Thousands sign petition against Ched Evans joining Oldham Athletic The Guardian James Riach Sunday 4 January 2015 20.40 GMT
Ched Evans could potentially make his return to professional football with League One side Oldham Athletic reportedly poised to offer him a contract. Photograph: PA
Thousands of people have signed an online petition against the possibility of the League One club Oldham Athletic offering convicted rapist Ched Evans a contract, with the player potentially poised to make a return to professional football.
Evans left prison in October last year after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a Rhyl hotel room in May 2011. The 26-year-old has consistently maintained his innocence in the wake of the guilty verdict, with an investigation into his conviction ongoing by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Evans has not trained or played for a professional team since leaving prison, yet third-tier club Oldham are reportedly close to providing him with such an opportunity. A deal could be announced on Monday although it is believed a contract has yet to be fully agreed.
The club were not responding to inquiries on Sunday but by early evening more than 13,000 people had signed the petition directed at the chairman, Simon Corney. It stated: “Currently Oldham is said to be considering signing him. This is a damaging message about rape and sexual consent to be giving to your fans. Please think again.”
You can add your name to the change.org online petition here:
Refuse to sign Ched Evans Jean Hatchet London, United Kingdom Ched Evans is a convicted rapist. He does not deserve to return to a high profile and highly visible role in football whilst he still refuses to acknowledge his guilt, apologise to his victim and attempt to make clear his views to the fans who look up to him that what he did was wrong and they should not traumatise her or other rape victims.
Currently Oldham is said to be considering signing him. This is a damaging message about rape and sexual consent to be giving to your fans. Please think again.
How online campaigners are battling over Ched Evans Channel 4 New Monday 5 January 2015 Oldham Athletic are said to be reconsidering signing convicted rapist Ched Evans. Sophisticated online campaigns on both sides have led to debate about the consequences of his conviction.
Ched Evans was a Sheffield United striker, jailed in 2012 after being convicted of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel near his home town of Rhyl. Evans was released in October and still protests his innocence.
Oldham were this weekend rumoured to be signing Ched Evans, but that the board of the club had not yet come to a decision.
Monitoring of sex offenders by home visits does not breach human rights – Court of Appeal
M, R (on the application of) v Hampshire Constabulary and another (18 December 2014)  EWCA Civ 1651 – read judgment
The law governing the monitoring of sex offenders, allowing police officers to visit the homes of registered offenders, did not constitute an unlawful interference with the offenders’ privacy rights under Article 8 of the ECHR.
This was an appeal against a decision by the appellant (M) against a decision by Hallett LJ and Collins J in the Administrative Court that the practice of police officers making visits to the homes of registered sex offenders for the purpose of monitoring their behaviour did not violate the Convention.
Latest news on the Women’s Refuges (Provision and Eligibility) Bill 2014-15 This Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on 23 January 2015.
This Bill was introduced to Parliament on 17 December 2014 under the Ten Minute Rule. This allows an MP to make his or her case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. An opposing speech may also be made before the House decides whether or not the bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful the bill is taken to have had its first reading.
This Bill is a Private Member’s Bill. These are often not printed until close to the second reading debate. If the text is not yet available here and you wish to know more about this bill please contact its sponsor, Norman Baker.
Summary of the Women’s Refuges (Provision and Eligibility) Bill 2014-15 A Bill to require provision of women’s refuges in certain areas; to set out requirements of local councils relating to women’s refuges; and for connected purposes.
Here is the Hansard transcript to the introduction of the Bill which took place on 17 December 2014:
House of Commons Wednesday 17 December 2014 17 Dec 2014 : Column 1424
Women’s Refuges (Provision and Eligibility)
Motion for leave to bring in a Bill (Standing Order No. 23) 1.39 pm Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): I beg to move,
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require provision of women’s refuges in certain areas; to set out requirements of local councils relating to women’s refuges; and for connected purposes.
It is a sad fact of our society that violence against women is all too common—far too common. Women’s Aid estimates that one in four women experiences domestic violence at some point in their lives. I believe that the coalition Government has a good record on this matter, and I am pleased to have played a part in delivering some action, including the creation of domestic violence protection orders, the domestic violence disclosure scheme and the actions taken to get the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to take matters of domestic violence far more seriously. I have to say, however, that there is a crucial gap in delivery of these services: the provision of refuges in our society. The gap has emerged because of local authority budgets, which of course are very challenging, and because some local authorities have decided that it is appropriate—I do not believe it is—to make cuts in refuge provision. In addition, because domestic violence has rightly gone up the agenda, we are now seeing more women having the confidence to come forward to access the services, as is their right, and that is putting further pressure on the services themselves.
Women’s refuges are crucial. They are not just a bed for the night; specialist refuges provide secure accommodation, usually at a secret address, and a range of specialist and holistic support services. Uprooting lives, often including those of children, is a last resort for women when they feel that nothing else will keep them safe—when there is nowhere else for them to go.
