The use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases – Women and Equalities Committee Report

The Government must reset the parameters around the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and address the failure of the employment tribunal system to ensure all employees who have experienced discrimination have a meaningful route of redress.

In the report, MPs condemn the routine cover-up of allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and the fact that some employers fail to investigate allegations of unlawful discrimination properly – or at all.

The report highlights the difficulties of pursuing a case at employment tribunal and the substantial imbalance of power that can exist between employers and employees which can drive employees to feel that they have little choice but to reach a settlement that prohibits them from speaking out.

Scope of the inquiry

Following its recent inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace, which recommended that the Government should clean up the use of NDAs in sexual harassment cases, the Committee today launches a new inquiry to look at the wider use of NDAs in cases where any form of harassment or other discrimination is alleged. This might include, for example, pregnancy or maternity discrimination or racist abuse.

More at https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/nda-inquiry-17-19/

 

June 11, 2019

2019 Birthday Honours for Women Working for Women

OBE

MBE

BEM

Full list available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/birthday-honours-lists-2019

For earlier awards see http://www.womensgrid.org.uk/?s=Honours+for+Women+Working+for+Women

 

June 11, 2019

CPS accepts Sally Challen’s manslaughter plea

The Crown Prosecution Service has accepted Sally Challen’s guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

This follows the Court of Appeal’s decision to order a retrial for murder in light of medical evidence not available when she was convicted in 2011 of killing her husband Richard the previous year.

Following this ruling, the CPS directed an independent consultant psychiatrist, Dr Philip Joseph, to review all the medical the evidence and take a fresh look at the case.

After meeting Mrs Challen last month, Dr Joseph concluded she was suffering from an adjustment disorder – an abnormality of the mind that substantially impaired her mental responsibility for her acts.

Further medical reports from the prison psychiatrist, also obtained after the appeal, supported Mrs Challen’s defence of diminished responsibility. This differed significantly from the evidence available to prosecutors in 2011, when the two experts in the case disagreed on this point.

Helen Ellwood of the CPS said: “We have a duty keep all cases under continuous review and take account of any new information that comes to light. Following the Court of Appeal’s ruling, which heard new evidence not available at the earlier trial, we ordered a fresh psychiatric report to examine Sally Challen’s mental state when she killed her husband.

“The balance of medical evidence now indicates Mrs Challen was suffering from an abnormality of mind at the time of the killing, which substantially impaired her mental responsibility for her acts. After careful consideration, the CPS has therefore decided to accept Mrs Challen’s manslaughter plea on the grounds of diminished responsibility.”

Mrs Challen has now been sentenced to nine years and four months for manslaughter.

Assessing the evidence

Following the Court of Appeal’s retrial order in February, the case was reviewed by CPS South East senior prosecutors. As well as the original charge of murder, they considered the alternative offence of manslaughter, and whether the partial defences of diminished responsibility or provocation applied.

Diminished Responsibility

Under s2(1) of the Homicide Act 1957, on a charge of murder, the defence must prove a person was “suffering from such abnormality of the mind… as substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts”.

At the murder trial in 2011, the prosecution and defence experts offered differing opinions over whether the defence of diminished responsibility was available.

However, during the course of the appeal, and since the original conviction was quashed, three further psychiatrists have diagnosed abnormalities of the mind.

This supports the defence of diminished responsibility.

Provocation

The relevant law relating to provocation is set out in s3 Homicide Act 1957. Subsequent caselaw has confirmed that ‘provocation is some act, or series of acts, which would cause in any reasonable person, and actually causes in the accused, a sudden and temporary loss of control…..’

In this case, there was significant evidence of premeditation on Mrs Challen’s part and that she had clearly given forethought to the circumstances in which she might attack her husband.

The issue of coercive control in relation to the defence of provocation was considered as part of the appeal. However, the Court of Appeal judgment concluded that “coercive control is not a defence to murder”.  The academic expert evidence regarding this subject was ruled inadmissible by the judges.

Conclusion

The CPS concluded the defence of diminished responsibility is likely to succeed and there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to the charge of murder.

Notes to editors

  • Georgina ‘Sally’ Challen (DOB: 27/07/1954) killed her husband Richard on 14 August 2010. She was convicted of murder after trial at Guildford Crown Court in June 2011. Her appeal was heard on 27/28 February 2019. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter on 5 April 2019
  • Helen Ellwood is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS South East Complex Casework Unit
  • All our charging decisions are made in line with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and based on whether our two-stage legal test for prosecution is met. This involves a careful review of all the available evidence to judge whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction, then a consideration as to whether the prosecution is in the public interest

https://www.cps.gov.uk/south-east/news/accepts-sally-challens-manslaughter-plea

See also: https://www.justiceforwomen.org.uk/news/2019/6/10/sally-challen-ruling-gives-hope-to-other-abused-women-jailed-for-murder

June 11, 2019

7 June 2019 ~ Women of Tyneside Events – Newcastle – Until 30 June 2019

The Women of Tyneside project has been working with diverse groups of women across Tyne and Wear in a variety of settings.

International Women’s Day, Friday 8 March 2019, marked the launch of our Festival of Women, a uniquely programmed series of events taking place in venues across Tyneside from March until June 2019.

Festival of Women events organised by TWAM

Women of Tyneside: The Female of the Species (Great North Nights)

  • 7 June, 6-8pm Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Join Women of Tyneside for a chance to explore the Great North Museum: Hancock out of hours!

Learn more about the representation of women within our museum collections, including the female species’ within our natural history collection, and learn more about the Women of Tyneside project and our work, through a series of interventions across the museum. Remember to take the time to contribute to our washing line of sustainability.

Our Keeper of Archaeology, Andrew Parkin, will be carrying out tours of the fascinating representation of women within our Greek archaeology gallery at both 6:30pm and 7:30pm.

