9 Lord Harries of Pentregarth debates involving the Home Office

Thu 25th Nov 2021
Mon 8th Mar 2021
Domestic Abuse Bill
Lords Chamber

Report stage & Report stage & Lords Hansard
Mon 25th Jan 2021
Domestic Abuse Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee stage
Tue 5th Jan 2021
Domestic Abuse Bill
Lords Chamber

2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading

Certificate of Sponsorship: Foreign Health and Care Workers

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Monday 13th November 2023

(7 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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Recently, it has been reported that a number of care workers have been exploited. The Minister has given assurances that this is totally unacceptable. How many prosecutions have taken place over the last year of people, bodies or care homes that have exploited the system?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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I reassure the noble and right reverend Lord that, since 1 July 2022, 87 sponsor licences have been revoked and 32 suspended pending further investigation.

Climate Change: Migration

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Thursday 14th September 2023

(9 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Asked by
Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth
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To ask His Majesty’s Government what consultations they are having with European and other partners on how best to manage the likely migration as a result of climate change.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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My Lords, during the passage of the Illegal Migration Bill, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury stressed in his contributions that we were dealing with an international problem that requires international solutions. If this is so with the present refugee crisis, which is caused mainly by war, oppressive regimes and dire poverty, how much more is this the case when, on top of this, we have a mass movement of people predicted by climate change?

In fact, that movement is already taking place. Although it is not always easy to separate out displacement as a result of political and economic factors from that due to climate change, it has been estimated that, even now, a huge number of people have had to move because of the latter. For example, in 2022, it was estimated that 32.8 million people fell into this category. In other words, movement of people due to climate factors already forms just under half of the 71.1 million total displaced people in the world. This breaks down to 19.2 million having to move because of floods and 10 million because of storms, with 2.2 million as a result of wildfires, landslides and extreme temperatures forming the remainder.

To take just one example, the climate crisis has already uprooted millions of people in the United States. In 2018, 1.2 million people were displaced by extreme conditions of fire, storms and flooding, and the annual toll had risen to 1.7 million people by 2020. The US now spends the amazing figure of $l billion on a disaster every 18 days. If this is the impact on a developed country, it is not difficult to imagine the effect of climate change on those with fewer resources and a less developed infrastructure.

If this is what is happening in the present, scenarios for the future suggest that movements of people could be on a truly massive scale. One cause, as we know, is rising sea levels. Take Bangladesh for example: by 2050, climate experts predict that rising sea levels will submerge some 17% of the nation’s land and displace about 20 million people.

The World Bank has produced a scenario-based analysis which estimated that

“as many as 216 million people could move within their own countries due to slow-onset climate change impacts by 2050”,

with 86 million predicted to be displaced in sub-Saharan Africa alone. The UN’s International Organization for Migration puts the figure even higher, predicting there could be as many as 1 billion environmental migrants in the next few years, while more recent projections point to 1.2 billion by 2050 and 1.4 billion by 2060. After 2050, that figure is expected to soar as the world heats up further and the global population rises to its predicted peak in the mid-2060s.

Floods, fires and drought bring great hardship and suffering and force people to move. Most will seek to move within their own country, but some who are particularly desperate and resourceful will do anything to get away to what is perceived as a better life in a country overseas. It has been estimated that, since 2014, 28,000 people have lost their lives at sea. This reminds us that, unless the problems are tackled locally, there is bound to be an increase in the number of desperate people who will do anything for the chance of a better life in a more developed country.

The good news is that this issue is being discussed in a number of international organisations, including the Global Forum on Migration and Development, the GFMD; the International Dialogue on Migration, the IDM; and the International Migration Review Forum, the IMRF. The GFMD is currently ongoing, under the chairmanship of France, and its findings are due to be reported at its summit in January next year. It would be good if the Minister could say something about how these findings might best be discussed in Parliament. The IDM is an organ of the International Organization on Migration—the IOM—which brings together all stakeholders. It is urging countries to adopt a more preventive approach rather than just a reactive one.

