Page 2 | Webchat with Victoria Atkins MP, Home Office Minister for Safeguarding and Extremism, on Thursday 11th February at 11am.

(69 Posts)

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JuliaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Feb-21 12:00:18


We’re pleased to announce a webchat with Victoria Atkins, Home Office Minister for Safeguarding and Extremism, on Thursday 11 February at 11am.

Victoria Atkins is the Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office. She was previously Minister for Women from 2018 to 2020.

As Minister for Safeguarding, her responsibilities include domestic abuse, violence against women and girls (including FGM and forced marriage), child sexual abuse, stalking, prostitution, sexual violence including the rape review, and early youth intervention on serious violence.

The Home Office is launching a nationwide call for evidence to inform the government’s new Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy. They are urging members of the public, especially women, to fill in the short online survey to share their experiences and views on the issue which will be reflected in the VAWG strategy, to be published in March.

As well as the public survey, the Home Office is setting up focused discussions with a range of representatives from the sector, and has involved charities in directly engaging with victims to gather their views. The new VAWG strategy will help the government to tackle these crimes and to increase the understanding, and ability to tackle, emerging forms of violence against women and girls such as upskirting and revenge porn.

Please join us here on Thursday at 11am. If you can’t join us on the day, please leave your question here in advance.

As always, please remember our webchat guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We may suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,

OP’s posts: |
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 11-Feb-21 11:02:35

Morning everyone and thanks for your questions

The minister is standing by and ready to go - welcome Victoria!

NonCisWoman Thu 11-Feb-21 11:02:09

I'm really looking forward to your responses Victoria smile

Bindles Thu 11-Feb-21 09:57:28

Hello Victoria
Thanks for joining us.
Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Support Centres are doing a brilliant job around the country, and more needed now than ever. What is the government's plan to provide these essential services with the resources they need?

TriflePudding Thu 11-Feb-21 09:55:47

Thank you for this important webchat! I agree that there are already so many well articulated questions which cover topics which impact us all, particularly as women and mothers.

My question is about disability rights:
Women’s healthcare is lacking in female centred provision as are disabled facilities and resources, as disabled women are at a greater risk of harm of VAWG how can the government ensure that these women are visible and are having their needs met ?

Martinisarebetterdirty Thu 11-Feb-21 08:52:33

Hello Victoria
Thank you for doing this. I am very concerned about the normalising of porn, and the ease of access to sites such as pornhub to teenagers. I’m interested in how you see this been removed so that girls are not pressured in to violent sex and anal sex as normal. I’d also like to suggest that consideration be given to running the freedom programme in schools at various ages.

OvaHere Thu 11-Feb-21 08:12:51


I am concerned that a narrative is developing, as illustrated by a number of questions above, that trans folk, particularly trans women, are a danger as a class. Will the Minister please reassure trans women that their legitimate access to facilities is recognised and that any measures contemplated to improve safeguarding will not impact on law-abiding trans individuals’ ability to live in society with peace, comfort and respect.

I disagree. Women are concerned about males as a class. Safeguarding is dependant on recognising that males as a class, in some circumstances are a danger to females as a class. Our concerns are about the breaking down of boundaries and increasing inability to be able to name the problem.

RobinMoiraWhite Thu 11-Feb-21 05:26:45

I am concerned that a narrative is developing, as illustrated by a number of questions above, that trans folk, particularly trans women, are a danger as a class. Will the Minister please reassure trans women that their legitimate access to facilities is recognised and that any measures contemplated to improve safeguarding will not impact on law-abiding trans individuals’ ability to live in society with peace, comfort and respect.

MrsToddsShortcut Thu 11-Feb-21 01:47:54

Hi Victoria,

As Home Office Minister for Safeguarding, how can parents protect children from harm via online porn, which includes the normalisation of violence against women, when trusted mainstream sites such as Childline, appear to normalise it?

The pics attached are from the Childline section on Porn. I know that access to the internet and online porn are with us to stay, but I was genuinely shocked that Childline, which is supposed to help safeguard children, should be quite so blasé about it.

