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The Government’s minister for women and equalities has admitted she finds walking home at night “concerning” and females are “fearful” of going out.
Liz Truss said society needs to change so women feel safe.
Ms Truss, who is also the Foreign Secretary, was speaking after Metropolitan Police firearms officer Wayne Couzens 48, was handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey on Thursday for murdering Sarah Everard.
Ms Everard, 33, was walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3 when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Couzens, 48.
Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe event in Manchester, Ms Truss rejected the assertion that the criminal justice system is “institutionally misogynistic” because of the poor conviction rate in rape and sexual assault cases.
“I wouldn’t use those words,” she told the Telegraph Chopper’s Politics podcast event.
“But what I would say is, as a woman, I do find walking home at night concerning.
“I don’t like that air of concern. I do think as women, generally we are more fearful of going out and that is fundamentally wrong.
“It’s something we have to change about our society.”
Asked whether she had ever been the victim of sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour, Ms Truss said: “I’m in the fortunate position of being in a senior position so I don’t think anyone would try it on in that way and if they did they would get very short shrift.
“But I have observed the way women get treated some times. I think it’s got better, I started my career in the mid-90s, I think we’ve seen improvements since then.
“But it is definitely the case that women are more fearful of going out at night, of going to isolated areas and that inevitably holds people back from enjoying life to the full. We need to address that.”