On Tuesday 13th November a reception was held in Parliament with bishops and the First and Second Church Estates Commissioners, to celebrate the role of women in the church and public life, and to mark UK Parliament Week and the centenary of women getting the vote. The Bishops of London, Gloucester and Bristol, and the First Church Estates Commissioner Loretta Minghella, were asked questions by Second Estates Commissioner Dame Caroline Spelman MP and an audience of parliamentarians and clergy.
On the 30th October 2018 the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester asked a question she had tabled, on Government action to increase support given to children with a parent in prison. The exchange, including the follow-up questions of other Members, is reproduced below:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to support the children of prisoners.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Con): My Lords, having a parent in custody can have a very significant impact on a child. We must understand the diverse needs of these vulnerable children and provide the necessary support. For example, recent government reforms mean that prison governors now have the budget and the flexibility to commission family services that work for their prisons and in their communities.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: In 95% of cases where a mother receives a custodial sentence, a child has to move home. Unlike a child in care who moves home, the child of someone in custody has no guarantee of a place at the local school, and the person looking after that child receives no financial support. Will the Minister commit to identifying children of those in custody as a specific group, and ensuring that they and their carers receive the necessary support? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government to increase support for children with a parent in prison”
On the 12th of September The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, led a debate in the House of Lords on a motion ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the ability of women’s centres to improve outcomes in the justice system’. Her speech introducing the debate, and the response of the Minister, are reproduced below. The speeches by other Members contributing to the debate can be seen at Parliament.uk
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, it is a great honour and privilege to introduce this debate. I thank all noble Lords who have agreed to contribute to it; I am especially grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Sater, for choosing to make her maiden speech in it. I know that her extensive experience in business and the charitable sector, as well as her time working on the Youth Justice Board and as a magistrate, will inform many excellent contributions to this House. I look forward to her speech. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester leads debate on positive impact of women’s centres in the justice system”
The following article by the Bishop of Gloucester appeared on The Times Red Box website on 12th September 2018:
On the 6th of September 2018 Lord Bird asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to ensure that prisons and young offender institutions are safe and able to meet the rehabilitative needs of those imprisoned.” The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, asked a follow up question focusing on community-based sentences and rehabilitation involving meaningful work.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I too thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for bringing this important debate today. It is encouraging to see some new energy in the Ministry of Justice, and some recent government announcements have been very encouraging, not least the female offender strategy. However, as has been said, it is important to acknowledge that so often prison will not be able to meet the rehabilitative needs of the people who are sent there. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester highlights need for meaningful path away from offending”
On 3rd July 2018 Baroness Burt of Solihull asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they will ensure that provision for women in the prison system is properly funded, following their decision to abandon plans for five community prisons for women in England and Wales.” The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I am grateful that Her Majesty’s Government do not intend to open new women’s prisons, as has been said, and I am grateful for the assurance that more money will be put into women’s centres. However, what work will be done to ensure that those who sentence know what is actually available in the community? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks if enough attention is given to prison alternatives when women are sentenced”
On 15th March 2018 the Bishop of Gloucester asked a question she had tabled to Government on online hate speech. The exchanges are below, including the follow-up questions asked by other Members.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to combat hate speech online.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con): My Lords, this Government abhor all forms of hate speech. It is clear that what is illegal offline is also illegal online. That is why we are taking a cross-government approach through the hate crime action plan, which will be refreshed this year. We are funding an online hate crime hub, building digital resilience and have successfully worked with industry and partners internationally to agree the removal of illegal content within 24 hours.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, we know that websites and apps have brought many benefits, but at a cost. From my own visits to schools, I am particularly concerned about the hate speech that young people are exposed to online, including through anonymous apps like Sarahah. What are the Government doing to ensure that the age verification checks on apps are effective? How are the Government working with smaller developers to ensure that their platforms are not used to propagate threats and hate speech? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what they are doing to combat hate speech online”
In the House of Lords on the 22nd February 2018 the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government about their long-term plans for the prison sector, specifically plans for the funding of women’s centres.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their vision for the long-term future of the prison system.
On 11th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Kidron “That this House takes note of the role played by social media and online platforms as news and content publishers.” The Bishop of Gloucester spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, for obtaining this debate. I, too, thank her for her tireless work in this area.
Social media and online platforms now play an enormous role in shaping national dialogue and accepted social standards. In my visits to primary schools and secondary schools in the diocese of Gloucester, I have spent time talking with children about social media, and I affirm all that is good. Yet, as children progress to secondary school, their view of themselves and the world is increasingly being shaped by social media and online platforms. Young people are receiving strong messages about worth being about looking a certain way and about success being measured in online likes. Furthermore, their fears about the world they are growing up in are being fuelled by what they read online. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester urges greater requirements for online platforms to identify and remove harmful content”
On Tuesday 9th January 2018 the House of Lords debated at Second Reading the Government’s ‘Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill [HL]’. The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, welcomed the Bill:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: I wish to comment only briefly today, first by paying tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, for her work on this issue and by thanking both her and my right reverend friend the Bishop of St Albans for their initial work during the passage of the Housing and Planning Act. Secondly, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, for his commitment to addressing this issue. I also need to declare an interest as an ambassador for the charity Restored, an international Christian alliance that seeks to end violence against women.
As has been said, domestic abuse of any sort is demeaning, degrading and something that no one should have to endure. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester supports Government Bill to aid victims of domestic violence”