had all occurred since “that supposedly watershed moment” of Sarah Everard’s murder in March 2021.

“Every name I’ll read, there will be a story of how better mental health services, even the slightest suggestion of offender management, or the availability of quick specialist victim support would have saved their lives,” she said.

Phillips later announced that she and the Labour party are working on with the families of the victims she has included on her lists, which she has shared with parliament for seven years running.

With the support of more than 60 experts, MPs and public figures, Stylist is calling on the government to launch a long-term public campaign challenging the attitudes behind male violence against women – aimed directly at men. Find out more about our call for #AFearlessFuture 

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Images: Getty