Sexual abuse is 'endemic' within Labour claims a Party staffer amid rape claims

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Posted on Nov 2 2017 - 1:26am by admin

It comes as a list of at least 34 Conservative politicians accused of sexual misconduct circulated by Tory aides was leaked to the press.

But, before the list was revealed, a group of half a dozen Labour women had set up a campaign called “LabourToo”.

A staffer told the Politico website: “It’s endemic. A friend had the same experience – serious sexual harassment from an MP.

“The party did nothing. It’s never been in anyone’s interests to sort it out.”

Labour - BaileyGETTY

Bex Bailey claims she was raped at a Party event in 2011

Labour has received new sex abuse claims since activist Bex Bailey claimed she was raped in 2011 at a Party event by a senior Party member when she was 19-years-old.

She says she was advised against reporting the incident because she was told it would affect her career.

LabourToo is urging the Party to create a new complaints procedure involving an independent, third-party reporting, a new policy on harassment and assault, and safeguarding training for all staff, at local and national level.

When describing the process of the current complaints procedure, a former staffer told the New Statesmen: “The hotline is not fit for purpose.

“They are not there to act as an independent unit, external to the party. They are there to be a gatekeeper. They are there to protect the party from complaints.”

Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion, who supports LabourToo said she has circulated recommendations for a new policy, including to Jeremy Corbyn’s office.

She said neither she nor LabourToo have had responses from the leader’s office or from the Party’s HQ.

Labour is launching an independent investigation into Ms Bailey’s allegations.

A spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes these allegations extremely seriously. It takes great courage for victims of rape to come forward – and all support must and will be made available to them.

“We would strongly recommend that the police investigate the allegations of criminal actions that Bex Bailey has made.”

Backbencher Lucy Powell said Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have to act quickly or risk being seen as “trying to kill a story”.

Former Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said Labour Labour had to contract a charity or an independent advisor to provide support for those who suffer abuse.

Labour - Sarah ChampionGETTY

Sarah Champion said she has not heard a response to her recommendations for new policy

She told the BBC: “You’ve got somebody you can go and report to who you know is not going to be a friend of the person who you might be making the complaint about, and also to provide the support that if it’s needed.”

A former Party staffer suggests political tribalism and pressure to stay loyal is stronger in Labour than in other parties.

The staffer said: “Often people will put the party before themselves because they see it as the greater good, you are just one person in a collective.

“That’s why there is a real culture of secrecy within the Labour party. There is a sense that you’re almost hurting your own family.”

Labour - Lucy PowellGETTY

Lucy Powell said Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn must act quickly

Describing the complaints procedure, the staffer said you have to call or email the Head of Complaints which is “not an independent position at all – it is a political appointment”.

They give informal advice on what to do, but if you want to make your complaint formal then you make a statement and the accused is asked to make a statement.

This goes before the sexual harassment panel of the National Executive Committee which is made up of party political representatives and appointees.

The statement is anonymised before going to the panel, but according to the source, the safeguarding process is not anonymous from the start.

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