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Girling: Let's provide safe havens to tackle this "unspoken disgrace"

Campaigning MEP Julie Girling is calling on the European Parliament to investigate and put a stop to sexual abuse within the institution.


And she is encouragding fellow MEPs to offer "safe havens" to complainants by giving them employment while their cases are investigated.


Today she backed a cross-party resolution adopted by the Parliament in Strasbourg which condemned any predatory behaviour by MEPs and senior officials, called for politicians to ensure they acted as role  models, and urged the parliament authorities to encourage victims to come forward with official complaints.


The demands follow a series of allegations in British and continental media relating to abuse and sexual harassment of junior staff by MEPs.


Mrs Girling, who represents the South West and Gibraltar and sits on the parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Equaliy, said: "It is time this issue was treated seriously.
"People affected clearly have not trusted the system enough to complain publicly. They have feared for their jobs, so kept their silence.


"I am encouraging MEPs to say they will offer safe-haven employment to people who have the courage to lodge complaints.


"This problem has been the unspoken disgrace of this place for too long. The machinery is there in the institutions to deal with complaints - but people have not come forward.
"Now people affected have begun speaking, we need to have formal investigations and action taken where necessary.


"Yesterday we heard from an MEP who has been a victim too.
"People need to be encouraged and cared for when they come forward. Where there is a climate of fear we must create one of trust.


"People must know that complaints will be treated seriously and the truth will out."

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