The government is pushing through new laws that threaten our fundamental human rights. We’re calling for the Policing Act, the Nationality and Borders Act and the Public Order Bill to be scrapped and for the Human Rights Act to be protected.
- June 21, 2022Tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd June 2022), the government will introduce a new ‘Bill of Rights’ to Parliament, in a bid to replace the current Human Rights ...
- June 09, 2022Today (9th June 2022), the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) and Rights of Women have released a joint statement responding to the new Publi...
- May 11, 2022On 10th May 2022, the government has confirmed its legislative agenda for the next year as part of the annual Queen’s Speech. While we welcome the ann...
- READ: Joint briefing for House of Lords ahead of Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Serious Violence Duty and Serious Violence Reduction Orders
- READ: Joint briefing on the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill for House of Lords Second Reading September 2021
- READ: Joint briefing on the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill for Report Stage House of Commons July 2021
Our fundamental human rights are under attack.
The government continues to pass new laws that will reverse hard won rights and protections and leave us unable to challenge government decisions or hold institutions to account. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (known as the Policing Act) and the Nationality and Borders Act contain measures that will increase risks of violence against women and girls while reducing access to support and safety.
The Policing ACT
The government has used public outrage about violence against women and girls to introduce its regressive Policing Act – a law that increases police powers, diminishes our collective freedoms and deepens inequality.
The Policing Act is an attack on our fundamental human rights – including the right to protest, which is woven into the long and rich history of women’s rights movements and is crucial for social change. The law will have little positive impact on violence against women, as it fails to tackle the root causes of male violence and prevent abuse. What’s more, increased police powers will worsen racial inequality – through increased police profiling and intrusion into the lives of Black and ethnic minority communities.
The police already abuse their power to commit acts of violence against women and girls, while failing to properly address reports of violence against us. We know that:
- At least 15 serving or former police officers have killed women since 2009
- 2,000 police officers have been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, over the past four years.
- More than 750 Met Police employees have faced sexual misconduct allegations since 2010, and only 83 were sacked
- Undercover police officers deceived protesters they were spying on into sexual relationships, with the knowledge of senior officers who had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy
- One woman a week reports domestic abuse by a police officer and a super-complaint highlighted systemic failures to hold officers accountable
- The police inspectorate found police are failing to use protective measures in domestic abuse and sexual violence cases and called for radical, whole system change in how the police respond to violence against women and girls
Increasing police powers without radically overhauling how the police operate is dangerous to women.
The Nationality and Borders ACT
We all have the right to be safe from male violence, no matter where we are from. But the government’s Nationality and Borders Act criminalises women and girls crossing borders to seek safety – many of whom are survivors of some of the worst forms of violence.
This law will leave countless women and girls without safe routes into the UK – leaving them at risk of violence at the hands of smugglers, traffickers and others who may abuse and exploit them. By making it harder to claim international protection, more women will face being locked up in immigration detention where they are vulnerable to abuse, harm and being returned to countries where they are not safe from violence.
The government’s ‘hostile environment’ already stops migrants from accessing public services and puts them at risk of immigration enforcement. This leaves thousands of women more afraid of the police than their perpetrator and trapped in abusive situations.
The Human Rights Act
In addition to these new, harmful laws, the government plans to overhaul the Human Rights Act, which protects our fundamental rights and provides the only legal tool for the public to hold the police to account for serious failings. This legal protection is fundamental to women’s rights, as we know that an overwhelming number of police failings relate to sexual violence and domestic abuse. This will have a devastating impact on how we challenge breaches of our rights.
To make matters worse, the government plans to limit our ability to challenge its decisions. By changing access to judicial review, the public could lose a vital tool to challenge the government. This will have a significant impact on women, who have relied on judicial review to hold the police to account for failing to protect them from rapists like John Worboys. In this case, survivors used judicial review to hold the police to account, which resulted in the creation of a duty of care on the police to adequately investigate violence against women.
This is a moment in history that will shape the future for generations to come. This is urgent – now more than ever we need to join together to protect our rights.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition joins a wide cross-section of society in calling for both the Policing Bill and the Nationality and Borders Bill to be scrapped, and for the Human Rights Act and judicial review to be protected.