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What is included

The Conservatives’ manifesto contains their ‘plan to support families’. This includes plans to protect children online - which is something that Restored has called for in our 5 priorities for a new government. They plan to implement an Online Safety Act to legally require social media companies to protect children from illegal or harmful content, with fines for those who fail - but there is no specific mention of misogyny or abuse targeted at women online, which is key to preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The Manifesto also includes the Conservative’s ‘plan to secure our nation from global uncertainty’. This chapter of their manifesto includes a plan to expand international campaigns on girls’ education, women’s rights and reproductive health, although these are not described in detail. The Conservatives also plan to continue campaigns against child marriage.

The Conservative Party Manifesto does include a section dedicated to VAWG, contained in their ‘plan for safer streets and justice for victims of crime’. It lists the following plans:

  • Strengthening the law to punish predators, with new offences for things like stalking, controlling or coercive behaviour, non-fatal strangulation and revenge porn.
  • Tougher sentencing for murders which take place in the context of domestic abuse, by introducing a 25-year prison term for domestic murders. They note that individuals who kill their domestic abuser will not face the same starting point.
  • Stopping ‘rough sex’ being used as an excuse for lighter sentencing for murder
  • Introducing a new investigatory model for rape for police forces and prosecutors, and pre-recorded cross-examination for victims in all Crown courts.

The Conservatives also say that they will require rapists and other serious sexual offenders to spend their whole sentences in prison, and will restrict sex offenders from changing their names in order to prevent them from evading justice.

Other relevant points in the The Conservative manifesto include plans to recruit an additional 8000 police officers, and restore public trust in policing by licensing police officers for specialist roles - although these roles aren’t defined. They also plan to bring in legislation that will ensure appropriate vetting for police officers during their service, and make sure that those who fail can be sacked.

It’s also worth noting that the Conservative Party would be willing to leave the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in order to act on their Rwanda Policy for deporting illegal migrants (see the ‘plan to control immigration and stop illegal immigration’). The ECtHR upholds international human rights law, including international laws on VAWG and domestic abuse, and requires states to act against all forms of Gender-Based Violence, including domestic violence. Leaving the ECtHR would mean that the UK would no longer be accountable to these international laws.

What's missing?

Whilst the Conservative Party manifesto does lay out some explicit plans to address VAWG, a number of key areas are missing. There’s only one specific mention of domestic abuse, in the point relating to tougher sentencing for domestic homicides.

There’s no mention of plans to strengthen or fund specialist ‘by and for’ domestic abuse services, as called for in our priorities for a new government. Whilst we’re pleased to see mention of protecting young people online, more specific action will be needed to address the scale of online misogyny and the abuse targeted at women on social media - which isn’t specifically mentioned by the Conservatives, despite being a key area for tackling the spread of misogynistic ideas.

Whilst their Manifesto dedicates a whole chapter to delivering better health and social care, no plans are included for improving awareness of domestic abuse in these sectors. There are also no plans laid out to increase access to trauma-informed counselling for survivors of domestic abuse - an essential tool for recovery for many domestic abuse survivors.

Whilst the Conservatives place strong emphasis on toughening up sentences for perpetrators of violent crime, including sexual violence, robust plans to prevent VAWG from happening aren’t given.

There is also no mention of the Family Court system, which is one of the issues raised most frequently by members of our Survivors’ Network. Our priorities call for better training on domestic abuse, including on coercive and controlling behaviour, for court professionals, alongside access to fully funded support for survivors in the Family and Criminal Court systems, but these things are not included in the Conservative Party Manifesto.

There is also no mention of a move to fully ratify the Istanbul Convention, which would include removing all reservations and extending support to migrant women.

On the whole, it seems that most of the Conservatives' plans for addressing VAWG are focussed on greater accountability for perpetrators, which is important. However, there are significant gaps when it comes to prevention, and increasing the support that is available for survivors.