Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP: His actions don’t follow his words

Today, Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, has announced a package of measures about the treatment of victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system. Yet his own Victims Commissioner has doubts and Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, Vera Baird remains skeptical about his commitment to deliver.

Under Grayling’s proposals, he states victims will be kept informed about their case, courts will allow personal impact statements to be read out. Other measures announced include setting up a victims information service from March 2015 and allowing more child witnesses to film their evidence before a trial starts.

However, the

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Miliband calls for “proper intervention” into police conduct during the Orgreave miners clash

Labour Leader, Ed Miliband and Vera Baird – Calling for Answers.

From Labourlist – www.labourlist.org

The Guardian has reported today that Miliband has become one of the most senior politicians to call for a “proper investigation” into the confrontation between police and miners at Orgreave – known as the Battle of Orgreave

Thirty years after the clashes between police and miners at Orgreave, the drive to push for a full investigation into alleged police alleged misconduct both during and after the incident continues. The police are accused of physically assaulting miners, lying under oath and perverting the course of

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Vera visits Newcastle's Angelou Centre

Everyone I have spoken to, locally, about violence against women admires the Angelou Centre, which is just moving to bigger premises in Newcastle’s West End.

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Everywoman Safe Everywhere: Labour’s Commission into Women’s Safety - Interim report

Everywoman Safe Everywhere, Labour’s Commission on Women’s Safety is a consultation established in November 2011 in response to concerns that, not only were government policies disproportionately impacting upon women economically, but may be risking their safety too. Yvette Cooper asked Vera Baird, former Solicitor General with a strong record working to reduce violence against women, to chair this new Women’s Safety Commission assisted by Kate Green and Stella Creasy.

In the last three months the Commission has held 14 evidence gathering sessions in different towns and cities; has engaged with more than 100 organisations and experts, and received upwards

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Checking the blind spot - Examining violence against women

This piece appeared in Next Left on Friday, 10th February 2012:

This is a guest post by Vera Baird. Vera is a member of the Fabian Society Executive Committee and Chair of the new Labour Commission on Women’s Safety, commissioned by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

Yvette Cooper described this Government, whose first budget took 70% of its cuts from women and 30% from men, as having “a blind spot” about women. She seems to be right when one considers, not only economics, but also plans such as the deletion of

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The Infidelity defence to murder

Read Vera’s article intended for the Guardian ‘Comment is Free’ section. (they published an early draft instead of the final version that appears here):

Parliament made clear three years ago that sexual infidelity should not be allowed as a defence for murder, whatever the circumstances. A partner’s affair could no longer be treated by Courts as a defensible reason to lose self control and kill.

However, giving judgment, in three domestic murder appeals last week, Lord Chief Justice

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Women turned away from refuge shelters told to sleep in Occupy camps

The Labour Commission on Women’s Safety began gathering evidence just before Christmas. My colleagues, MPs Kate Green, Stella Creasy and I, met in London with twelve leading national women’s organisations to scope out what our inquiry needs to cover.

The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, has asked us to produce a provisional report by International Women’s Day in March about whether, and if so how, coalition decisions, policies and legislation are impacting on women’s safety.

Read the rest of Vera’s piece in Left Foot Forward.

The Labour Women's Safety Commission

Making women safe is something on which the Labour Government spent time and resources. Now, the well-known concern that the Coalition Government is hurting women disproportionately in the purse compared to the impact on the male wallet, has turned a more worrying corner. Because the cuts in public spending, legal aid, local government and the police – to mention just a few – appear not to be being assessed for their cumulative impact on women’s personal safety.

Street lights being turned off and poorer public transport make women anxious, whilst police cuts could lead to fewer specialist officers to

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Justice for Jane Clough

Vera is pleased to have written a new clause into the Legal Aid Bill for the ‘Justice for Jane Clough’ Campaign and got the Shadow Justice Minister to propose it in the House of Commons. “The Government has accepted it in principle but it must go into this Bill and not be delayed because it will save lives”

 

Here is Julie Bindel’s excellent piece from the Guardian and Vera’s piece on the Justice for

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WOMEN IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: PRACTITIONERS,PERPETRATORS,PREY AND PRISONERS

Annual Lecture to Northern Ireland Medico-Legal Society

Belfast March 18th 2011 Intriguing Title expressed with the Artful Aid of Apt Alliteration At the risk of sounding vulgar I think we have one P too many in there. Think we can put together Perpetrators and Prisoners — though I cant manage a word that does that. And let’s start there because there are far too many of the latter – women in prison. I know you have some specific and very contemporary issues in Northern Ireland. Start In Uk between 1995 and 2005 the proportion of women being sentenced to

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