Stockport Town Hall was host to a workshop held by the Parliament Project – an organisation which works to encourage women to participate in politics and stand for office.
Stockport MP Ann Coffey was invited to speak at the workshop about her motivation in standing to be a local Councillor and then an MP, and to talk about the day to day life of a Member of Parliament.
The Parliament Project holds workshops all over the country, and the Stockport event was attended by women who serve as Stockport Councillors, including Cllr Amanda Peers and Cllr Elise Wilson. The participants, women from all walks of life, had an interest in politics and were considering getting further involved. The workshop was designed for them to get the most out of it, by hearing the stories of women like themselves who have already been elected and whose voices are being heard on the Council and in Parliament.
Ann Coffey said:
“When I was elected to Parliament in 1992 there were only 60 women MPs in the House of Commons. That number now stands at 208, and I think the increased number of women MPs have really changed Parliament for the better. Obviously I would like to see even more women being elected to the local council and to Parliament, and so It was great to meet so many inspiring Stockport women, and hear their stories and hopes for the future.”
Hannah Stevens from the Parliament Project said:
“I would like to thank Ann for finding time in her busy schedule to share her experiences and inspire the women in the room.”
Below is my interview with Radio 5 Live on June 28th 2018 about County Lines following ,Anne Longfield,the Children’s Commissioners report that 32,500 children aged ten-to-15 years old defined themselves as being in a gang.
I have previously raised my concerns in Parliament about vulnerable children being groomed by criminal gangs to sell and supply drugs in county lines operations by criminal gangs.
In December the All Party Parliamentary Group for runaway and missing children and adults heard that 80% of police forces had observed a rise in violent crime that was a result of the expansion of County Lines operations.
This week Stockport’s Child Sexual Exploitation team will be distributing information to parents and carers about signs to look out for which might be an indication that a child is being groomed for sexual exploitation and where they can go for help if they are concerned about the behaviour of their child.
Those who wish to exploit children use a number of approaches. Most grooming starts on-line with the intention of enticing the child to send sexual images or with the aim of arranging a meeting for sex.
Sometimes children are exploited by groups of men trafficked to different places, sometimes the sexual offences against the child take place at parties. The child can feel reluctant to say what has happened because they feel they might be blamed because they have been drinking or they feel people might think they have consented.
Sometimes those who exploit children are only in their late teens themselves. Although the majority of victims are girls, boys can also be victims. There is still too much blaming of the child for their exploitation. A child is a child whatever they dress like and it is those that exploit the vulnerability of childhood that should be held responsible.
Exploitation of the immaturity of children for sexual gain no matter what form that takes is a vicious offence. For the victim it can lead to lifelong trauma.
It is much better to prevent the exploitation in the first place. This looks like a great week of action by the police and other professionals with different events to inform and support parents and carers including in Cale Green Park on Saturday.
Protecting our children needs well informed parents and a watchful community. We all have a responsibility to keep children safe.