The main body for Governments, however, is the IMRF, which serves as the “primary intergovernmental global platform”. It has a global compact, which is a “non-legally binding, cooperative framework”, which, as it says,

“fosters international cooperation among all relevant actors on migration, acknowledging that no State can address migration alone, and upholds the sovereignty of States and their obligations under international law”.

The IMRF takes place every four years. The summary report of its last meetings noted that speakers had highlighted the “importance of shared responsibility” in finding solutions to challenges, while noting that the pandemic had

“revealed gaps in migration governance”.

Looking to the future, it is probable that most migration will remain local or regional. It is vital that, in order for regions and countries to cope, the international community should assist in the initial phase of relocation by providing the necessary requirements for a smooth transition. This means stronger resources for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for example, in acute situations, and measures to integrate migrants with the local population. It is likely that, rather than an acute crisis, there will be slower and more orderly movements. In relation to this, it is good to note the UK climate change fund to help countries adapt to climate change. Perhaps the Minister might be able say something about this and how the fund will work—or is working already—to achieve this.

Another concern, which is not unrelated to this, has been raised by a number of concerned bodies. It is that, at the moment, there is no definition of “climate migrant”. Perhaps the Minister might be able to take that back to his department to ask whether consideration of that might be possible, because that would make it possible to have a much stronger legal framework for this whole issue.

I began by quoting the words of the most reverend Primate: that when it comes to migration, we are dealing with an international problem that has to be tackled internationally. It is therefore good to note that the issue is under discussion in at least three organisations under the auspices of the UN.

The danger is that these will just be talking shops, and—however useful they may be—in the end decisions have to be made and money has to be raised and spent. Is the Minister confident that we do in fact have the right mechanism in place for making decisions about how those countries most affected can be best helped and that resources for them can be made available? I mentioned earlier that the IMRF has commented on “gaps in migration governance”. In other words, are we confident that when decisions have to be made, there is a body capable of making them and making sure that the appropriate funds are available? Perhaps the Minister can reassure us on this issue. I beg to move.

Ukraine: Refugees

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Tuesday 8th March 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

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Asked by
Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to allow a greater number of Ukrainians who do not have family in the United Kingdom to come to this country; and what assessment they have made of the number of UK citizens willing to offer rent-free accommodation to refugees from Ukraine.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
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My Lords, the Government have announced that the UK will establish a humanitarian sponsorship pathway, which will open up a route to the UK for Ukrainians who may not have family ties with the UK but who are able to match with individuals, charities, businesses and community groups. There will be no numerical limit on this scheme; we will welcome as many Ukrainians as wish to come and have matched sponsors.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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I thank the Minister for her Answer, which is very welcome indeed. Rabbi Jonathan Romain in Maidenhead advertised locally for people willing to offer rooms to Ukrainian refugees and, within days, he had 240 offers. I believe that that could be replicated all over the country, so I am very glad that the Government have given that Answer. Will people with a named host and named accommodation who wish to come here be able to undertake the process in this country rather than having to go through a long and very unsatisfactory visa process via Paris or Brussels? Poland and Germany have shown very open hearts; I believe that the British people will do the same.

Migrants

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Thursday 25th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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My Lords, other noble Lords have spoken about the terrible tragedy in the channel, and I identify with what has been said, but I want to look more widely at this issue. Even if we can solve the question of highly dangerous crossings, it is good to recognise at the outset that the issue of asylum seekers and refugees is not one of those problems that will be solved in the short term and will, therefore, have to be managed. It is not going to be solved in the short term because, for the foreseeable future, there will continue to be truly desperate people fleeing oppressive regimes, areas of violent conflict and acute starvation, a situation which will be accentuated in future years because of the effects of climate change. People are desperate enough to undertake hazardous journeys over long distances because the alternative, quite simply, is worse. So the problem will have to be managed humanely and fairly, with common sense and a sense of perspective.

We can be very grateful that the UK is acting humanely where it matters first and most of all—actually rescuing people in danger of drowning in la Manche, the English Channel. That is and must remain the first priority. Then, the refugees, whether they are genuine asylum seekers or economic migrants, must be housed humanely while their cases are processed. It was very reassuring to hear from the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey, that that is the case—it was good to hear.

