It’s little surprise that, amid the continuing pandemic and seemingly endless negativity, many people are avoiding the news right now. But while that might feel like a necessary safeguard from anxiety, knowledge is power.
That’s why, each week, we round up the stories you need to know about. They’re not always the events that make the front page. Rather, these are the headlines we think women who rise need to be aware of.
Met Police officer accused of rape
The Metropolitan Police is investigating claims that an officer raped two of his female colleagues and then remained in service.
The officer in question is yet to face a misconduct hearing three years on from the accusations being made, and has not been charged or suspended.
And while his accusers have been awarded compensation, an investigation by the BBC and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has raised questions about the Met’s handling of the case.
The force is believed to now be investigating whether details of the women’s allegations were leaked to the officer accused, while the women say they have been “cast aside”.
The Met says the male officer has now been taken off public-facing duties pending a misconduct enquiry.
No 10 race advisor quits following ‘divisive’ report
Boris Johnson’s special advisor on race has resigned amid a growing row over racial disparity in the UK.
Samuel Kasumu, Number 10’s special advisor for civil society and communities, is to leave his post in May.
His resignation was revealed within days of publication of the government’s report on racial disparities, which concluded the UK no longer has a problem with systemic racism.
A No 10 spokesman insisted Kasumu’s resignation was already on the cards, saying “Any suggestion that this decision… is linked to the Cred report is completely inaccurate.”
Raab accused of legal breach following foreign aid cut
The foreign secretary Dominic Raab has been warned he’s in breach of the law, after cuts to Britain’s international aid budget came into force without parliamentary approval.
A group of 28 MPs from seven political parties wrote to Raab this week, claiming the move is illegal as it fails to reach the aid commitment set by David Cameron.
It follows a decision to deny MPs the right to veto proposals to slash foreign aid from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of GDP.
Foreign Office lawyers are said to believe a clause allowing ministers to reduce aid spending in times of ‘financial turbulence’ means legislation need not be put to parliament.
But Lib Dem Layla Moran, who co-ordinated the letter, told the i paper MPs must be allowed to vote, insisting “The clear intention of the current law cannot be ridden roughshod over.”
Met officer found guilty of Neo-Nazi group membership
A Metropolitan PC who joined a banned Neo-Nazi group has become the first British police officer to be convicted of a terrorism offence.
Benjamin Hannam, 22, was found guilty of membership of the banned extremist group National Action (NA) and of having terror documents about knife combat and explosives use.
He was also convicted of lying on his Met Police application, while he admitted possessing an indecent image of a child – a charge which would have been the subject of a separate trial.
Hannam has now been released on bail pending sentencing later this month. He is currently suspended from duty.
Government accused of failing young people on sexual abuse in schools
A surge in complaints of sexual abuse in schools shows the government is “failing young people”, the MP Jess Phillips has claimed.
Labour this week called for “swift and decisive” action after more than 9,000 reports of abuse in state and private schools across the UK were posted on the website, Everyone’s Invited.
The platform allows survivors to anonymously share experiences of sexual assault and abuse, as well as stories of harassment and misogyny.
In an open letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson, Phillips and her colleague, shadow education secretary Kate Green, warned failure to tackle the issue “sends early signals to young girls that these actions do not carry consequences for perpetrators, normalising sexism and abuse.”
They’ve called for the urgent establishment of an independent inquiry.
Concerns mount for missing student Richard Okorogheye
Police have called on a student who has been missing for more than a week to make urgent contact to confirm his safety.
Richard Okorogheye, who has sickle cell disease, has not been seen by his family since March 22, when he left home in the Ladbroke Grove area of London without his medication.
The 19-year-old was spotted on CCTV taking a taxi to Loughton, Essex, but police investigating say there has been no activity on his phone since.
And while specialist search officers and dogs have been searching a forest near where Mr Okorogheye was last seen since Thursday, no clues have been uncovered.
Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, says the search for him was delayed because officers “did nothing” when he was initially reported missing.
Calls for international treaty to address pandemic threat
More than 20 world leaders this week joined forces in calling for a new global treaty to help the world prepare for future pandemics.
The group, including Boris Johnson, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron said Covid posed the biggest challenge since World War Two.
And in an article published across a host of global newspapers, they conceded the coronavirus crisis has proved that “nobody is safe until everyone is safe”.
It came as the UK business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, insisted the UK would not export vaccine supplies until it had been able to build a surplus.