On 27th November 2017 Baroness Donaghy asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether the proposed Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill will include measures to prevent violence against women and girls as well as criminal justice measures to deal with perpetrators.” The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, while recognising that faith communities have serious issues of domestic violence abuse within themselves, does the Minister also recognise that they contribute a great deal to tackling it through organisations such as the Mothers’ Union, Restored and Kahrmel Wellness, and that today, 16 days of global action begin to try to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse? Continue reading “Bishop of Durham praises work of faith-based agencies in tackling domestic violence”
On 27th June 2017 the House of Lords debated the measures in the Queen’s Speech for justice and home affairs. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, on mental health, domestic violence and prisons.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate on the gracious Speech. I thank the noble Lords who have spoken thus far in what has been an interesting debate today.
I would like to draw attention to two or three things. The first is the fairly well hidden-away commitment in the gracious Speech to reform mental health legislation in order that mental health services might be prioritised in the NHS. Like much in the speech, the detail is particularly lacking at this point but I hope that noble Lords will join me in saying that that is an important and welcome development. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence”
On 20th April 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions from MPs on the floor of the House of Commons, on religious symbols in the workplace, marriage, vocations, metal theft and Christians in Africa. She also answered written questions on debt, domestic violence and House of Lords reform:
Sir David Amess (Southend West) (Con): What assessment the Church of England has made of the implications of the European Court of Justice ruling of March 2017 on wearing religious dress and symbols in the workplace. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Dame Caroline Spelman): The Church of England was very concerned by the judgment of the European Court of Justice that stated that blanket bans on the wearing of political, philosophical or religious signs do not amount to cases of direct discrimination, because that conflicts with the pre-existing rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. By leaving the European Union, we presumably stand some chance of resolving such inconsistencies. Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions – European Court ruling, marriage, vocations, metal theft, Christians in Africa, debt, domestic violence, Lords reform”
On 10th March 2017 the House of Lords considered at Second Reading the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill, a Private Member’s Bill that originated in the House of Commons, sponsored in the Lords by Baroness Gale. The Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of the Bill.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: We on these Benches also give our wholehearted support to the Bill. I have been following this issue for some while—indeed, I have participated in previous debate and tabled some Questions. I congratulate Dr Eilidh Whiteford in the other place and the noble Baroness, Lady Gale, on the hard work that they and others have done in getting the Bill so far, and the many agencies involved in getting it to us today, including IC Change. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans supports Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill”
On 8th March 2017, Baroness Verma asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what steps they are taking to help men who seek support in addressing their abusive behaviour’. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, does the Minister agree that there are certain problems in the wording of this Question? Most men who engage in abusive behaviour do not recognise it as abusive and do not seek support, so there has to be a very important balance between preventive and restorative measures.
Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks question on male abusive behaviour”
On 24th May 2016 Baroness Stedman-Scott asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to help families in rural communities experiencing domestic abuse and other relationship problems.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, following on from that point about isolation, with rural areas often isolated from dedicated support services, local clergy can be particularly well placed to act as a conduit between victims and the relevant authorities. Can the Minister inform the House whether any steps are being taken to provide training to local professionals in rural communities, such as clergy and GPs, to help improve reporting and communication and to ensure that victims receive the help they need? Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about improving access to help for victims of domestic violence in rural areas”
On 18th April 2016, the House of Lords debated an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill that would mean victims of domestic violence who leave a secure social tenancy would be able to access a new secure tenancy, rather than the proposed short-term tenancies. The amendment had been tabled by Baroness Lister, with the support of the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister spoke to the amendment on the Bishop of St Albans’ behalf.
The amendment was later withdrawn, after the Government committed to introduce it through regulations. Continue reading “Housing and Planning Bill: Bishop of Peterborough supports protections for victims of domestic violence”
On 27th January 2016 the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster opened the second day of Report Stage on the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill with an amendment in his name. The amendment, supported by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Crossbench Peers, proposed exemptions from the two-child limit for new claimants of tax credit and universal credit for kinship carers, bereaved parents, those fleeing domestic violence and disabled children. During his response to the amendment the Minister Lord Freud offered a number of concessions, most notably on kinship carers, and as a result the Bishop did not press the amendment to a vote. A full transcript of the Bishop’s opening and closing remarks, the Minister’s response and an intervention from the Bishop of Durham, are below.
Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth proposes exceptions to the two child limit”
On Monday 7th December, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill during its first day of Committee. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke to amendments he had tabled to exempt bereaved parents and victims of domestic abuse from the proposed two-child limit for new claimants. His speech on his amendment is included below, along with an extract of the Minister’s reply. The full debate, including speeches by other Members, can be seen at: Parliament.uk
The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I highlight two particularly vulnerable groups in my Amendments 5, 6, 13 and 14, groups that I believe should be exempted from this measure. These are bereaved parents and victims of domestic abuse. In focusing so heavily on promoting personal responsibility, there is always a danger with welfare reforms that we neglect our collective responsibility to look after those who fall on difficult times, people we will probably never meet but whom we support through our taxes in their time of need so that we, too, will be supported when we need help.
Continue reading “Welfare Reform Bill – Bishop of Portsmouth tables amendment on victims of domestic abuse and bereaved parents”
The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern spoke in a debate about protecting victims of domestic and mental abuse. The Bishop highlighted the need to create safe spaces for victims and mentioned work undertaken by Refuge in the Diocese of Derby. The importance of partnerships between faith and voluntary groups to support victims of abuse was highly significant and need to be place alongside the statutory services to make the provision as stable and effective as possible.
Lord Ashton responded to the debate for the Government and addressed a number of the Bishops remarks. His comments can be found below.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby challenges Government over provision of refuges for victims of domestic abuse”