My particular concern is that the responsibility to care for and later settle those who are allowed to remain should be shared fairly by the country as a whole. At the moment, as is inevitable, refugees arrive predominantly at Dover and are the responsibility of the people and councils in that area. What extra financial and other support are they receiving? Are the people in those areas, and those local authorities, satisfied that they are getting the amount adequate for the task that they have to perform? This is a national responsibility, and I believe that the country as a whole wants to have a share in this and not just push it off on to a few areas. Those areas need wider support.

Then there is the question of resettling those who have been allowed to remain and those whose cases are still being processed. At the moment they are going predominantly to the north-west and the north-east. In the north-west, for example, there are 1.6 asylum seekers and 0.7 people with refugee status per thousand of the population. In the north-east it is 1.4 and 0.2. In stark contrast to this, in the south-east there are only 0.1 and 0.2 per thousand of the population. The argument in favour of this disparity is obvious—the south-east is heavily overcrowded. However, fairness demands that local authorities in the north-west and north-east, as well as those in the Midlands, are given all the support they need for this resettlement work. Much of the UK’s wealth, as we know, is in the south-east. I stress again that this is a national responsibility, so how much support are the north-east, the north-west and the Midland region, in particular, receiving to help with this resettlement, and are the local authorities in those areas satisfied with the help they are getting?

The last thing I want to say is that we need to keep this issue in perspective. In Lebanon, 19.5% of the population are refugees. In Jordan, the figure is 10.5% and in Turkey, it is 5%. Within Europe in 2020, Germany was hosting well over 1 million refugees. According to UNHCR statistics, at the end of 2020 in the UK there were 132,349 refugees, 77,245 pending asylum cases and 4,662 stateless persons. This is not an insignificant number, and I do not in any way underestimate it, but we need to keep it in perspective. It is not going to go away in the short term; it needs to be managed humanely, fairly and with common sense. This is a shared responsibility and we need to make sure that it is equally shared between different parts of the country.

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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My Lords, I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for not answering that point. I was trying to get through everything. As I understand it, we are developing technology to ensure that we identify not only people coming in but those leaving. We also have exit checks. I will end there, and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB)
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Perhaps I might be allowed to ask just one question concerning people claiming the need to come to this country who have money. Does the Minister agree that it is possible to understand how a person might have money to pay for the journey but have a genuinely well-founded fear of persecution? Iran is the obvious example, where there is a thriving middle class. One can earn a good living there if one keeps one’s head down. However, if one is the wrong sexuality, religion or outspoken, one of course wants to leave and would have to money to do so.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I take the noble and right reverend Lord’s point but the point that my noble friend was making is that, in the main, you can afford to get here only if you can afford to pay the people smugglers. That was not any slight on those who can pay but the fact is that you can get here only if you can afford to pay. There is a secondary point to that. If you cannot afford to pay, the people smuggler might say, “Don’t worry, you can work for me when you get to the UK.” You could then find yourself being enslaved.

Policing and Prevention of Violence against Women

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Tuesday 16th March 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord McNicol of West Kilbride) (Lab)
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My Lords, we have only 20 minutes for questions and there are 15 more speakers. I know it is difficult, but if we can keep questions and answers brief there are a lot of noble Lords who wish to get in on this important issue.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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Surely what is needed, as the Minister suggested, is a fundamental rethinking by men of their attitude to women. I feel every sympathy with those women who justifiably feel vulnerable and angry at the moment. What practical steps are the Government taking to ensure that more is done about this in schools? The law has only a limited effect; there must be a fundamental change of attitudes, and that begins right in the earliest days at school. Is it worth looking, for instance, at what is being taught under the heading of moral and social education? Is some kind of review of that needed?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con) [V]
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The answer to the noble and right reverend Lord is that we have now made relationship and sex education obligatory in secondary schools, and relationship education is now in primary schools, which is absolutely right. There is more that we could do. This is not just about schools, but perhaps some of the ways that children behave at school reflect what their home lives teach them that relationships and behaviour look like. The education environment is incredibly important for children, but so too is the home environment.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Baroness Butler-Sloss Portrait Baroness Butler-Sloss (CB) [V]
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Although I have the deepest sympathy for those who have suffered this unjust behaviour from the other spousal partner, I do not believe that the amendment, for all its good intentions, should be part of the Bill or should be set in primary legislation. It is telling the judges to do what they do already and will not change the situations on the ground. I do not believe the moral or psychological effect of primary legislation will have any effect on those who behave in such a way, nor help the sufferers of this serious, unfair behaviour. Consequently, I do not agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Meyer, that the family courts would benefit. On the contrary, it would give them no support at all. I also disagree with the view of Cafcass and, for these reasons, I do not support the amendment.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I was very distressed during Committee on the Bill at the way the House has become so polarised over this amendment. I believe a way can and should be found to do justice to both sides of the argument, for both raise real and serious concerns.