I imagine most parents assume that Childline is a website they can trust to protect their kids, rather than advise them that it's totally fine to watch legal porn.

LoungeLizardLhama Wed 10-Feb-21 19:20:03

Hello Victoria
I was a member of the Labour Party until early last year and I left mainly because of their failure to uphold and defend women and girls sex based rights.
I can see that the Conservatives are the only party that still recognise women and I thank you for that, but how do we know you’re not just paying lip service given the massive cuts to council budgets by your government have left women’s refuges having to turn away victims of domestic violence?

OvaHere Wed 10-Feb-21 17:23:56

Some excellent questions in this thread. Looking forward to reading the replies.

Ereshkigalangcleg Wed 10-Feb-21 12:22:39

Some great questions here on a range of important issues. I look forward to Victoria's responses.

AnnieKenney Wed 10-Feb-21 11:55:06

Why are you committed to having a separate domestic abuse strategy rather than one VAWG strategy covering everything when NO-ONE in local government, the police, specialist services etc supports this?

Solitaryconfinedcat Wed 10-Feb-21 11:45:50

Hi Victoria,

Im uneasy about the amount of porn available on social media sites which are available for young people to join from the age of 13.

Instagram is full of porn models and porn bots, and I feel this is akin to handing out cigarettes outside schools. As the more porn one has access to the more ones tastes escalate.

My question is will the online harm bill tackle this problem and ban porn and its models across all social media sites that can be accessed by under 18s.

My follow up would be, can the online bill also ban social media messaging to accounts of those under 18 to prevent grooming. Tick tock has done this for under 16s, so it can be done but 18 is the age one becomes an adult.

I believe if people knew the extent to which porn has infiliterated childrens lives there would be mass out cry.

3tonguedglacier Wed 10-Feb-21 11:01:44

Hello Victoria

Thank you for all your work on all this.

I'm aware that many women cannot leave abusive relationships because of economic insecurity and poverty.

There is also a lot of research showing that abuse can continue (and sometimes even intensifies) post breakup. The man may be angry and feels he has nothing to lose so becomes even more unreasonable and aggressive. This often takes the form of economic abuse, forcing someone into debt or refusing to pay child maintenance.

Recent research from Surviving Economic Abuse has shown that 1 in 5 women experiencing coercive control from an ex has had their child maintenance payments stopped by the perpetrators during lockdown. This is very concerning especially because we know that women have been hit especially hard financially by the pandemic and incrasing numbers are close to real poverty.

Please will you link up with the Child Maintenance Service, with the help of organisations such as Surviving Economic Abuse, to ensure that victims of domestic abuse are not being abused through the CMS?

This also applies to Universal Credit - which can lack understanding of the situations of abuse (physical and economic) that many women are in and therefore fail to help them out of danger or even prolong their suffering.

Will you push for domestic violence training of CMS and DWP staff, better linking with other departments, and funding to ensure that no one is left in abusive situations because they can't afford to leave?

Thank you!

(p.s. I'm also very concerned about the so-called 'decriminalisation of rape' - but I know others have asked about that!)

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Feb-21 10:54:41


*@JuliaMumsnet* Would it be possible to move this thread into the wider mumsnet boards as well? (It doesn't seem to be a feminism specific thread) in fact it seems like it would be missing a lot of people with very relevant input.

Hello - it's sticked around in lots of places (Active, AIBU, Chat, Relationships, Politics, In The News etc)

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-Feb-21 10:47:40


Thanks for all your questions so far. We've got a lot now on issues around single-sex provision and gender identity so we're going to ask you not to post any more on that theme please. As ever we'll recommend that the guest address topics that have drawn a lot of questions.


OwletteGecko Wed 10-Feb-21 10:36:59

Why was the initial response to COVID so completely clueless when it came to women experiencing domestic abuse?

It felt like the group who decided on lockdown provisions was just completely unaware of the entire issue of domestic abuse and had to scramble to change the regulations after being forcibly reminded that these victims exist.

