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Justice for victims of sexual abuse and harassment: lessons for Westminster?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-506
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Apr 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jun 2018


This policy paper is a comment piece on recent sexual harassment and abuse scandals in the British Parliament, which also references new UK research on justice and gender-based violence. The author draws on six years working for the British Parliament as a clerk (parliamentary civil servant) to reflect on why the parliamentary culture and management has long ignored sexual harassment, abuse and bullying, often moving victims on rather than challenging (alleged) perpetrators. The paper presents current research being conducted by the universities of Bristol, Cardiff and UWE and national charity Women’s Aid, which is asking ‘What does justice mean to victims of gender-based violence?’ Using emerging findings from interviews with over 250 victims/survivors of gender-based abuse, the paper draws lessons for how the House of Commons authorities should respond to sexual harassment and abuse within Parliament. Vital in any victim-centred response are some key principles. Victims/survivors must: be listened to and taken seriously, be empowered to make their own choices about what happens next, be given a range of options including formal sanctions as well as less formal routes, potentially including specialist ‘transformational mediation’ and, most crucially, all be given access to specialist advocates trained in sexual harassment and abuse.

    Research areas

  • westminster, politics, parliament, justice, sexual harassment

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Policy Press at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 194 KB, PDF document


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