Violence Against Women and Girls Debate

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Department: Home Office

Violence Against Women and Girls

Baroness Foster of Aghadrumsee Excerpts
Monday 4th December 2023

(5 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, I am happy to tell my noble friend that, yes, it is. Child abuse is a crime, and we will not tolerate this practice, which causes extreme and lifelong physical and psychological suffering to women and girls. Our focus remains on preventing these crimes from happening, supporting and protecting survivors and those at risk, and bringing perpetrators to justice. As my noble friend will be aware, in 2015 we strengthened the law on FGM, which is now an offence. We also extended the reach of extraterritorial offences, introduced lifelong anonymity for victims, introduced civil FGM protection orders and introduced a mandatory reporting duty for known cases. I am pleased to say that there have been two prosecutions for this, one as recently as October, and I believe that sentencing is still awaited—a lot is being done.

Baroness Foster of Aghadrumsee Portrait Baroness Foster of Aghadrumsee (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I commend my noble friend Lord Pannick on his question, and I commend the Minister’s answer. I will bring us back to the domestic: Christmas is a time when many of us look forward to being with our families, but unfortunately that is not the case for those who suffer from domestic abuse and violence. Given that, will the Minister acknowledge the operation, and the work behind it, by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Translink and Retail NI, coming up to Christmas, so that they recognise violence against women and girls in a proactive way?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, I am happy to do that and to announce that the pilot sites for domestic abuse protection notices and prevention orders have been chosen. This will extend the police’s operations across the country when they commence in the spring of 2024. There is a lot more to anticipate on this subject—I hope that we will see things progress in the right direction.