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EVAW Bulletin, February 2015

 

EVAW to discuss sexual assault in universities with Vince Cable

 

Criminalisation of ‘sex selective abortion’ rejected by MPs

 

MPs and Peers call on Government to ratify Istanbul Convention & act on support services

 

More Parliamentary support for compulsory SRE

 

‘Rape pornography’ and ‘revenge pornography’ criminalised

 

 

EVAW to discuss sexual assault in universities with Vince Cable

EVAW sent our legal briefing on universities’ and colleges’ legal obligations to ensure women students are safe and equal to Business Secretary Vince Cable this month. He has agreed to meet us and discuss our concerns and recommendations soon. There is increasing attention to poor responses to sexual assault, as well as other forms of abuse, in our universities and colleges, some of whom may be acting unlawfully. The Association of Colleges, which represents further education colleges, has also agreed to meet us. We look forward to reporting back on outcomes.

 

Criminalisation of ‘sex selective abortion’ rejected by MPs

EVAW was among those lobbying MPs this month to vote against an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill, tabled by Chair of the All-Party ‘pro-life’ group Fiona Bruce MP, which would have criminalised abortion sought on the grounds of sex of the foetus. Like many others we were concerned that the amendment was not based on evidence of this practice happening in the UK, and many of our members worried that if passed it might have led to a chilling effect on the relationship between health workers and vulnerable women potentially needing to disclose abuse. We were relieved when MPs rejected the amendment, and hope for renewed attention to the critical importance of specialist BME women’s services which are often the only place for women facing abuse to turn.

 

MPs and Peers call on Government to ratify Istanbul Convention & act on support services

EVAW was among the signatories of a letter in The Times this month published on the day the Joint Committee on Human Rights published its in-depth report on violence against women and girls in the UK. We back the JCHR’s finding that the UK should ratify the Istanbul Convention as soon as possible but that the patchy provision of life-saving support services is part of what is preventing the UK from doing so.

 

EVAW is calling for a new law to ensure that women and girls who experience abuse have access to specialist services, and we note the All-Party Group on Domestic and Sexual Violence report this month which similarly calls for a needs-based approach to the provision of services for survivors, in order to overcome current funding systems which are ‘not fit for purpose’.

 

More Parliamentary support for compulsory SRE

EVAW welcomed the Education Select Committee’s report on SRE and PSHE in schools this month which calls for SRE as part of PSHE to be compulsory in all primary and secondary schools. It was published as a Bristol University study found that more than 4 in 10 teenage schoolgirls in England have experienced sexual coercion, and recent ONS crime statistics showed that younger people in England and Wales are significantly more likely to blame women and girls for being raped than the general population. We await the Government’s response to this report and the JCHR report which echoed this call.

 

‘Rape pornography’ and ‘revenge pornography’ criminalised

Finally, EVAW and our partners Rape Crsis South London’ and Durham University professor Clare McGlynn welcomed the criminalisation of both ‘rape pornography’ and so-called ‘revenge pornography’ becoming law this month. We campaigned for action to end the availability of ‘rape pornography’ and hope to see the law fully implemented.

 

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 Trust, Rosa, JMG, Trust for London and Amnesty International UK.