North East women Reclaiming the Night on Saturday 26th November

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date: 24 November 2011

embargo: calling note/for immediate release

Hundreds of North East women will be coming together on the evening of Saturday 26th November as part of the region's Reclaim the Night event in Newcastle, hosted by the Northern TUC.

Attendees will be assembling at the Haymarket (top of Northumberland Street) and then walking en masse down to Old Eldon Square for a rally and candle-lighting. Speakers at the rally include, Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, Clare Williams of the TUC Women's Group and Unison Regional Convenor and Huffty from West End Women and Girls Centre.

In Britain there are an estimated 47,000 rapes every year. Each year an estimated 300,000 women are sexually assaulted (British Crime Survey 2001), yet Britain's conviction rate is the lowest ever at just 5.3%. When Reclaim the Night marches were first started in the 1970s women were appalled that only 1 in 3 rape complaints led to a conviction; today that figure is 1 in 20.

This is why the Northern TUC has revived the tradition of Reclaim the Night. All women have the right to use public spaces both in the daytime and after dark without the fear of sexual harassment and assault. Join with women around the world to mark the United Nations International Day to End Violence Against Women and take back your night.

Chair of the Northern TUC's Women's Group, Clare Williams said: 'This is our first year holding this event in Newcastle and at a time when the impact of government public spending cuts are increasing women's vulnerability, and cutting back on the vital support services that support them, I really hope the women - and men - of the city get behind such a worthwhile cause and make this year's turnout one of the best yet.

'Everyone is welcome to attend and it is an evening of both celebration and reflection and an excellent way for people to highlight that no-one should live in fear in our city and society.'

MP for Newcastle Central, Chi Onwurah said:'Any woman should be able to walk down any street at any time dressed in any fashion and feel secure. The fact that this is not the case in the UK in 2011 is a terrible indictment of our society. At a time women are being disproportionately targeted by a Government completely out of touch with our everyday experiences, it is more important than ever to reclaim the night.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Assemble: 6.30pm, the Haymarket, top of Northumberland Street

Rally: 7.00pm at Old Eldon Square

- Northern TUC press releases www.tuc.org.uk/northern national releases www.tuc.org.uk and www.twitter.com/tucnews

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

- For TUC advice and information on the world of work www.workSMART.org.uk

Media contacts:

Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional Secretary T: 0191 227 5565; M: 07766250074; E: krowan@tuc.org.uk

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