Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons

Current News

As high profile celebrities – like Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Max Clifford – go to prison for sexually abusing children, there's been much talk of "historic" sex abuse.  But for the people who were sexually abused as children and who are now adults, it is usually anything but "historic".  The effects of child abuse can stay with the victim long into their adulthood.  Some say the torment of emotions they are left with give them feelings of inability to trust other people in relationships, despair they were not listened to or believed at the time.  Angry they had no-one to protect them, or to confide in.  Doubts and feelings of self-loathing about why they "let it happen" or "didn't stop it".

If you've suffered sexual abuse as a child, reported it and were not believed or told to keep quiet about it, it is often the case that the accusation of lying makes the suffering of the abuse even worse. 

So prosecuting abusers – even decades later – is vital. 

These trials send out an important message to other abusers, that you can’t get away with it just because the victim is vulnerable and it was long ago.  Even if it takes years, the law will catch up with you. 

And it is only when abuse is proved in a court that the institutions that have been used by the abuser face up to what's gone on and take action.  It took years for the Catholic Church to acknowledge the true scale of sex abuse by priests.  Now, after the Jimmy Savile revelations, the BBC and Hospitals are much more careful.  And it will be the case with other institutions

So, even though trials of offences which took place long ago are more difficult, and the offender is now elderly, it is still important to prosecute.

People often say it’s unfair to name the suspect while the victim remains anonymous.  But in our legal system justice must not only be done but “be seen to be done”.  It is dangerous to let the criminal justice system try a defendant in secret.  So, traumatic though it is for the defendant, especially if they are acquitted, it is important for the accused to be named.  You can’t have one rule for sex offences trials and another for other trials.  That would imply that, uniquely in sex cases, the victim is likely to be lying.  And when the defendant’s name is reported it often gives other victims the confidence to come forward thereby helping the prosecution and ensuring that that victim gets justice.

Some people say that this latest spate of sex abuse trials is a witchhunt.  My view is that it is justice for people who were abused as vulnerable children, will protect other children in the future, and is long overdue.

South London Press column: Victims of child abuse - 25/07/2014

As high profile celebrities – like Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Max Clifford – go to prison for sexually abusing children, there's been much talk of "historic" sex abuse.  But...

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Southwark Pensioner's Centre celebrated its 100th anniversary with a 'Party in the Park' on Camberwell Green for its members, volunteers and supporters.

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Southwark Pensioner's Centre 100th Anniversary - 25/7/14

Southwark Pensioner's Centre celebrated its 100th anniversary with a 'Party in the Park' on Camberwell Green for its members, volunteers and supporters.

Report on my constituency activities July 2014 - 18/07/2014

You can read my report by clicking here

LeSoCo

Today I met the Interim Principal of LeSoCo, Ioan Morgan, who talked to me about plans to improve further education services for students on the college's Camberwell site. The meeting was productive and we discussed how, working with Southwark Council, LeSoCo can move forward and ensure high quality further education is locally accessible.

Meeting with LeSoCo Interim Principal - 16/7/14

Today I met the Interim Principal of LeSoCo, Ioan Morgan, who talked to me about plans to improve further education services for students on the college's Camberwell site. The meeting...

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This morning I joined local councillors Fiona Colley, Sunil Chopra and Sandra Rhule to meet parents and carers at the school gate at Hollydale Primary school in Nunhead. It was good to meet the Head Teacher, Reema Reid, and talk to some of the pupils at the Breakfast Club.

Hollydale Primary School visit - 16/7/14

This morning I joined local councillors Fiona Colley, Sunil Chopra and Sandra Rhule to meet parents and carers at the school gate at Hollydale Primary school in Nunhead. It was...

On Thursday evening I was out campaigning with local ward councillors Mark Williams and Radha Burgess and local Labour Party members in Sceaux Gardens in Camberwell. It was good to talk to residents and hear that things are going well on the estate.

Campaigning in Sceaux Gardens, Camberwell - 10/7/14 `

On Thursday evening I was out campaigning with local ward councillors Mark Williams and Radha Burgess and local Labour Party members in Sceaux Gardens in Camberwell. It was good to...

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This morning I joined residents of the Bonamy Estate for an advice surgery and walkabout with Pat Hickson and Kieri Pieri from the Tenant's Association, local councillors Richard Livingstone and Evelyn Akoto, and Ifeanyi Onabu, Robertson Egueye, Michael Mann and Sharron Smith from Southwark Council.

Bonamy Estate advice surgery & walkabout - 10/7/14

This morning I joined residents of the Bonamy Estate for an advice surgery and walkabout with Pat Hickson and Kieri Pieri from the Tenant's Association, local councillors Richard Livingstone and...

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This morning I visited Harris Boys Academy East Dulwich in Peckham Rye to meet with students and staff. Many thanks to the Principal, Chris Everett, for showing me around.

Harris Boys Academy East Dulwich visit - 09/07/2014

This morning I visited Harris Boys Academy East Dulwich in Peckham Rye to meet with students and staff. Many thanks to the Principal, Chris Everett, for showing me around.

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Today I met with Southwark Council Leader Peter John at his office in Tooley Street. We discussed the importance of parents being happy with their local schools, scholarships for young people to attend local art colleges and the Peckham Rye station area re-development.

Meeting Southwark Council Leader Peter John - 2/7/14

Today I met with Southwark Council Leader Peter John at his office in Tooley Street. We discussed the importance of parents being happy with their local schools, scholarships for young...

Nigerian schoolgirls meeting_02.07.14

Today I attended and spoke at an important meeting in Parliament with the Nigerian Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown on the Nigerian schoolgirls who remain missing after their abduction on 14th April.

Missing Nigerian schoolgirls - Meeting with the Nigerian Minister of Finance

Today I attended and spoke at an important meeting in Parliament with the Nigerian Minister of Finance Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown... Read more

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