“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.
The 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”
On 24th July 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to three written questions on forced marriage.
The 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”
On Tuesday 16th July 2015 Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty’s Government “what measures they are undertaking to ensure that women who have suffered domestic violence and abuse have access to the legal and emotional support they may require.” The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, domestic violence against women is one of the largest abuses of women, not just in the UK but in the world. I would be interested if the Minister commented on the Government’s commitment to reaching such a diverse range of women, in spite of their ethnic background, religion or location, over the next few years. Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham asks Government about action to prevent violence against women”
On 11th June 2015 Lord Loomba led a debate in the House of Lords entitled “That this House takes note of the case for empowering women, including widows, in the developing world in order to aid conflict resolution and the long-term sustainability of more stable societies.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, want to thank Lord Loomba for securing this debate and giving us this chance to discuss with the Minister and the Government our priorities and contribution to these issues across the world.
We all know that there is a strong link between the well-being of women and girls and peace, security and development. It is in our UK national plan and is a very big part of my own experience. I am privileged to be a trustee of Christian Aid, and we deliberately prioritise investment in women and girls to secure the transformation and development of needy societies. Within my own Anglican tradition, the Mothers’ Union Worldwide does amazing work in places such as Rwanda, empowering women to transform communities. In my diocese, we have an annual harvest appeal and, for the last several years, have invested in helping women in Delhi set up recycling businesses and, this year, helped educate girls and women in Angola. It is right on the forefront of making a difference. My work on the Modern Slavery Bill opened my eyes to the appalling international abuse and oppression of women through sexual violence and exploitation. Continue reading “Empowering women in the developing world – speech by Bishop of Derby”
On 24th February 2015, Baroness Bakewell asked Her Majesty’s Government “what requirements were set in the contract for Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre recently reawarded to Serco regarding the dignity and privacy of women detained there”.
The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, in view of the concerns expressed only last Friday by the Joint Committee on Human Rights about women and girls who claim to have been victims of violence and are detained at Yarl’s Wood under the fast-track process, can the Minister tell us whether the Government have any plans for a screening process for people in that position?
Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle highlights concerns about victims of violence detained at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre”
On 11th February 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on the Government’s collection of data on forced marriage.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to gather data on the number of girls under the legal age of marriage who had married abroad and have been brought back to the United Kingdom, as part of the work of the Forced Marriage Unit.
Baroness Anelay of St John’s – Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office): The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) provides a range of support and assistance in cases where British nationals are at risk of forced marriage abroad. In 2013, the FMU gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1302 cases. Where the age was known, 15% of cases involved victims below 16 years and 25% involved victims aged 16-17. Where a victim is repatriated back to the UK, this is individually recorded on case notes.
On 2nd February 2015, the Bishop of St Albans received an answer to a written question on legislation relating to the criminalisation of the purchase of sex.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 17 December 2014 (HL3283), whether they will now state what consideration they have given to introducing or amending legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex in order to protect vulnerable women.
Lord Bates: With regard to prostitution, the Government focus is on harm minimisation and I refer to my answer of 17 December 2014 to question HL3283 on this matter.
On 6th January 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, received written answers to five questions of Government on female genital mutilation (or FGM):
Female Genital Mutilation
Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are resourcing the provision of training and education in communities in the United Kingdom in which female genital mutilation is practised.[HL3454] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about action on tackling FGM”
On 17th December 2014 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on violence against women:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve the standardisation of comprehensive and analysable data on violence against women.[HL3284] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about data on violence against women”
“…as well as hoping to get prosecutions, we need to work really hard on changing culture. Law is a blunt instrument. We have loads of laws on drugs and substance abuse and we try to enforce them, but, in that and other areas, we need to keep trying to get behind the issue which is causing the problem in the first place.”
On 11th December 2014, Labour Peer Baroness Rendell of Babergh led a debate in the House of Lords to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage prosecutions of offenders under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate. He welcomed the Government’s Action Plan on FGM and the cross-party consensus on dealing with the issue. He noted that efforts had been made to strengthen the law on FGM through the Serious Crime Bill, but cautioned that existing legislation needed to be better enforced, if prosecution rates were to rise. He also called for a renewed effort to understand and challenge the cultural underpinnings of the practice, in order to see lasting change.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans calls for stronger enforcement and culture change to tackle lack of FGM prosecutions”