Sadiq Khan speaks of ‘epidemic of violence against women and girls’

The Mayor of London said misogyny should be a ‘hate crime’ (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
The Mayor of London said misogyny should be a ‘hate crime’ (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said there was “an epidemic of violence against women and girls” in the UK, while speaking at a community meeting held following the death of teenager Elianne Andam.

Mr Khan met with community leaders at the Wellness Centre in the Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon as part of his Violence Reduction Unit’s MyEnds programme.

Community leaders quickly responded to reports of the attack on the 15-year-old on Wednesday morning, going to the scene to console “traumatised” witnesses.

Elianne Andam
Elianne Andam was attacked after getting off a bus in Croydon on Wednesday morning (Metropolitan Police/PA)

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with Elianne’s murder and remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on October 3.

The capital has seen a series of high-profile cases in recent years where a woman has been killed, or is suspected of being killed, by a man.

They include the murder of Sarah Everard by serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens in March 2021 and the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa in September 2021.

The Mayor of London said misogyny should be a “hate crime”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “I’ve been criticised for this, but I think across the country, there’s an epidemic of violence against women and girls.

“Across the country, every three days a woman or girl is killed at the hands of a man, so we have got to make sure the police are addressing issues of institutional sexism.

“We’ve got to make sure boys … in primary and secondary schools, in particular, are taught from an early age about how their relationships are affecting girls.

“Also, make sure we educate young boys on TikTok and social media that there are alternative messages that young people are receiving that are negative about what a man should be, and we have to make sure we rebut that.”

Donna Murray-Turner, chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Board for Croydon
Donna Murray-Turner, chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Board for Croydon, said ‘work must be done with men’ (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Donna Murray-Turner, chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Board for Croydon, and one of the first responders at the scene on Wednesday, said she believed “work must be done with men”.

She told PA: “It’s not women attacking women, there is no ‘womensphere’ but there is a whole manosphere, I have been online and I have seen it.

“What work is being done with men to tackle their mindset; to tackle all those historic aspects of masculinity.”

She explained that there was “nothing more” that could be done to tackle the issue of youth crime.

Sadiq Khan, second right, during the meeting with Croydon community leaders
Sadiq Khan, second right, met with community leaders (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“There is nothing more that either the police or the local authority could have done,” Ms Murray-Turner said.

“But one of the things that we (youth leaders) are good at, is calling out where we see gaps.

“More female-focused intervention is being brought straightaway to plug in gaps around girls, understanding positive relationships; the focus around the youth is often very male through the lens.”

The Mayor of London praised Croydon’s youth leaders for their response to the stabbing, saying “we all saw the best of Croydon” on Wednesday.

People laid flowers near the scene
People laid flowers near the scene in Wellesley Road (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

He said: “What we saw a couple of days ago wasn’t just the brutal, horrific murder of this young child and the worst of humanity …

“But we also saw the best of Croydon, with the response from the bus drivers, the police officers and the passersby, but also our youth workers and community leaders coming together within minutes, providing support to the friends of Elianne.

“They’re still providing support to children in schools to Elianne’s friends, to Elianne’s family. We know that Elianne’s brutal, horrific murder, it’s not just left her family and friends traumatised … but Croydon too.”