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EVAW Bulletin, June 2014

 

MPs abuse and threaten women

 

UK takes a stand on ending sexual violence in conflict

 

Action on rape justice & EVAW debates anonymity on Moral Maze

 

Parliament says criminalising ‘rape porn’ is a ‘human rights-enhancing measure’

 

Experts tell MPs that schools must act to prevent abuse

 

EVAW shares experiences with New Zealand visitor

 

 

MPs abuse and threaten women

Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock issued a full written apology for abuse of a vulnerable woman constituent this month, the very day before Conservative Michael Fabricant MP tweeted a threat to punch newspaper commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. And news recently emerged that Conservative MP David Ruffley has been cautioned for common assault of his former partner in March this year.

 

Mumsnet has just published a poll of its users which found that 9 in 10 of them believe Westminster political culture is sexist. EVAW has still seen no response to our publication in May of a damning review of the three main parties’ internal policies on sexual harassment which found them “hopelessly inadequate”.

 

EVAW wants to see local and national political parties take a tough stand on this kind of abuse. Their policy on violence against women and girls, set to be a key general election issue, will otherwise have no credibility.

 

UK takes a stand on ending sexual violence in conflict

The ground-breaking Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit this month was the culmination of many years work by women activists all over the world who have advocated for victims of rape in war. EVAW and our members supported the conference but also questioned the UK’s ongoing policy toward asylum-seeking women who have experienced sexual violence in a letter published in The Guardian.

 

Action on rape justice & EVAW debates anonymity on Moral Maze

EVAW welcomed the launch this month of a new National Rape Action Plan by the CPS and the police. It  focuses on enforcing the law regarding examining what steps were taken to ensure consent was gained as well as looking at the actions of the complainant in a rape case.  It is essential that any such initiative is accompanied by ensuring that there are specialist support services available to women, whether or not they report, at any time that they need them.

 

The reports on Jimmy Savile’s offending in NHS institutions this month is a reminder of the way repeat sexual offenders target victims in places and cultures where they can be confident of impunity. High level political leadership is needed to tackle this.

 

When much policy and practice in this area is moving forwards it was a little disappointing this month to receive the standard media request on sexual violence – to debate suspect anonymity, a retrogressive proposal which is not even on the table as the Government considered it and threw it out in 2012. EVAW Director Holly Dustin nevertheless appeared on BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze to defend the status quo (from about 26 mins in).

 

Parliament says criminalising ‘rape porn’ is a ‘human rights-enhancing measure’

We were thrilled that MPs and Lords on the Joint Committee on Human Rights agreed with Rape Crisis South London and Professors McGlynn and Rackley that ‘rape porn’ causes cultural harm and criminalising it is a ‘human rights-enhancing measure’. EVAW has supported this highly successful campaign and looks forward to it being debated as part of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill in the Lords in July.

 

Experts tell MPs that schools must act to prevent abuse

Experts on EVAW’s Prevention Network made submissions to the Education Select Committee’s Inquiry into Sex and Relationships Education/Personal Social Health and Economic education this month on action schools should be required to take on sexual consent, tackling high levels of teen relationship abuse, FGM, sexual harassment at school, ‘sexting’ and boys’ use of pornography, amongst other issues. There is a near unanimous call for Sex and Relationships Education to be made compulsory to tackle these issues.

 

EVAW shares experiences with New Zealand Minister

At a roundtable jointly chaired by EVAW Co-Chair Marai Larasi and Deputy London Mayor Stephen Greenhalgh, our Board member Janet Veitch listened to New Zealand Minister Tariana Turia talk about progress tackling violence against women, particularly women in the Maori community, and shared information about strategic work in London and EVAW’s campaigning work for this approach to be taken by every level of government in the UK.

 

Please support our campaigning for a safer world for women and girls by making a donation. Every penny helps so many thanks!

 

We are very grateful for the support of all our supporters and funders, including Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn, Sigrid Rausing, Rosa, JMG, Trust for London and Amnesty International UK.

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For more information about EVAW see www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk 

 

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