Clearly the term “parental alienation” has become controversial, coming as it does from the United States, where it has been so closely linked with gender politics, so I welcome the rewording of the amendment, where what we are dealing with is clearly defined.

Parental alienation was referred to in earlier debates as a “concept”, or even prefaced, as in the debate this afternoon, sadly, by the qualification “so-called”. But the concept arose on the basis of experience. The fact is that very many people, both men and women, have been alienated from their children as a result of the unacceptable behaviour of their partner or former partner. That it exists I have absolutely no doubt. Do the opponents of this amendment really doubt this?

At the same time, it is clear, particularly from the evidence of Women’s Aid, that some people use the concept of parental alienation to cover up child abuse. I am sure this happens, and I can believe that the greatest number of perpetrators are men.

So we are dealing with two realities, both of which have to be taken into account. In any given case, the evidence has to be heard and assessed and judgment given. This is what courts are for. This is what Cafcass is for. They know what it is and can recognise it for what it is. They have developed the child impact assessment framework to

“identify how children are experiencing parental separation and to assess the impact of different case factors on them, including parental alienation.”

At the same time, they will be well aware that there are cases where this is a cover for child abuse. This, too, they can recognise for what it is.

These are very difficult decisions. I would not like to have to make them myself. But the point is that there are people who are trained to make such decisions, and the courts use them. So I very much hope that the Government will accept this amendment, or at least, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, suggested, that the wording proposed in the amendment is clearly understood to be an example of coercion, and that this is set out equally clearly in statutory guidance.

Baroness Helic Portrait Baroness Helic (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I have listened carefully to the speech of my noble friend Lady Meyer and to those who support the amendment. I recognise their sincerity and good intentions and their desire to do the right thing for the victims of abuse and, above all, for children. But I am afraid I continue to have very serious concerns about the amendment and the ideas it seeks to introduce into the Bill. I do not think it is required to help those victims whom noble Lords wish to help. In fact, I fear that it will do the opposite; it will empower abusers. I am concerned that, despite the change in language, the amendment still rests on the idea of parental alienation and serves as a means of embedding that concept, so open to misuse as a means of covering up domestic abuse, in law. Parental alienation is a flawed model for addressing the experiences of the parents and children the amendment seeks to help.

I agree that parental behaviour

“deliberately designed to damage the relationship between a child of the parent and the other parent”,

in the words of the amendment, is unacceptable, but the concept of parental alienation is so open to misuse in a way that is deeply harmful to children who are victims of domestic violence that we must be extremely cautious. Its lack of rigorous scientific foundation or clear definition means that it does not in assist in addressing abuse. Rather, it has become a vehicle for minimising and evading legitimate allegations of domestic abuse and child abuse by suggesting that child victims, often suffering serious medical trauma and with valid reasons for resisting contact with the abusive parent, have been manipulated by the so-called alienating parent. In the United States, where the concept originated, when a parent claims alienation, courts are more than twice as likely to disbelieve evidence of any type of abuse and almost four times less likely to believe a protective parent’s claims of child abuse. The result is that children are often forced to live with their abuser and are at risk of serious harm, lifelong trauma and even death.

We do not need this imported into our law. I do not wish to diminish or ignore the experiences of those not feel that their relationships with their children have been undermined and damaged by a protective parent. They are victims too, and we must hear their voices. I am also open to being told that I am wrong, and I have sought additional clarification from experts on domestic abuse. They tell me that this behaviour is an example of coercive control. We already have the legal means to tackle it under existing laws on coercive control. The recognition of children as victims in the Bill should strengthen that, as should the very welcome government amendment on post-separation abuse.

