Protection from Sex-based Harassment in Public Bill
The objective of the Bill
Outlining the objective of his Bill, Greg said: "The principal purpose of my Bill is to bring about change in behaviour. If it were known that deliberately harassing a woman in a public place with the intention to cause her alarm or distress is more than unkindness, it is a criminal offence will establish that such behaviour is – as it should be – unacceptable. It would bring the law into line with public harassment on the grounds of a person’s race or sexuality, which is widely known to be an offence.
A comparison I sometimes use is with behaviour at football matches. It was not so long ago that to be on the terraces of a league football ground would involve hearing racist abuse directed at players. Nowadays that is extremely rare. This is not just because of action by authorities, but because racial harassment is now considered so serious and shocking by the vast majority of people attending that any perpetrator would be liable to be silenced and excluded by other members of the crowd."
The video above is of Greg outlining the purpose of the Bill during the its Second Reading. To watch the debate in full, click here.
The timeline of the Bill
In May 2022 Greg was selected in a ballot of backbench MPs to put forward a Private Members' Bill - an opportunity for a non-government MPs to change or enact new laws on issues that they feel passionate about.
Following many discussions with women and girls throughout the constituency who had spoken about feeling unsafe when alone on our streets, especially at night, Greg decided to put forward a Bill which - if enacted - will make harassing a person on the grounds of their sex a specific offence, just as it is to harass a person on the grounds of race or religion.
The Bill was first introduced to the House of Commons in June 2022 and passed the final stages in House of Commons, the Report Stage and Third Reading, on 24 March 2023. It will now be debated in the House of Lords.
Greg said: "I am delighted that my Bill passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons. Too many women and girls feel unsafe when alone on our streets, especially at night. They should not have to put up with that but too often they do – resorting to safeguards like walking at night with their keys clenched in their hands, precautions that most men don’t have to think about.
"My Bill corrects a loophole in the law in which it is not a specific offence to harass someone in public on the grounds of their sex but it is on, for example, the grounds of their race. It aims to change the culture so that it becomes as obviously unacceptable to abuse, humiliate and intimidate women and girls in public as it is to do so because of a person’s race or sexuality.
"I now look forward to my Bill being debated in the House of Lords which I hope will take place before the summer."
For greater detail on each stage of the Bill as it progressed through the House of Commons, click on the image below.
The content of the Bill
Below is the content of the Protection from Sex-based Harassment in Public Bill.
A PDF of this bill and accompanying publications, click here.