Bishop of Newcastle asks about vulnerable women released from prison

newcastle230119bOn 16th July 2019 the Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford repeated a Government statement about domestic abuse. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I crave the forbearance of the House. I have two questions; one of my own and one from the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, who, due to the adjournment, has had to leave. My question relates to the needs of very vulnerable people, mainly women, on release from prison.

During my visits to our local women’s prison, I have learned that a higher proportion of women in prison than is the case in the general population come from violent and abusive relationships. It is critical that such women and other vulnerable people who have been abused are released into a safe, secure place with secure accommodation. Is the Minister aware that on occasion, due to things such as poor communication between the probation service in prison and the probation service outside prison, things go wrong and, tragically, a woman is released into danger.

Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks about vulnerable women released from prison”

Bishop of Gloucester urges Government to support girls in conflict-zones and ratify Istanbul Convention

On the 8th January 2019 Baroness Hodgson of Abinger hosted a debate about adolescent girls in conflict-affected countries. The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek spoke in the debate to highlight the need to ratify the Istanbul Convention and to increase the support given to education of children:

Gloucester071117 b

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester:  My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hodgson, for securing this debate. It is a great honour to be taking part and to listen to the contributions of so many amazing supporters of women and girls. I should also like to draw attention to my interests as set out in the register.


Following previous speakers, I too should like to reinforce what has been said about violence and access to education. As has been said, before, during and after conflict girls face both physical and sexual violence. It is important to note that trauma follows adolescent girls when they flee from conflict, whether they become refugees or are internally displaced. There is a high risk of sexual abuse in overcrowded, unsanitary and unsafe refugee areas. Girls face not only prostitution and the risk of early marriage; they also face isolation and a lack of access to healthcare and psychological support. I would like to ask the Minister: what specific action are the Government currently taking to support girls in these vulnerable places, and how will rebuilding peace after conflict specifically involve support for these girls?

Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester urges Government to support girls in conflict-zones and ratify Istanbul Convention”

Bishop of St Albans supports Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill

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”

Bishop of Leeds asks question on male abusive behaviour

leeds-20117On 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”

Bishop of Derby highlights importance of local grassroots work in combating FGM

On 9th June 2016 Lord Berkeley of Knighton led a short debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they intend to take in the light of NHS statistics showing that in 2015 over 1,000 cases of female genital mutilation were reported every three months and the lack of any successful prosecutions to date.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate, highlighting the historic and cultural influences behind the practice and the work taking place at a local and grassroots level to reduce instances of FGM and support the law. 

Derby 191115cThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, for introducing this vital debate and making the point that we need to keep this subject in the public domain to raise awareness and challenge people.

I want to offer some perspectives from my experience in Derby, where I operate as a bishop at grassroots level, to try to help understand why we are in this position and how we might best tackle things. Your Lordships will know that FGM is a very ancient practice going back to at least the fifth century BC. It was mentioned by Herodotus, especially in Egypt and Ethiopia, all that time ago. I remind noble Lords that FGM was practised until the 1950s in western countries as part of dealing with what was then called “female deviancy”. Things such as hysteria, epilepsy and lesbianism were dealt with by this horrific practice as an enlightened medical approach to those conditions. We have to recognise that it is not only deeply embedded in ancient culture, but until quite recently in the west, we have been implicated in using this barbaric method for medical reasons. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby highlights importance of local grassroots work in combating FGM”

Bishop of Derby supports Bill to prohibit the advertising of prostitution

“This is not about money or business; it is about abused and oppressed human beings” – Bishop of Derby, 23/10/15

On 23rd October 2015 the House of Lords debated the Advertising of Prostitution (Prohibition) Bill, a private member’s bill tabled by the Conservative Peer, Lord McColl of Dulwich, that would prohibit the advertising of prostitution. The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke supportively in the debate. The Bill was given a Second Reading by Peers and will progress to its committee stage.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: I too congratulate the noble Lord, Lord McColl, and thank him for introducing the Bill and for his important work in this important area. I will make a couple of points about the context and about the issue that we are debating.

First, there is the scale of it. I was at a lecture on Saturday where somebody explained that demand for the purchase of sex increased enormously in the 1990s with the increasing availability of online pornography. The statistics went from one in 20 men buying sex to one in 10. That is a massive increase in the market. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby supports Bill to prohibit the advertising of prostitution”

Forced marriage – Bishop of St Albans asks Government about scale of problem

On 24th July 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to three written questions on forced marriage.

Bishop of St AlbansThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many cases the Forced Marriage Unit was involved in, or gave support and advice to, in 2014. Continue reading “Forced marriage – Bishop of St Albans asks Government about scale of problem”