Expecting Change: the case for ending the immigration detention of pregnant women – Medical Justice Report

This report shows that, although migrant pregnant women are detained with a view to their removal, only 5% of those held in one particular detention centre in the UK in 2011 were successfully removed.

It also finds that the healthcare these women received in detention was inadequate and that asylum seeking women have poorer health outcomes during and after childbirth than others.

The report shows the risks that detention entails for pregnancy and calls on the British government to stop detaining pregnant women.


See also:


September 2, 2019

Victim-Survivors of rape don’t feel justice has been met, even if the accused goes to prison – Scottish Centre for Crime & Justice Research

The Scottish criminal justice process leaves those who have reported a rape or serious sexual assault feeling marginalised and with little control regardless of their case’s outcome, a new study has found.

Researchers from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow interviewed victim-survivors who have navigated their way through the system to try and understand their ‘justice journey’.

While some positive experiences were identified, such as support provided through advocacy services and sensitivity shown by some specialist criminal justice professionals, victim-survivors also highlighted the lengthy duration of the process, administrative errors and poor communication from the police and courts. Other issues such the physical environments in which statements are given, the removal and non-return of personal possessions for evidential purposes, and in particular, being subjected to distressing questioning at trial, were also raised as significant points of concern.

Most notably none of the 17 victim-survivors, including those whose cases had resulted in a guilty verdict, believed that justice has been achieved.

The cumulative impacts of their experience of sexual violence and going through the criminal justice process led to victim survivors feeling their relationships with family had become strained, their health had deteriorated, including suffering night terrors, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

Beth said: “…it was three years of re-traumatisation.” Helen felt it had “totally destroyed everything”, while Lottie said she “didn’t know how to live for 18 months.”

Overall, the findings suggest there is a considerable gap between how victim-survivors anticipate their case will be treated and the reality of the criminal justice process. Victim-survivors felt that the criminal justice system is weighted in favour of the accused and that it does not adequately represent their interests.

Dr Oona Brooks-Hay who co-authored the report with Prof Michele Burman and Dr Lisa Bradley said she hoped the research findings would push for real change across the criminal justice system to address the significant concerns raised around how victim-survivors are informed, supported and represented.

Dr Brooks-Hay said: “There is a pressing need to look at how the criminal justice process can be reformed to meet the needs of victim-survivors who have had the courage to engage with the system.

“While our research reveals that some relatively minor practical changes could go a long way to improving experiences, more radical change such as the introduction of independent legal representation in serious sexual offence cases, must be given serious consideration. Sexual offences have profound and distinctive impacts, and therefore merit distinctive responses.”

The recommendations are far ranging across the whole of the criminal justice process, and include specialised sexual assault training for all police officers, early access to support from specialist agencies, better protection at court to avoid meeting the accused and his family. The recommendations also call for a review of the nature and manner of questioning in the court that infringes on the victim-survivors’ right to dignity and privacy, and which was found to be a significant source of distress.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, led by the University of Glasgow, is a collaboration of four Scottish universities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Strathclyde) that aims to produce research and develop researchers so as to better the development of policy, practice and public debate about crime and justice.
  2. Justice Journeys: Informing policy and practice through lived experience of victim-survivors of rape and serious sexual assault is published on SCCJR website. It is co-authored by Oona Brooks-Hay, Michele Burman and Lisa Bradley who are based at the University of Glasgow. The report was grant funded by the Scottish Government.
  3. During 2017-18, 2,255 rapes and attempted rapes were reported to the police which represents a 126% increase on 2010-11 figures (Scottish Government, Recorded Crime in Scotland 2017-18: A National Statistics publication for Scotland).

Part of a longer Press Release at https://www.sccjr.ac.uk/news-events/news/victim-survivors-of-rape-dont-feel-justice-has-been-met-even-if-the-accused-goes-to-prison/

See also:

  • Justice Journeys: Informing policy and practice through lived experience
    The principal focus of this research is on rape and sexual assault victim-survivors’ end-to-end experiences of the criminal justice system. It comprises in-depth interviews with 17 participants, whose cases reached varying stages of the criminal justice process in Scotland, including through to trial and conviction. The research aims to gain fuller understanding of: rape and sexual assault…


September 2, 2019

‘Whole housing approach’ needed for victims of domestic abuse – Centre for Gender and Violence Research

More needs to be done to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse who are homeowners or private renters, according to a new report from the University of Bristol.

Researchers in the Centre for Gender and Violence Research carried out in-depth interviews with 251 people and found two-thirds were either living in private rented property (38 per cent) or owned their own home (33 per cent), yet their needs are largely invisible.

