"I am so proud to receive this award from Jeremy Corbyn. I hope other local authorities will follow our lead and set up Safe Zones wherever necessary and we stand ready to support them, even while the Tory government fails to." Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council
At Labour Party Conference 2018, Jeremy Corbyn awarded Ealing Labour the Local Government Best Practice Award for our groundbreaking work to protect women from harassment and intimidation outside the Marie Stopes Clinic on Mattock Lane.
For twenty years anti-choice activists have gathered outside the Marie Stopes clinic in central Ealing in order to target and intimidate vulnerable women who are likely going through extremely difficult and challenging personal experiences.
At our Full Council meeting in October 2017, Ealing Labour joined forces with local pro-choice campaigners, Sister Supporter, to investigate the need for a Safe Zone around the clinic. Residents, Council officers and campaigners came together to create the largest ever public consultation in Ealing – and what we found was harrowing.
Staff of the clinic reported being hounded to their cars and written to by anti-choice groups at their homes. Users of the clinic, often blocked from entering, were called “murderers”, told to “change their lifestyles” and that they would be “haunted” by their baby. Misleading literature linking abortion to cancer, medically inaccurate foetus dolls and graphic images purporting to be of aborted foetuses, were regular sights around the clinic.
In April 2018 the Cabinet agreed to establish a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) with the support of 90% of local residents.
This is the first Safe Zone in the UK and eight other local authorities are now investigating similar measures. Ealing Labour have always said that this is not just about our Borough, but showing that a national resolution to this issue is important to protect all women who face the same sort of abuse across the country. We are calling on the government to roll out Safe Zones nationwide.
"It's a great honour to receive this award for our work developing the country's first Safe Zone. But our work isn't over yet. We must continue to push government to take this issue seriously nationwide and end this postcode lottery." Cllr Joanna Camadoo, Cabinet Member for Community Safety