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Mayor: 'No woman or girl should have to live in fear of going out'

The region's mayor says there will be a "comprehensive and radical strategy" to "change the story on violence towards women and girls" in Greater Manchester. 

Andy Burnham said he and his colleagues are "horrified" by the tragic case of Sarah Everard (pictured), who was last seen on 3 March in Clapham, south London, on her way home from a friend's house.  

Human remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford, Kent, on Wednesday and detectives confirmed on Friday that they belong to Ms Everard.

A police officer was arrested and is being questioned on suspicion of the 33-year-old marketing executive's murder.  

Ms Everard's family have paid tribute to her, saying she "brought so much joy to our lives" and was a "shining example to us all".

In a statement released on Thursday evening (11 March), Mr Burnham said women shouldn't have to change their behaviour because of "unacceptable behaviour by men" and leaders in Greater Manchester are "committed to tackling the attitudes and behaviours that have led to where we are today". 

The Labour mayor said: "The Deputy Mayor [Beverley Hughes] and I, together with all our colleagues, want to say how horrified we are at what has happened to Sarah Everard. The pain her family must be going through is unimaginable and we send them our love.

“No woman or girl should have to live in fear of going out. No woman or girl should have to think about changing their normal route, whether or not to wear headphones, hold keys between their fingers, wear trainers in case they feel threatened and need to run or have to let family and friends know they got home safely. 

“Women shouldn’t have to change their behaviour because of unacceptable behaviour by men. But women have been doing this all their lives because the threats and dangers to women and girls are still all too real and prevalent in our society." 


Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester 

Mr Burnham went on: “As men, we need to take responsibility for this and consider what changes we all need to make to our behaviour so that all women in Greater Manchester are able to live their lives with freedom from fear, harassment, intimidation and violence. We all need to call out the unacceptable behaviour and misogyny that makes women the target for so much abuse and violence.

“We are committed to tackling the attitudes and behaviours that have led to where we are today and will shortly be consulting the public on a gender-based abuse strategy for Greater Manchester. 

"This will be a comprehensive and radical strategy to change the story on violence towards women and girls in Greater Manchester and will be explicitly clear about the responsibility of all men to play their part in that.”

Thousands of women have been sharing their anxieties and anger about staying safe when alone in public places online. 

Vigils highlighting women's safety on the streets are being organised following Ms Everard's disappearance. 

Reclaim These Streets events are planned across the UK on Saturday, including in Clapham where she was last seen.

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