Now, organisations are calling on the Government as well as key stakeholders – including banks, building societies, property agents and lawyers – to have a better understanding of domestic abuse and its impact on housing.

The report, carried out for the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) and Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA), was funded by social landlord Peabody as part of a pilot project called the ‘Whole Housing Approach’.

The project seeks to increase safety and choice for victims and their children, to reduce the use of costly emergency and/or refuge accommodation and ensure that, so far as is practicable and safe, victims can remain in their own homes.

Key findings from the Bristol University report highlight a need for awareness raising across both privately owned and privately rented sectors, as well as systemic changes to the legal and procedural frameworks that underpin them.

The report also highlights:

  • Financial penalties faced by victims and survivors
  • Loss of the family home and the emotional impact of having to leave
  • Barriers to safety
  • Importance of affordable, adequate legal advice and ineligibility for legal aid
  • Experiences of help-seeking amongst victims-survivors with a range of agencies
  • Debt created by the perpetrator or accrued through legal fees
  • Continued abuse post-separation
  • Court orders are crucial but obtaining one can be slow and expensive

Professor Marianne Hester, who led the Justice, Inequality and GBV research justice project, said: “It is clear from many of our interviewees, who were home owners or in private rented accommodation, that abusive (ex)-partners are currently able to find many ways to continue their coercive and controlling behaviour through interfering with financial aspects and agreements regarding home ownership and private tenancies.”

Interviews revealed how private rented sector tenants received inconsistent advice about their legal rights when trying to remain in the home, relied on permission from the landlord to implement safety measures and were unable to change the locks.

Many found that the only way to remove the perpetrator from the tenancy was to leave the home and end the tenancy completely. Financial penalties included the cost of starting over in new accommodation and being liable for all of the rent, bills and any damage caused by the perpetrator.

Homeowners also incurred financial penalties for leaving, reaching hundreds of thousands of pounds for one victim-survivor. They were more likely to end up with huge legal bills as a consequence of having to fight for what is rightfully theirs and many, approximately one in five (18 per cent), applied for an occupation order.

Many homeowners lacked the financial means to protect access to their own property and lost their financial investment.

In May 2019, the UK Government unveiled a new package of support for victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). It sees a legal duty placed on local authorities to deliver support in accommodation-based services, backed by funding to place services on a sustainable footing

The intention is that this new requirement will end the variation in support for those fleeing domestic abuse across the UK.


  1. The analysis drew on the Justice, Inequality and Gender Based Violence research conducted by the Universities of Bristol, West of England and Cardiff between 2015 and 2018, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant ES/M010090/1).

Part of a longer press release at http://bristol.ac.uk/news/2019/august/whole-housing-approach.html

September 2, 2019

9 October 2019 9:00 ~ CEASE Summit 2019 – Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) UK – London

  • Until 16:30 @ Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH
  • Tickets £15 – £35 (*)

CEASE UK 2019 is about exposing links between all forms of sexual exploitation and the vast global sex industry.

We believe that will never see an end to sexual abuse and exploitation until we challenge the industries that profit from turning women into objects and turning sex into a commodity.

We believe that we must speak out about the harms of hypersexualised culture in order to transform our society into a place that upholds and respects the dignity, humanity and worth of every last person.

If this is an issue you care about, come to CEASE 2019 and hear diverse speakers including survivors, academics, activists, MPs, lawyers and charity workers offering unique and fascinating insights into the latest research, news and developments.

  • Discover more about the interconnectedness of different forms of sexual exploitation
  • Gain unique and diverse perspectives on how to address the drivers and underlying causes of abuse
  • Get updates on the latest news, initiatives and developments

For more details, see our web page for the CEASE Summit 2019.

(*) Book tickets online at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cease-summit-2019-tickets-64665694834

CEASE UK: Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (UK)

CEASE UK is a national independent charity committed to exposing the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.

We believe that effective approaches to tackling this issue requires a robust analysis that takes consideration of the insidious influences that affect social norms, assumptions and behaviours. Many of the abuses we’re witnessing today- everything from child sexual exploitation to rape and sexual assault- are driven in the powerful influence of hypersexualisation, pornography and the commercial sex trade. What’s defended as benign fantasy and a matter of individual choice causes real harm to individuals, communities and to society as a whole.

What we do

Through the presentation of robust and relevant facts, research and information, including through strategic cooperation with other charities, organisations and policy makers, we seek to:

  • Expose the links between different forms of sexual exploitation, promoting joined-up thinking and preventing silos.
  • Explore how pornography and the global sex trade are direct and indirect drivers of sexual exploitation.
  • Highlight the harmful influence of pornography and the global sex trade on cultural and social norms and attitudes (for example hypersexualisation, the sexual objectification of women and the commodification of sex).

August 28, 2019