Following the events at Clapham Common on Saturday 13th March, Joint General Secretaries Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney issued this statement on behalf of the NEU:
“The Metropolitan Police response to the vigil to mourn the murder of Sarah Everard on Clapham Common, South London has alarmed people across the political spectrum with the government’s own advisor on violence against women describing the handling of the vigil in Clapham as being ‘from the handbook of abusive men.’
“While it is right that large gatherings under COVID lockdown are subject to necessary safeguards to protect all, urgent questions must be asked about the appropriateness of the Metropolitan Police force actions and their lack of engagement with organisers to ensure the vigil was safely carried out, as the organisers wanted it to be.
“The scenes last night should not have been necessary. They were extremely disturbing, and the Metropolitan Police will need to account for their behaviour and the distress that it has heaped on the tragic murder of Sarah Everard.”
Earlier in the week, this statement was issued by NEU Executive members:
The murder of Sarah Everard has highlighted the epidemic of violence against women in our society.
This must not be downplayed nor must just lip service be paid to need for action to address this continuing scandal.
There must be an end to calls for women to avoid going out at night on their own – how can it be right to effectively have a curfew for women?
We support the calls for safe, socially distanced vigils by Reclaim These Streets and others in response to the killing of Sarah.
As educators who have been told to return to schools in full this week alongside millions of children, we are outraged to be told that attending such vigils is unsafe and that the police are seeking to ban such events. We are right to protest and to demand action.
Violence against women must never be swept under the carpet – our voices must be heard.
We call on the police to allow the vigils to take place and call on NEU members to attend where they can.”
The Union takes the issue of sexism, sexual harassment and violence against women and girls very seriously. See below for some of the resources that the NEU has developed to support members tackling these issues.
It’s just everywhere – sexism in schools
Domestic Violence Workplace toolkit
Please contact us for more advice and guidance