During autumn and winter 2022/23, we have a major focus on activities to end male violence against women and girls, and on supporting the national Back Off Campaign to prevent harassment of women attending abortion clinics.

MK Fawcett supports the national Fawcett Society’s action to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). Local actions include writing to Milton Keynes parish councils, encouraging them to become White Ribbon accredited. Milton Keynes Council has itself achieved White Ribbon accreditation and is encouraging parishes to do likewise to make Milton Keynes the first White Ribbon City.

We contribute to the annual VOWMK White Ribbon Day Vigil held at the Milton Keynes Rose on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. We are also campaigning for a pillar, at MK Rose, dedicated to this event.

Other actions have included writing to our local MPs to ask them to vote in support of Making Misogyny a Hate Crime.

Our support of the Back-off campaign is at a very early stage. We are in contact with colleagues at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), both nationally and at two linked BPAS clinics in Milton Keynes and Northampton. We are aware that visitors to the Northampton clinic have experienced harassment and that this has naturally proved very upsetting to clients and staff.

In October 2022 MPs voted in favour of an amendment to the Public Order Bill, which will establish buffer zones around clinics in England and Wales to prevent intimidation and harassment. When this becomes law in 2023, we will monitor progress in the local area. We will also continue to express our concern about the unacceptable situation in Northern Ireland, where commissioned abortion services have still not been set up.