Man with teen daughter rallies against prosecution for street harassment

21 July 2021, 16:41 | Updated: 21 July 2021, 16:43

By Fiona Jones

Caller left LBC listeners speechless as he refused to back prosecution for men who harass his 13 year old daughter in the street, asking "what is bad" about her being called attractive.

It comes as tougher measures to protect women and girls on the streets will be announced on Wednesday, including proposals to make street harassment like wolf whistling a specific criminal offence.

However this caller Ben did not back this move, telling Shelagh Fogarty there was "no reason for prosecution" if a man target similar abuse towards his 13 year old daughter.

Shelagh responded: "Why don't we have a society where the society protects her? So make it illegal?"

Ben said this is "a bit heavy", fearing this move as an example of "us going into the nanny state" where we're being told what we can and can't say."

Shelagh countered: "But we absolutely shouldn't be tolerating grown men leering at women and girls in the street, should we? That's not the nanny state, that's the state protecting women and girls in the street."

The father claimed there is "nothing wrong" with a man telling his young daughter "you look attractive today", asking, "What in that was bad by saying someone looks attractive?"

"This is about when all of us go out in to the street, I think the bare minimum we should expect and hope for is to peacefully go about our business," Shelagh said.

"If on a journey from A to B on your typical day, you routinely have to face people commenting on your body or telling you they want to have sex with you or attempting to touch you...do we say we don't want the state stymieing men too much? Or do we want girls and women to be able to go about their business without being heckled sexually?"

The caller agreed with this claim "without a doubt" but still could not agree all perpetrators should be prosecuted: "If somebody said to my daughter I want to take you home and X, then obviously that needs to be. But if somebody said you look pretty today, then what?"

Shelagh pointed out that sexual harasses don't say "oh you look pretty today madam", they shout things "about the size of your breasts."

"It's violence, Ben."

Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to publish the plans on Wednesday, which will also see the creation of a national policing lead and phone helpline to support victims.The plans are to include:

  • A 24-hour rape and sexual assault helpline
  • £5m to tackle violence in public places at night
  • An online tool where women and girls can report areas where they have felt unsafe

Over 180,000 people contributed to shaping the strategy to help tackle violence against women and girls.The strategy also includes the creation of a national policing lead to ensure best practice among forces and improve the response times to such crimes.

It will seek to criminalise so-called virginity testing too, described by MPs as a "medieval" practice.