A clause to tackle this behaviour already exists, and there can be no case for us introducing any concepts or amendments which come with so many proven risks to children attached. However, there is a strong case, as I shall argue later in my speech on my amendment on training, for the training of judges. Children must have contact with both parents, but not at any price. We cannot dismiss a child’s voice when they disclose abuse.

Before I close, I believe it is important to make one final point. This is not aimed at anyone in your Lordships’ House, but it is necessary as a matter of basic principle. I think it serves to confirm some of what I have said about the dangers of the concept of parental alienation that the behaviour of some of its proponents is aggressive, bullying and abusive. They attempt to silence anyone who disagrees with them. People who have dared challenge parental alienation have faced vitriolic attacks and regular attempts to undermine their career and even see them sacked from their job. Respected experts have been called fraudulent, corrupt, lying and biased. People who have devoted their career to tackling abuse have been described as child abusers.

We cannot ignore those attacks. Since we began to debate the Bill, they have increased. One person who has faced a great deal of harassment tells me that it has significantly escalated and continued on an almost daily basis since the Bill received its Second Reading in your Lordships’ House.

I have spent most of my career working in foreign policy. I have never witnessed behaviour such as this until I became involved in these debates. Many supporters of parental alienation outside this House seek to use abusive behaviour to silence their critics and, in doing so, they serve only to remind us why we have such serious concerns about this concept and why it is imperative that we do not allow it into our laws.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
Committee stage & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 25th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I support the amendments put forward by the noble Baroness, Lady Meyer, and others. She spoke very powerfully from her own experience, but it is obvious even to those with only limited experience, drawn from those they know are going through divorces, that how a parent speaks of and encourages their children to speak of the partner from whom they are estranged is one of the challenges facing a divorcing couple, if not the major one.

A parent who loves their child wants not only to keep their child’s love; in return, they want that child to think and speak well of them. There must be a severe temptation, even for the most altruistic parent, if they believe their partner has terrible faults, to draw these to the attention of their children. Thank goodness there are very many divorcing couples who resist that temptation. They want good parenting to continue after the divorce by both parents; whatever they feel, they try not to let this influence their child in their relations with the other parent. However, the temptation to speak negatively about the estranged partner to their children must be severe in some cases, and sadly some actively encourage hostility. We know that a child’s expressed wishes can sometimes be the result of indoctrination by one parent against the other to sever the child’s relationship with the targeted parent.

I have read the evidence of Women’s Aid and listened very carefully to the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton. They have worries about these amendments. They are properly concerned that such amendments, if passed, might result in allegations of child abuse not being taken as seriously as they should, and clearly that argument needs to be weighed with due seriousness during the passage of this Bill. However, it seems to me that what is put forward in Amendments 2 and 4 does not in any way depend on evidence that something is discredited, but on a realistic recognition of how embattled couples too often operate. I believe that, difficult though it is, specialists in child abuse, who could be called into court if necessary, would be able to distinguish this from a situation where one parent is clearly using their child as a weapon. As the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, has said, if the judges are given adequate training, they too would be able, in their wisdom and experience, clearly to distinguish the one from the other.

We need a clear marker in law that some ways of alienating children from the other parent are totally unacceptable and need to be shown to be clearly illegal. I believe this is best seen not as a form of child abuse but as an aspect of domestic abuse. There may be child abuse in some cases, but this does not take away from the fact that some parents, while not guilty of abuse, alienate their children from the other parent.

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock Portrait Baroness Watkins of Tavistock (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I warmly congratulate the Government on this Bill, particularly the recognition that children are also victims of domestic abuse when witnessing abuse, often between parents. I support Amendment 2, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Meyer, and her supporters, and Amendment 4, to which I have added my name.

In briefings from some quarters, there is disagreement on the inclusion of parental alienation in this Bill. It is argued that this is because there is as yet no clear definition of the term. The issues have been very ably outlined by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton. However, I believe that a lack of definition merely means we are in the process of making much greater—[Inaudible.]