Unfortunately, we are seeing challenges to the provision of refuges across our country. Since 2010, we have seen a 17% reduction, from 187 to 155, in the number of specialist domestic violence refuges. Nearly a third of referrals to refuges across the country were turned down last year because of a lack of space, and on one day in 2013, 155 women and 103 children were turned away from the first refuge they called because there was no space for them. That is quite unacceptable and nobody in this House can be satisfied with that situation.
This is not simply about the number of refuges; it is also about the way in which local authorities are commissioning services for the refuges. According to the Women’s Aid “Gold Book” of domestic violence services, since 2011 there has been a 30% reduction in the number of refuge services listed saying that they can accept emergency overnight referrals and a 28% reduction in the number of domestic violence services that have 24-hour staffing. So the commissioning practices of local authorities are also severely affecting those who need to access the services.
One particularly pernicious and unhelpful development is that some local authorities have decided, for reasons best known to themselves, no doubt, that they should impose conditions on which women can access the services. Some authorities are imposing “local connection”
17 Dec 2014 : Column 1425 requirements, but the last place that someone who has been subject to domestic violence wants to be is very local. They need to be somewhere safe, which is not next to where the perpetrator of violence may be. Local connections are absolutely not what we need to see in refuge provision.
Between April and October 2014, four local authorities issued tenders that included local connection rules saying that 70% to 80% of the refuge spaces in the service have to be reserved for women and children who live in the local area. Four local authority tenders for domestic violence services run by a non-specialist organisation did not include refuge provision, which is the second problem we face in commissioning. Commissioning practices tend to exclude specialist provision and appeal to much larger companies, of a more generalist nature, which sometimes do not understand what they are providing and for whom. So the specialist nature of provision, which is key to delivery, is also being eroded in an unhelpful way.
One local authority awarded a tender for refuge accommodation to a non-specialist service outside the local area, even though the submission from its specialist domestic violence service locally was less expensive. Local authorities are not only failing to provide sufficiently for women who need to access the services, but losing money unnecessarily for the council tax payer in some cases. In the worst cases, women are being refused access to refuges because they do not have a local connection and they are then given emergency accommodation at council expense while beds sometimes lie empty in those refuges—that cannot make sense.
My Bill would require the Government to set a minimum network standard across the country on the number of refuges and by local authority area, and it would end, with immediate effect, any further closures of refuges by a local authority. A woman who needs to access a refuge must be able to do so; we cannot have women turned away in the way that has been happening recently.
Secondly, my Bill would make it a statutory duty on local authorities to provide such services. We are seeing cuts and we will in the future, as cuts are coming down the track whoever is in government after the next election, and local authorities are bound to be looking at refuge provision as part of their savings. I know that in my
17 Dec 2014 : Column 1426 East Sussex county council area there were plans to cut refuge provision. Thankfully, they have been headed off for the time being, but I imagine such plans will come back, both there and elsewhere, unless there is a statutory duty to make such provision.
Thirdly, I want the Government to issue statutory guidance, which would, for example, ban the local connection criterion and do other more sensible work on how local authorities are commissioning services.
I welcome the £10 million lifeline the Government has provided to help refuge provision in the short term, which was announced in late November. I had pressed for it inside government when I was in the Home Office, but I am sure Ministers recognise that it is only a stop gap and that a more permanent solution is required. I am concerned that the bidding arrangements that have been put in place require us to go through housing authorities, and that in a two-tier local authority area, such as mine, Lewes district council or Wealden district council would have to handle the bid, although the refuge provision is handled by East Sussex county council. That seems to make no sense and creates an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle. I welcome the fact that the temporary stop-gap Government money prevents the geographical restrictions I have referred to as being very unhelpful, and I note that the commissioning help which I helped to initiate when I was a Home Office Minister is already being given to local authorities.
The Government has done a lot to help women who are subject to domestic violence in our society—as the Home Secretary knows, they get a very clear steer that it is not acceptable. It is a great pity that, having done such a great deal of work, there is one gap in provision, which is so crucial: the fact that local authority cuts are leading to a reduction in refuge provision or to bad commissioning. There is a gaping hole that needs to be filled. My Bill closes that gap.
Question put and agreed to. Ordered,
That Norman Baker, Jenny Willott, Caroline Lucas, Dr Julian Huppert, Sarah Champion, Dr Sarah Wollaston, Annette Brooke and Mr Jeremy Browne presented the Bill.
Norman Baker accordingly presented the Bill.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 23 January 2015, and to be printed (Bill 141).
High court upholds legal aid rules in domestic violence cases Campaign group plans to appeal after challenging directives on grounds that they may deny justice to vulnerable women Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent Follow @owenbowcott Follow @guardian The Guardian, Friday 23 January 2015 14.00 GMT
A Rights of Women protest in December. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
Government regulations on access to legal aid for victims of domestic violence have been upheld by the high court.
