NEWS
18/02/2018 21:13 GMT

Baftas 2018: Domestic Violence Activists 'Sisters Uncut' Storm The Red Carpet

Protest raises concern over Government's Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.

Hannah Mckay / Reuters
Protesters jump on the red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall.

Campaigners have gate-crashed the red carpet ahead of the 2018 Baftas in protest at the Government’s domestic violence policies.

‘Sisters Uncut’ said it was behind the protest that saw a group of women wearing T-shirts featuring the slogan ‘Time’s Up Theresa’ disrupt the start of the Royal Albert Hall event.

Chanting “sisters united will never be defeated”, they took part in a sit-down protest over the Government’s Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.

The group, which stormed the red carpet at the 2015 premiere of the film ‘Suffragette’, argues the proposed legislation fails to offer enough support for survivors of domestic violence.

It adds that the Bill is a “dangerous distraction” from public funding cuts that have “decimated the domestic violence sector”, inclduing do

Following the protest, Sisters Uncut tweeted: “We just crashed the #EEBAFTAs red carpet to say #TimesUpTheresa: your DV bill is a dangerous distraction from what we really need, funding for refuges and specialist domestic violence services.

“Theresa May’s upcoming Domestic Violence Bill is a dangerous distraction.

“Survivors will be locked up by a harmful criminal justice system, locked out of refuges or locked into violent relationships.

“Survivors are already being arrested when they report abuse, and giving the police more power will increase this.”

Suzanne Da Costa, a domestic violence helpline worker who took part in the protest, said in a statement: “Imagine calling the police for help and ending up in a police cell – it’s incredibly traumatic and a story I’ve heard too often from survivors.

“We shouldn’t be giving the police more power, we should be giving power back to survivors.”

The protest came as stars walking the red carpet made a powerful statement against sexual harassment by wearing black dresses.

Some 200 British actors who co-signed a letter of support of the Time’s Up initiative, which funds legal support for those who have been sexually harassed at work.

The letter read: “As we approach the Baftas – our industry’s time for celebration and acknowledgment – we hope we can celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity.

“Perhaps Time’s Up seems a million miles away to you – started by a group of women with privilege. The truth is, we are all workers, and whether we’re in the limelight or in the shadows, our voices matter. With our collective power, we can galvanise others.

“If you have said ‘time’s up’, if the stories you have read in the papers have resonated and distressed you – join us in shifting the dial. Let’s make 2018 the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse. This is your moment too.”