Skip to main content

Call for Evidence

Policing and organisation of vigils relating to safety of women in public places

Background

The Home Affairs Committee is seeking evidence on the policing of vigils held over the weekend of 13 and 14 March 2021 which followed the tragic death of Sarah Everard.

While some vigils across the country were facilitated smoothly by police and community groups others, such as at Clapham Common and in Brighton, resulted in arrests and in criticism of police and those attending. Concerns raised have included the police’s treatment of women, the limits put on organised gatherings as a result of Covid-19 laws, and the effectiveness of police-community relations when managing organised gatherings. 

The Committee wishes to hear from those who participated in, organised, policed, or were otherwise affected by the vigils about their experiences of these events. The Committee will seek to take evidence about the vigils very soon so that it can understand what happened, why vigils were policed differently in different places, and what lessons can be learned.

The Committee is particularly interested in hearing from those involved in, or affected by, events on the afternoon and evening of 13 March.

Please note that:

The Committee is also launching a separate inquiry into Violence Against Women And Girls. The Committee recognises the very real, complex and traumatising consequences of abuse and violence against women and girls in public, online, at work and at home. The Committee intends to undertake a wider inquiry into this area, which will provide a chance for anyone to provide their views, reflections and experiences. That inquiry will hold Government to account for its work to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls. More information will be available soon. However, this current, short call for evidence relates exclusively to vigils and organised gatherings as outlined above.

 

Terms of reference

Please submit evidence to the Committee as soon as possible and by 11.00 pm on Sunday 21 March.

As the Committee wishes to start this work very quickly, please limit your evidence to the following:

  • If you attended a vigil this weekend, your experience of the vigil: including how it was organised, Covid-19 precautions, and how it was policed
  • If you have attended or organised a vigil or protest since the current lockdown began in December 2020: your experience of organisation, Covid-19 precautions in the context of PHE guidance and formal restrictions in place when the vigil or protest took place, and policing at those vigils or protests

The Committee is not at this time calling for evidence on the provisions of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. You can share your views on its provisions with the Public Bill Committee that is considering the Bill.

 

Before submitting your views, please read the following important information

The Committee intends to progress this work at speed. Therefore, please keep your submission within 1,000 words.

Please submit evidence to the Committee as soon as possible and by 11.00 pm on Sunday 21 March.

In line with the general practice of select committees the Home Affairs Committee is not able to take up individual cases. If you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local Member of Parliament.

The Committee will decide whether to accept each submission. If your submission is accepted by the Committee, it will usually be published online. It will then be available permanently for anyone to view. It can’t be changed or removed. If you have included your name or any personal information in your submission, that will normally be published too. Please consider how much personal information you want or need to share. If you include personal information about other people in your submission, the Committee may decide not to publish it. Your contact details will never be published.

Decisions about publishing evidence anonymously, or about accepting but not publishing evidence, are made by the Committee. If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your submission anonymously (meaning it will be published but without your name), or confidentially (meaning it won't be published at all), please say at the start of your evidence which of these you want to request, and tell us why. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee.

If your evidence raises any safeguarding concerns about you, or other people, then the Committee has a duty to raise these with the appropriate safeguarding authority.

 

We understand that the issues raised in this work may be sensitive or upsetting and the following organisations may be able to offer support or further information: 

If you have immediate safeguarding concerns about yourself or someone else, you should contact the Police on 999.  

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, the Government has published information about helplines and websites that may be able to help, including National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs)

Asian Women’s Resource Centre

Imkaan’s directory of support groups 020 7842 8525

Samaritans 116 123 

Other information about organisations that can advise on gender-based abuse and support victims and survivors is available from the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

If you require additional advice or support on a range of other issues you may wish to contact Citizens Advice 03444 111 44

Information on making a complaint about the police is available here.

 

Please submit evidence to the Committee as soon as possible and by 11.00 pm on Sunday 21 March 2021.

Click on the start button at the bottom of this page to submit written evidence.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

Go back to Policing and organisation of vigils relating to the safety of women in public places Inquiry