Latest update: The controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill is now entering the last stage in the House of Lords, known as the Report Stage. The bill had passed the House of Commons in July 2021 despite broad opposition, including for infringing on civil liberties and deepening racial inequality in the criminal justice system. Since then, there have been many amendments tabled to the bill.
Working Chance stands with a coalition of women's rights, criminal justice, and civil rights organisations in highlighting to policymakers how the bill is likely to harm women. We have co-signed the following briefings:
Briefing on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - House of Commons Report Stage
We contributed to and co-signed the joint Briefing on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - House of Commons Report Stage, led by Rights of Women. This briefing outlines how the proposed legislation 'represents a deeply authoritarian approach to our fundamental rights and freedoms, containing a raft of measures which erode our civil liberties while failing to engage with or address the complex, underlying causes of violence against women and girls.'
Joint briefing for House of Lords ahead of Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
We further supported the Joint briefing for House of Lords ahead of Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill Serious Violence Duty and Serious Violence Reduction Orders, led by Liberty and others. This briefing addresses two key proposals in the Bill:
- Serious Violence Duty: While we appreciate efforts on reducing serious violence, this duty as presented in the Bill presents some serious risks. The briefing states: 'We are concerned that this duty will lead to discriminatory and disproportionate targeting of Black and minoritised communities. We are also concerned about the potential for data-sharing under this duty to threaten individual privacy and place minoritised women and survivors.' The briefing also expresses concerns about the recommendation to amend the definition of 'serious violence' to explicitly include domestic homicide, domestic abuse, and sexual violence, as 'it risks expanding the surveillance and criminalisation of survivors.'
- Serious Violence Reduction Orders: The Bill would create a new civil order, the Serious Violence Reduction Order (‘SVRO’), which could be imposed on an individual on the basis of a previous conviction, imposing limits and restrictions on that person. Police would be able to stop and search anyone subject to an SVRO in a public place without reasonable suspicion. The briefing expresses our concern that 'the SVRO provisions will have a direct impact on young women experiencing criminal exploitation' and that the measure is 'profoundly disproportionate, and that might actually exacerbate and entrench the root causes of serious violence rather than addressing them.'
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If you would like to collaborate with us on this issue, please reach out to our Policy & Research Officer Olivia Dehnavi at firstname.lastname@example.org.