Grab a bite to eat and drink in the Hancock Café, open late. The evening will also be a chance to see the incredibly famous Natural History Museum’s Dippy the Dinosaur while it is here in Newcastle on its tour of the UK! Book your tickets to see Dippy on the evening here

Women of Tyneside: What If Girls Ruled the World?

  • 8 June, 11am-1pm Play + Invent space, Discovery Museum

Join artist Richard Bliss as he works with boys to create an artistic response to the question, ‘What if girls ruled the world?’ This workshop is for boys and their male parents or guardians. Age recommendation: 8-13 years old.

Book tickets here!

Women of Tyneside: Legacy!

  • 14 June, 9am-4pm  Great Hall, Discovery Museum, Newcastle

Book tickets here!

To celebrate and commemorate the Festival of Women, we are hosting a day of inspiring presentations from some of the regions’ most talented and influential women. Join Baroness Joyce Quin, chair of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums as she presents this not-to-be-missed event, filled with incredible women!

Hear from:
– Hannabiell Sanders and Yilis del Carmen Suriel, Ladies of Midnight Blue
– Sharon MacArthur, also known as Miss Menopause
– Dame Vera Baird, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Police
– Linda Conlon, Chief Executive, International Centre for Life
– Moira Kilkenny, co-author of ‘Angels of the North: Notable Women of the North East’
– Smart Works Newcastle
With a keynote speech from the incredible Joeli Brearley, the founder of Pregnant Then Screwed.

Pregnant Then Screwed is an organisation which protects and supports women who encounter pregnancy and maternity discrimination and lobbies the Government for legislative change.

Established 4 years ago in response to Joeli’s own experience of pregnancy discrimination, Pregnant Then Screwed has supported over 3,000 women. Her demands for legislative change have gathered over 100,000 signatures and been supported by 103 MPs. Her national protest, March of the Mummies, has been staged in 6 cities across the UK and one city in the US and was raised in Prime Minister’s Questions. Her events have supported thousands of mothers to find work that works for them. Joeli is the winner of the 2019 Northern Power Women ‘’Agent of Change’’ award, she is an Observer 2018 New Radical, and an Amnesty International Women Human Rights Defender. She is currently advising the Government on what they should do about the use of Non Disclosure Agreements in cases of pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

To keep the ticket price as low as possible, tea & coffee will be provided, but delegates will need to make their own arrangements for lunch. A cafe is available on site at Discovery Museum, though all delegates are invited to bring their own lunch with them.

Our final speaker will be announced soon!

£7

Remembering Resistance: A Century of Women’s Protest in the North of England

  • 29 June, 11am – 4pm  Discovery Museum

Do you have stories to tell about activism? Remembering Resistance is a unique project celebrating 100 years of women’s protest in the North of England. Come along and share your memories and any related object which we would love to record, celebrate and use to inspire future generations. Click here for more information on the Remembering Resistance project.

Women of Tyneside: Deeds Not Words Walk

  • 30 June, 10.30am  Meet at The Junction, Haymarket, Newcastle

Approximately 90 minutes walk, beginning at Haymarket and ending at Central Station. Visiting sites linked to the suffrage movement in Newcastle, including the events of 9 October 1909, known as the Battle of Newcastle.

Booking information coming soon.

https://www.twmuseums.org.uk/women-of-tyneside-events

June 7, 2019

10 June 2019 18:30 ~ A Feminist Perspective of the Syrian Political Process: Return of Displaced Syrians, Reconstruction, and an Engendered Constitution – LSE – London

Hosted by the Centre for Women, Peace and Security and the Middle East Centre

Until 8pm @ 9.04 Fawcett House, Clements Inn, LSE

Speakers

  • Kholoud Mansour SWPM member
  • Wejdan Nassif SWPM member
  • Lina Wafai SWPM member

Chair

  • Marsha Henry Interim Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security

This event marks the launch of policy papers by the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM) on an engendered constitution, the return of displaced Syrians and reconstruction.

The papers relied on the findings of a series of national consultations conducted with eight women groups in the regime-controlled areas, in northern Syria and in one neighbouring country. The papers aim at identifying women’s priorities, challenges, positions and aspirations in regards to the the three topics. The panellists include the co-leads on the national consultations, prominent feminist political figures and authors from Syria. Established in October 2017, the SWPM formed out of a collective need to increase women’s participation in the political process. The launch of these papers is an opportunity to build momentum for rethinking the Syrian political process from feminist and gender perspectives.

About the speakers

Kholoud Mansour is a researcher and consultant from Syria. Her work spans across humanitarian and development responses, the UN system, women’s political participation, civil society, refugees and migration, and transitional justice. She has published and worked as a senior consultant for leading think tanks, UN agencies and international organisations such as Chatham House, Overseas Development Institute, and DanChurchAid.

Wejdan Nassif is a co-founding member of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM). Since 2015, she has been a member of the Follow Up Committee of the Syrian Women’s Network. Additionally, Wejdan is an accomplished author, having published several original works, including Lettres De Syrie and A Vau L’Eau.

Lina Wafai is a co-founder of the Syrian Women’s Political Movement (SWPM). Lina participates in Mwatana and was a member of the Syrian Women’s Initiative for Peace and Democracy, a UN and SWN collaboration. After being wrongfully dismissed from her job in 2006 because she was a signatory to Beirut-Damascus Declaration, Lina opened a private engineering practice from 2007 to 2013.

Marsha Henry (chair) is Interim Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security and Associate Professor at the Department of Gender Studies, LSE.

This event is free and open to all. No booking is required.

http://www.lse.ac.uk/women-peace-security/events/Current-Events/A-Feminist-Perspective-of-the-Syrian-Political-Process

June 7, 2019