Thank you to all of you who have shared your experiences of sexual harassment within The Labour Party with us, and to those of you who passed our motion through your CLPs and wrote to Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby asking them for an independent process for dealing with sexual harassment complaints.
LWN have held many meetings with Jennie, NEC members and officials from the Party's legal and safeguarding teams, with a view to improving the process and reducing delays, leaks and perceptions of politicisation and bias. We are pleased that on 5th March 2019, the Party released guidance on an updated sexual harassment complaints system, which will include an independent advisor to prepare the case, a separate portal from other complaints to more readily identify and monitor sexual harassment cases, and support provision from a new provider, the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre.
We welcome these changes may help increase women's confidence in coming forward. However, Labour Women’s Network supports a wholly independent system for sexual harassment complaints, from first contact to final outcome. This has long been our position because it is what our members’ tell us they need. The changes announced mark significant progress in the Party's approach, but they fall short of a wholly independent system. We will continue to campaign for this. We also campaign for an improved grassroots culture which reduces incidences of harassment, better communication of the policy so everyone in the Party knows how to advise complainants, and recourse for previous complaints which may have been badly handled to be re-considered.
You can read LWN's letter to the NEC's Claudia Webbe, Chair of the Procedures Committee, and General Secretary Jennie Formby, with our full views on the amended sexual harassment system here.
LWN motion on Sexual Harassment
We want as many CLPs as possible to pass this model motion and write to Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby asking them to back an independent process for dealing with sexual harassment complaints, and to set out their plans for dealing with sexism in the Party.
It's simple to put a motion forward. If you’re on your GC, or if your CLP has an all-member meeting structure, then you can put the motion forward by emailing it to your CLP Secretary and asking for it to be tabled at the next meeting. If you’re not on your GC, then you can ask your Branch Secretary to table it at your next Branch meeting, then ask your Branch’s delegates to GC to take it forward. You'll probably have to make a short speech in support of it at the meeting. If you want some background information, check out our letter to Jeremy and Iain McNicol.
This CLP notes
- Recent reports of sexual harassment in politics, including in the Labour Party, both in Westminster and in local Parties across the country.
- That the Labour Party has recently updated its procedures for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, which were emailed out to Labour Party members on 22nd January 2018.
- That Labour Women’s Network and Labour Too have stated that they believe these updated procedures do not go far enough, and that in particular the process needs to be fully independent.
This CLP believes
- That Labour is the Party of Equality, and to live up to this we must do everything we can to eliminate sexism and sexual harassment. This must include culture change, as well as impartial and robust processes.
- That the Party must have a process for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment that members can trust to be fair and impartial.
- That currently, the new sexual harassment process is not fully independent – complaints are administered by staff and decisions made by NEC and NCC members.
- That women may be put off coming forward with complaints if they do not trust the impartiality of the process.
- That the process should be fully independent, as called for by Labour Women’s Network and Labour Too.
This CLP resolves
- To write to Jeremy Corbyn and Jennie Formby, calling for a fully independent sexual harassment complaints process, and calling for them to set out a strategy for culture change to eliminate sexism at every level of the Party.