Why MP Jess Phillips wants us to know the names of every woman killed in an act of violence

Every March, MP Jess Phillips stands up in the House of Commons, and reads out one by one the names of every woman killed in an act of violence.

It's become an annual ritual for the Birmingham Yardley MP, to coincide with the week of International Women's Day.

Today she took to her feet saying "Killed women are not vanishingly rare, killed women are common."

Ahead of her gesture this afternoon, she told ITV News that violence against women is no longer a women only issue.

"What men can do is take some of the load of talking back.

If you see someone shouting at a woman, or sidling up to a woman on a street, and you think it's inappropriate - say something...If you hear someone cat-calling a woman as she tries to go to work, you be the one who tells them they shouldn't do that, it can't always be on us"

- Jess Phillips MP

She says she doesn't deny that men are also at risk of aggression, abuse and violence on the streets, but they, and women, are both at risk of men.

"This isn't us and them. Don't let those who don't want to do anything about this, divide women and men so this issue becomes too difficult. We can solve this if we do it together."

- Jess Phillips MP

She first took to her feet in the Commons in 2016, when she was first elected, saying,

"In 2015, a woman was murdered in the UK every three days - women murdered by men who they should have been able to trust.

Commonly, women are murdered by their partners, husbands or boyfriends, but also in some cases by their fathers, sons or brothers. We wish to give voice to honour the women who died."

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last month suggested domestic abuse-related offences recorded by police forces in England and Wales rose by 10% in a year, despite overall crime falling in the pandemic.

842,813 domestic abuse-related offences were recorded by police forces in England and Wales in the year ending September 2020 - up from 769,611 the previous year.

Figures provided to the Commons Home Affairs Committee suggested calls and contacts logged by the National Domestic Abuse Helpline increased by 34% to 114,986 between April and December, compared to 85,771 for the same period in 2019.

Who is Jess Phillips?

The Labour MP is the Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding.

Famously straight talking, she was elected as MP for Yardley, in Birmingham, in 2016.

She ran to be leader of the Labour Party in 2020, and in 2019, as she was re-elected, she didn't hold back about what was wrong with her party.

Before becoming an MP, she worked with women who were victims of domestic violence, managing refuges.

In an interview to mark this year's International Women's Day, she said that women's position in society has been "set back" by the coronavirus pandemic, and will likely lead to more domestic abuse in the future.

She said that the risk of violence against women had risen during the lockdown, with its reduction in chances for women to interact with others, and seek help.

She also said the women's economic independence will have been affected because, "Women's jobs are the first to go and they'll be the last to come back, and we see over and over again all sorts of harrowing statistics about parents, mothers especially, being 10 times more likely to have lost their job or to be due to lose their job in the next few months."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that programmes tackling domestic violence in England and Wales will receive an extra £19 million in his Budget.