LabourToo issues open letter to Jeremy Corbyn, calling for an independent complaints process for sexual harassment and abuse cases
20th November 2017
Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party
House of Commons
Dear Jeremy and NEC members,
As a result of our own experiences, and those of women in our party, we set up the #LabourToo
campaign for women in the Labour Party to share, anonymously and confidentially, their
experiences of harassment, assault and abuse by others in the Party. The moment generated
by the recent revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior and subsequent outpouring of
women’s recognition of that experience led us to reflect on whether the Labour Party also has a
responsibility to prevent sexual harassment and abuse taking place and to protect women who
do experience it.
We are collating the stories we receive and will be presenting a report to the Labour Party in
December which we hope will shed a light on the extent to which women experience
harassment and abuse at all levels within the Labour Party. We aren’t in this to name and
shame; but to try and encourage the Labour Party to take these issues more seriously. We will
edit or exclude any accounts we receive which might identify either victims or perpetrators, and
present those we do include as anonymous case studies designed to demonstrate the range
and extent of the problem.
We welcome the ongoing discussions in Parliament about the ways in which to support staff
who wish to make a complaint. However, we believe that these issues are a wider problem
within the Party – sexual harassment does not begin and end in Westminster, but exists at all
levels, from members, to elected volunteers, Councillors and Parliamentarians.
We are glad that the Party has published a new sexual harassment policy, and announced the
support of independent specialists to work alongside those wanting to make a complaint.
However, we believe that the reform needs to go further.
We think there are a few simple steps the Labour Party could take to better support victims of
domestic and sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination to come forward as well as to make
a real shift in the culture of the Party:
1. A complaints process which is fully independent from the Party, with third party
reporting and independent, expert advisers to assist internal party panels of NEC or
NCC members when making determinations in all complaints
2. Safeguarding training for all party staff, elected officials and those holding voluntary
positions within the party both locally and nationally, which includes a clear set of
guidelines about appropriate behaviour, alongside training for party members to be
good bystanders who know how to challenge inappropriate behaviour and support
victims if they come forward.
3. A comprehensive set of policies on bullying and harassment, sexual harassment,
domestic abuse, abuse, assault and sexual assault – including clear protections
against victimisation for those reporting incidents, in line with the Equality Act.
4. A new section in the Rule Book requiring members not to share confidential
information they become aware of as part of a complaints process – with penalties for
breach of these rules.
The Labour Party is the Party of championing women’s rights, and we hope that under your
Leadership, we can once again lead the way in ensuring that those within our Party are able to
have the confidence to report any instance of abuse, assault or harassment without prejudice.
The LabourToo Team