Domestic Abuse and Hidden Harms during Lockdown

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Tuesday 19th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I agree with the noble Baroness. I would like not to just promote it to all pharmacies but—as in the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy—to see how it could be rolled out more widely to more premises. She says that fewer than a quarter of pharmacies are registered. I do not know whether that is the case at all, but it has just been launched and I assume that the take-up will improve as time goes on. We will certainly promote it to more than just pharmacies as time goes on.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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I congratulate the Government on the initiatives that they have taken on this issue; they are very much to be welcomed. My question concerns the strategies outlined at the end of the Statement. There is one to tackle violence against women and girls, another to tackle domestic abuse and one to tackle child sexual abuse. There is clearly overlap here as, after all, most domestic violence is directed against women and girls. Can the Minister clarity how potential confusion and muddle will be avoided in relation to these different strategies?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I understand the noble Lord’s feeling that there might be some confusion but, looking at the various strategies he has outlined, I do not think we can lump them all into one, because we would then start to fail to support the people who very much need our help. I am content with how it is outlined although, as he said, there is the possibility of some overlap.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Excerpts
2nd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 5th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

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Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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Over the last 20 years, there has been a vast increase in awareness of the seriousness and extent of domestic abuse. The Bill is a welcome response to it. It is serious, as we have heard: 2.4 million adults experienced abuse in 2019—twice as many women as men. The 24% increase in recorded crimes of domestic abuse in the same period, to nearly 750,000, as well as showing an increase in the number of incidents, may indicate a growing awareness of them and, therefore, a willingness of people to report them. That is good as an indicator of heightened awareness. If we are sometimes inclined to lament the ragged moral fabric of our society, we can be grateful that, on this issue at least, we are slightly more morally sensitive and aware than some previous generations.

This is a fundamentally good Bill and, rightly, has all-party support. The question is whether other forms of abuse are not covered by it so far. We have heard of a good number, but I want to mention briefly just two, as a number of your Lordships also have.

One is continuing economic abuse, even when a couple has separated. As one survivor put it: “He cannot physically get at me. He cannot emotionally hurt me, yet still, economically, he can cripple me”. Economic abuse is a major factor in most abuse cases and is experienced by 95% of abused women. Some 60% are left in debt. Economic abuse is almost always linked with other forms of abuse, including physical safety.

Significant as these figures are, the key one, as far as a possible amendment to the Bill is concerned, is that one in four women continue to experience economic abuse even when they have left the abuser. This is a shocking figure and there needs to be a clear legal remedy. Economic abuse does not require physical proximity; it continues and/or escalates after a couple separates. It can also begin after the separation, when the opportunity to continue other forms of controlling and coercive behaviour has been removed and when the only way left is through access to the former partner’s resources.

The ways in which economic abuse can continue, escalate or even begin as a form of coercive control include spending money from a victim’s personal bank account or from a joint account, running up bills in a victim’s name, prolonging the sale of a joint property, damaging or stealing personal property, interfering with the victim’s employment and their ability to keep their job, refusing to pay child maintenance and continually taking the victim to court, resulting in financial costs. There are all sorts of ways in which economic coercion continues, even after an abused wife or husband has left their partner.

Another form of abuse that I believe we need to look at very carefully is that which the noble Baroness, Lady Newlove, has spoken about so powerfully before: a separate offence of non-fatal strangulation. After stabbing, strangulation is the second most common cause of death for women as a result of domestic violence. It is a tactic used by perpetrators to terrify victims and send the clear message that, if they wanted, they could easily end the victim’s life. It leaves many women with permanent health problems, and the effect of non-fatal strangulation is thought to be the second most common cause of stroke in women under the age of 40. A Bangor University study found that more than 50% of women subject to domestic violence have suffered strangulation. New Zealand has introduced a stand-alone non-lethal strangulation offence, as have four states in Australia and 27 in America—three-quarters of the total. We have a chance in this Bill to do the same.

This is a very good Bill, but it can be made even better by attention to these and other forms of domestic abuse not covered at the moment and already mentioned by your Lordships.