Marriage, Same-sex Marriage and Civil Partnerships
Following these insulting comments regarding the potential legalization of same-sex marriage, Christian Tory councilor, James Malliff, has been suspended. Stonewall said that they “warmly welcome the decision”. Nevertheless, at the very least one might have expect such a claimed-to-be-reverend Christian to be better versed in the principle that you reflect on yourself before you casting stones at others.
Human Rights and Forced Marriage
This week, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of R (Quila & Anor) v SSHD and R (Bibi & Anor) v SSHD. The case considered whether the ban on the entry for settlement of foreign spouses or civil partners unless both parties were aged 21 or over was a lawful way of deterring or preventing forced marriages, or whether it constituted a human rights breach. It was held that the Secretary of State had failed to establish that the interference with the respondents’ rights to a family life was justified under Article 8(2). Further, it was held that it would separate vast numbers of bona fide young couples, numbers that would likely exceed the number of forced marriages that would be deterred. Comparisons have been drawn with the 2008 judgment in the case of R (Baiai) v Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Hounslow Council have been accused of maladministration after it failed to put adequate support in place for a homeless woman fleeing domestic violence. A woman and her two small children left her mother-in-law’s home – where she had been living for six years – due to domestic violence from her partner. The woman was not offered temporary accommodation and was told that it did not consider she had fled domestic violence and so it was reasonable for her to return to her mother-in-law’s home.
A research report published by The Lancet GPs and practice nurses given specialist training to deal with domestic violence cases have been shown to be 22 times more likely to refer women to advocacy organizations. However, it also showed that there is a significant lack of specialist training and most clinicians fail to identify patients who are being abused and don’t know how to manage them if they do find out. The authors say that the findings reduce the uncertainty as to the benefits of such training. This could support arguments for increased specialist training and services for domestic violence victims.
Ms Banon has dropped her claim of attempted rape, made against Dominique Strauss-Khan earlier this year. Ms Banon has indicated she may still file a civil suit against Mr Strauss-Kahn. Ms Banon’s lawyer described the decision as a victory: “[Mr Strauss-Kahn] will have to be satisfied with being an unconvicted sex attacker, protected by the statute of limitations, allowing him to escape criminal prosecution, but not a legitimate suspicion,” lawyer David Koubbi said. Mr Strauss-Khan still faces a civil suit in the US by his alleged victim in New York, Nafissatou Diallo.
Women in Prison
Following comments on the Howard League’s concern that jailing mothers is damaging their children, reported in the last edition of Inherently Brief, the Thematic Report, Equal But Different, by the chief inspectors of prisons, probation and the Crown Prosecution Service, has been published. It expresses concern over the number of women in prison, particularly those who are receiving short jail sentences for non-violent offences, or for breaching community orders. The report considers and suggests alternative measures and community centres offering counselling and support services for women offenders with community orders.
More from afar…
In a disheartening move, Kansas has legalised domestic violence to save police time… Nice to know that they consider wife-beating to be a time consuming inconvenience to deal with rather than a serious and repetitive programme of abuse conducted in the home. ‘I absolutely do not understand it,’ said Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ‘It’s really outrageous that they’re playing with family safety to see who blinks first. People could die while they’re waiting to straighten this out.’