The sexual assault scandals that have plagued both Conservatives and Labour for the last two weeks have cast a dark shadow over both parties' failure to protect many of their youngest and most vulnerable members. Even though some MPs have been wrongly forced to resign from ministerial positions due to ridiculous tabloid headlines, like Michael Fallon for example, other incidents have shown many activists still feel too intimidated and frightened to come forward with their own stories.

"It is astonishing political parties cannot follow the example set by institutions that work with vulnerable people"

One Conservative Party member I spoke to once suggested the party should have safeguarding measures in place in the wake of Elliott Johnson's suicide in 2015. When I was chairman of a Conservative Future group, I was astounded there was no safeguarding policy in place when it was brought to my attention one member I knew was supposedly being abused by another. It meant the party could essentially do nothing about it unless the whistleblower or the abused went to the police themselves. It is astonishing political parties cannot follow the example set by institutions that work with vulnerable people, like schools and hospitals, and adopt safeguarding policies to defend their junior activists.

The latest incident brought to Blasting News' attention which involved racism in the Conservative Party at Southampton demonstrates that at a grassroots level, many older members are making younger ones feel unwelcome due to their race or gender. Actively trying to stop someone from being selected as a local election candidate because of the colour of their skin is a practice that belongs in a bygone age.

That is not to say every single member of a political party is like that. The majority of activists are hard-working, committed, friendly and treat others in their party like family. In every local party, there are bound to be a few rotten people who spoil politics for the majority of members, but luckily they are in the minority.

"Joining a political party can be a daunting experience"

Joining a political party can be a daunting experience for anyone under the age of 21. Some people I know have joined at the age of 11. Older and more experienced activists can be intimidating for these youngsters. To think their political party does not have a safeguarding officer who they can report inappropriate behaviour to must make many of them feel alone and isolated, especially in the case of Southampton Itchen Conservative Association, who buried a racist incident and failed to deal with it. If this association had a safeguarding representative, they could have taken this scandal further and protected those affected by it.

All the political parties have agreed to introduce a code of conduct to protect parliamentary staff. If more incidents regarding racism, bullying and harassment come to light in local parties, it is time the main political parties adopted similar measures at a grassroots level too.