But the campaign group Rights of Women, which challenged the directives on the grounds that they would deny justice to vulnerable women and leave them at risk of attack by former partners, is seeking permission to appeal against the judgment.
Lord Justice Fulford and Mrs Justice Lang, who heard the case, concluded that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 had taken into consideration public concerns about restricting funding for victims of domestic violence.
The ruling on Thursday said the Ministry of Justice had widened the definition of domestic violence, increased the categories of evidence of domestic violence accepted as qualifying for legal aid and doubled the time limit applicable to certain categories of evidence from 12 months to two years.
Emma Scott, director of Rights of Women, said she intended to appeal. “On behalf of the women who continue to be denied access to justice by the legal aid regulations, we are devastated by the outcome of our legal challenge,” she said.
“This decision means that women who remain at risk of violence will continue to be denied access to vital legal advice and representation in family cases. Our most recent research shows that about 40% of women affected by violence do not have the required evidence in order to apply for family law legal aid.”
Catch-33: Stringent documentary requirements upheld for legal aid in domestic violence cases- Vanessa Long and Adam Smith UK Human Rights Blog JANUARY 28, 2015 BY ROSALIND ENGLISH
R (on the application of Rights of Women) v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35 (Admin) – read judgment
legal-aidNeil Sheldon and Alasdair Henderson (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor) acted for the Defendant in this case. They have nothing to do with the writing of this post.
The campaign group Rights of Women has been unsuccessful in its judicial review of Regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 (as amended) which sets out the list of documents which will be accepted as evidence that a legal aid applicant has suffered or is at risk of suffering domestic violence. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) purports to retain legal aid for victims of domestic violence. However, such funding is only available where at least one of the documents listed in Regulation 33 is submitted to the Legal Aid Agency.
Joanna Michael: Family of domestic homicide victim can use Human Rights Act to sue police 28 January 2015
Today the Supreme Court ruled that Joanna Michael’s family can bring a case against Gwent and South Wales Police forces - using the Human Rights Act.
Joanna was brutally murdered by her ex-partner, Cyron Williams, in August 2009 – her two young children were in the house at the time. She called the police twice on the night she was killed, however her first call was misrouted to Gwent Police. When Gwent handed the case over to South Wales Police, the operator neglected to pass on vital information which resulted in the call being downgraded. This allowed the police up to an hour to respond. Joanna called a second time and was heard screaming before the call was cut off. The police then attended and found Joanna dead.
Joanna’s home was only a few minutes from the nearest police station.
Liberty and Refuge both intervened in the case. Liberty’s lawyer Rosie Brighouse said:
“Time and time again, police are failing victims of domestic violence – but, thanks to these archaic rules, even the most breath-taking police negligence goes unchallenged.
“When a known victim of domestic violence calls 999 to ask for help, it must be right that police are under a positive obligation to respond – and to do so competently. The family of Joanna Michael have learned today that the Human Rights Act will allow them to make that case at trial – showing once again how indispensable the act is to victims of serious crime.”
Britain is going backwards on violence against women Victims of domestic abuse face devastating funding cuts, while their plight is ignored by our media and political elite Owen Jones Observer, Sunday 30 March 2014 19.30 BST
When Margaret Thatcher's government took on the miners 30 years ago, she confronted an enemy that was organised: they had collective strength and a voice. The sides were not equal, but the miners' strike could nonetheless be described as a "war" of sorts. Many of the targets of this government, on the other hand, are deeply fragmented, rarely seen or heard and often airbrushed out of existence by our media and political elite. Women who face domestic violence and abuse are just one chilling example.
To understand the attack on some of Britain's most vulnerable women, let's take East Sussex as an example. A year ago, the discretionary social fund – which provided crisis loans to cover living expenses for people in desperate circumstances as well as community care grants – was scrapped across Britain. It was replaced by a local welfare assistance fund that was devolved to local authorities, but with around £150m less cash. It was up to councils to set up their own initiatives, and Conservative-run East Sussex county council set up a support scheme that could help, among many others, women fleeing abusive partners.
This special conference launches the UK’s first census on women killed by men. This ground breaking project will be an important tool, enabling us to monitor fatal male violence against women and providing valuable data to help reduce the number of women killed by men.
Title: Building the UK’s First Femicide Census: Profiles of Women Killed by Men Time & date: 10:00 to 16:30, 12th February 2015 Venue: Conference Centre, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, North Cliffe House, 28 Tudor Street, London EC4Y 0AY Cost: £25 per delegate, £20 for Women's Aid members. No charge for delegates who have lost a family member or friend to femicide.
We are bringing together femicide experts to support the continuation and future development of the census, which currently provides detailed data on femicides in England committed since 2009. The census has been developed by Karen Ingala Smith, Chief Executive of nia, working in partnership with Women's Aid, with support from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Deloitte LLP.
Please come along, hear about the important work that is being done in this area and consider how you can contribute.