Labour and Green Party London Assembly Members have accused Boris Johnson of failing rape victims in the capital and breaking a key election promise.
The accusations come as the Mayor launched a policy document setting out his vision for a programme of action to tackle violence against women.
Entitled ‘The Way Forward – A call for action to end violence against women’, the document is open to public consultation until July 20th and sets out a number of areas for action.
The document commits Johnson to working with the Police to “get tough” on trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and the use of his position as chair of the MPA to push for better training of police officers to deal with violence against women and to improve front desk services at police stations.
Speaking at the launch of ‘The Way Forward’ the Mayor said “there are a significant number of women in London whose lives are blighted by the violence of men, something which is wholly unacceptable.”
Johnson said Government’s approach to tacking violence and sexual violence against women “is far too piecemeal to work”, adding: “for any plan to work we must have the police, local authorities, community organisations, health sector and criminal justice system all working together across borough boundaries.”
However Assembly Members Jenny Jones and Joanne McCartney have attacked the Mayor for not delivering on an election promise to “provide long-term funding” for four rape crisis centres in the capital. During last year’s election campaign the Mayor said he would fund the centres “by cutting the number of GLA spin doctors.”
Commenting on “The Way Forward”, Labour’s McCartney said: “After a year in charge Boris could have done better than this. While there are some good points on what the criminal justice system can and should do, we are none the wiser about what the Mayor himself is doing, what resources he is putting or why he has slashed the funding for rape crisis centres. We need to see action, not warm words and hot air.”
Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party on the Assembly said: “If you promise something you must jolly well get on and deliver it. There’s a lot of back-tracking going on and a lot of women need these centres and need them immediately. Women in London have been let down by the police over the Worboys case and other investigations into rape. Now the Mayor is letting them down over his promise of more support.”
Johnson’s plan has been welcomed by Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking, who said it was “very encouraging to see the Mayor and other stakeholders seeking strong action to put an end to trafficking in London ahead of the Olympic Games in 2012.”