EVAW Coalition May 2018 Bulletin

  • Worboys litigation
  • Rape and the criminal justice system
  • DV Bill consultation
  • Other news

Worboys – challenging the Police’ failure to protect women

On 21 February 2018 the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgement in the case against the Police brought by two victims of the serial rapist, John Worboys, the ‘taxi driver rapist’. Four women’s organisations, including EVAW, intervened in the proceedings and ultimately the Supreme Court specifically confirmed that the Police must properly investigate rape against women and girls, and that failing to do so breaks the law.

Worboys – challenging the Parole Board decision 

Following the announcement of the imminent release on parole of John Worboys in January, two survivors of his assaults launched a legal challenge to the Parole Board’s decision, supported by the Centre for Women’s Justice.  EVAW strongly supported the application. An amazing crowdfund financed the victims’ legal costs.  On 28 March 2018 the High Court found in favour of the victims and a new Parole Board will now need to be convened, this time with more specific and appropriate information about Worboys’ history. EVAW were appalled at the decision to release Worboys after only eight years and, and support the push for a review of the Parole Board’s decision making processes.

The Ministry of Justice has now launched a Review into the Law, Policy and Procedure relating to parole decisions.  Please do respond if you possibly can. The deadline is 28 July 2018.

Rape trials

EVAW is alarmed at the persistently low charging and conviction rate following allegations of rape, and the problems which have recently been exposed regarding inadequate disclosure of evidence in some cases.  EVAW responded to the recent Justice Select Committee inquiry into disclosure in criminal cases and please do read our submission, saying that we are disappointed at the media focus on the collapse of rape trials when it is clear there are disclosure problems across crime types; that disclosure rules and practice should aim to help ensure that the examination of digital evidence in rape cases looks at the seeking as well as the giving of consent (in line with the law) and at the behaviour of the accused as well as the complainant; and that disclosure rules must not stray into what is actually the use of ‘sexual history evidence’ regarding the complainant.

DV Bill consultation

The consultation on the Bill closes on 31 May 2018.  EVAW has prepared a DRAFT response which we hope will be of use to people filling it in. Our draft is very much a live document – please do contact us if you have any thoughts or comments.  Please also feel free to use our draft as you prepare your response and we would encourage you to share it as widely as possible with others. Our major concern is that the proposed Bill is too narrow; we set out our views here.

The top priority for EVAW and many of our members as we respond to the consultation is the situation of women with insecure immigration status.  On 2 May EVAW held an event at Parliament, hosted by Rupa Huq MP and chaired by journalist, Samira Ahmed, at which we launched our briefing ‘Women Living in a Hostile Environment’. There were extremely informative and moving contributions from Safety 4 Sisters, Ashiana, Women for Refugee Women and Imkaan and others. Improving protection for these women is a red line for this Bill.

Meanwhile…in other news

The Women and Equalities Select Committee are looking at sexual harassment both in public and in the workplace.

EVAW is awaiting the next consultation stage on the new guidance on Relationships and Sex Education in schools.  We made a submission in the call for evidence earlier this year, and now await an announcement from the Department for Education. The guidance is due to be in place by autumn 2018, to allow for the training of the teachers who will need to deliver the programme to students from September 2019. Watch this space…

Finally, #MeToo and #Timesup activism continues.  Our fantastic co-chair and the executive director of Imkaan, Marai Larasi, attended the BAFTAs as the activist ‘plus one’ guest of actor Tessa Thompson.  Our own Andrea Simon then attended the Empire and Olivier Award ceremonies, again accompanying actors, to add our voice to theirs.

Please support us to maintain our independent feminist voice

EVAW relies on generous supporters and funders to enable us to campaign with an independent, feminist voice – please donate today if you would like to help!

We are very grateful for the support of all our supporters and funders, including Esmée Fairbairn, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Trust for London, the Coutts Foundation, and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.