It felt like a horrible illustration of how women's viewpoints just aren't even considered by a government that is very male-skewed. Has anything been done since then to ensure women's perspectives are baked in to policy making?

FionaMackenzie Wed 10-Feb-21 10:14:48

Hi Victoria. Fiona from the We Can't Consent To This campaign here.

We were very pleased by the Government's announcement of new law on rough sex defences and an offence of non fatal strangulation - following a huge push by mumsnetters - so thank you.

There's been a horror rise in new forms of violence and abuse of women in recent years: normalisation of 'choking'/strangulation assaults in sex, deepfakes and other image based abuse (including threats to share intimate images), stealthing, upskirting...

The VAWG strategy will have a big job to tackle these and longstanding harms like underprosecution of rape. Do you think wider Government realises yet how big (and vital) a job this is going to be?

Sickoffamilydrama Wed 10-Feb-21 07:55:21



What will you do about the fact that rape has now been effectively decriminalised, as asserted by Dame Vera Baird in the government's own report last year?

She said: “In some cases, we are enabling persistent predatory sex offenders to go on to reoffend in the knowledge that they are highly unlikely to be held to account. This is likely to mean we are creating more victims as a result of our failure to act.”

Are you prepared to exert pressure on the CPS over this?

Couldn't have said it better myself I know of one of these offenders who is now getting away with it as he wasn't convicted.

I'm angry you are failing me, my sister, my mother & my daughters, stop glossing over the fact that there's a massive problem of violence against 51% of the population.

Stop allowing yourself to be captured by groups who want to erode women's sex based rights.
Recognise the problem & deal with it from craddle to grave.

dotoallasyouwouldbedoneby Wed 10-Feb-21 00:42:12

Dear Victoria,
Many women of all ages feel their sex-based rights are being abandoned by all UK mainstream parties. The Conservatives seem to have been the least captured to date. Liz Truss has clearly done some valuable work recently. Are your wider MP colleagues aware how many women currently feel politically homeless and would like a party they can rely on to defend their hard won rights and for this commitment to be put in manifestos. Thanks for taking the time.

SakuraLDN Tue 09-Feb-21 21:37:25


Dear Victoria,
How can we accurately tell whether crime is perpetrated by and commited against women, if the police are acting on Stonewall's inclusion guidance and recording crimes against self declared gender rather than by sex. Recent statistics show a sudden sharp increase in women committing violent and sexual crimes (as reported on More 4 recently). This seems to correspond with the introduction of a policy of gender self ID by some police forces.


100% agree with this - we need to be able to rely on accurate data to inform future policies so should be recording natal sex with additional information to track any self identified gender as well

peak2021 Tue 09-Feb-21 19:57:44

A question for Victoria Atkins-

The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has highlighted 'institutional thoughtlessness' in the pandemic response by government and how this has affected women.

Which of their recommendations are you going to seek to implement to help safeguard women and children?

ArabellaScott Tue 09-Feb-21 19:54:00

Hello, Victoria.

There has recently been a spate of government consultations on issues of great importance to women.

At the same time, women are more squeezed than ever due to the pressures of home schooling, and home working. While I've tried to contribute and really am keen to engage, I am time poor and exhausted.

Can there be more done to make it easier for women to take part in these processes?

ACovidofWitches Tue 09-Feb-21 19:14:33

I'd like to know Victoria's views on The Holbeck red light district in Leeds. The women there have been totally abandoned and I dread to think what some of them experience night after night - it sounds terrifying.

Will the government act or is the plan to continue to turn a blind eye to what is going on there? How does it sit with you personally as a minister, knowing what some of the most vulnerable women in this country are experiencing there?

Thank you and thank you for coming to talk to us.

Al77 Tue 09-Feb-21 17:56:32

@JuliaMumsnet Would it be possible to move this thread into the wider mumsnet boards as well? (It doesn't seem to be a feminism specific thread) in fact it seems like it would be missing a lot of people with very relevant input.

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