Bishop of St Albans appeals for early intervention to prevent serious youth crime

Bishop St Albans June 2015On 3rd September 2019 Baroness Neville-Rolfe asked the Government “what steps they plan to take to support the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting, and the courts in sentencing, those involved in gang-related offences, illegal migration and petty offences”. The Bishop of St Albans asked a follow-up question:

Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I share with many others gratitude for what the Government are doing to have an integrated approach to serious violence and youth violence in particular, and I welcome having more police because we need to have safer streets. But by the time we get to prosecuting and sentencing it is all too late. Very often people have been left injured and dead. How much are we investing way before that, particularly at school level?

Will the noble and learned Lord say a little more about what support is being given to our schools? In particular, when, for example, children are found with knives, does this trigger a safeguarding response so that we are trying to deal with the causes, rather than just the results?

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Bishop of Rochester highlights needs of vulnerable women prisoners

17.10 RochesterOn 25th July 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Farmer (Con) that the House “takes note of the needs of women in the criminal justice system”. The Bishop of Rochester contributed to the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, for obtaining this debate and for his unstinting efforts in this area, not least the welcome emphasis in his most recent report on relationships, which he expounded so clearly when introducing this debate.

I am sorry that the right reverend Prelates the Bishop of Gloucester and the Bishop of Newcastle are not in their places today, because they both take a very close and informed interest in the issues around women in the criminal justice system. However, I have visited a good number of women’s prisons over the last few years and, in making those visits, I have been both shocked and inspired.

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Church Commissioners written answers: serious youth violence

spelman170119On 25th July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered two written questions, from Vicky Foxcroft MP, regarding serious youth violence:

Vicky Foxcroft (Lab):

(i) 279089 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England plans to take to implement the decision taken at the General Synod in July 2019 in relation to the motion on Tackling Serious Youth Violence.

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Bishop of St Albans asks Government about tackling domestic abuse in rural areas

Bishop of St AlbansOn 23rd July 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer, from Baroness Williams of Trafford, regarding domestic abuse in rural areas:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: HL17325 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the National Rural Crime Network Domestic Abuse in Rural Areas, published on 17 July.

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): On 16 July we introduced our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill to parliament, setting out our intention to transform the response to domestic abuse. Our Domestic Abuse Bill and wider action plan will help to ensure that victims have the confidence to come forward and report their experience, safe in the knowledge that the justice system and other agencies will do everything they can both to protect and support them and their children and pursue their abuser.

We will consider the findings of the report. Whether it takes place in our rural communities or cities, we are supporting Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, so they can deploy resources as they best see fit to tackle crime, including domestic abuse.

The new Domestic Abuse Commissioner will play an important role in monitoring the provision of services for victims of domestic abuse, including those in rural communities.

Bishop of Rochester welcomes Bill on victims of crime and reporting abuse

RochesterOn 19th July 2019 the House of Lords debated at Second Reading the Victims of Crime (Rights, Entitlements, and Notification of Child Sexual Abuse) Bill, a private member’s bill introduced by Baroness Brinton. The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, for bringing forward this Bill and applaud the intention to give a stronger statutory position for victims of crime, especially in relation to the code and the role of the commissioner. The noble Baroness spoke of the “dignity and respect” with which we should treat the victims of crime. In my capacity as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, I often find myself in conversations about treating with dignity and respect the perpetrators of crime. It seems obvious that we should accord at least the same to victims of crime. In the context of this debate, I am proud that my diocese has become the first English diocese formally to sign a partnership arrangement with the White Ribbon campaign in relation to male violence against women and recruiting of champions. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester welcomes Bill on victims of crime and reporting abuse”

Bishop of Chelmsford calls for legal definition of child criminal exploitation

chelmsford170119bOn 9th July 2019 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what is their response to the report by The Children’s Society, Counting Lives: responding to children who are criminally exploited, published on 5 July”. The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, following up on that last question, the grooming patterns of children and young people, whether for sexual exploitation or criminal exploitation, are almost exactly the same. It took us ages to achieve a proper definition of exploitation of children in the sex industry. We should not make the same mistake again. It seems that what we need to do, and I ask the Government to consider this, is create a legally binding definition of child criminal exploitation that makes it absolutely clear that the vast majority of these children, some as young as 10 years old, are victims.

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Church Commissioners written answer: Metal theft from churches

spelman170119dOn 8th July 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Sir Oliver Heald on theft from churches:

Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire): 269594 To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, if the Commissioners will make an estimate of the number of thefts of lead from church buildings in (a) the diocese of St Albans and (b) England in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019 to date. Continue reading “Church Commissioners written answer: Metal theft from churches”