Cross-party group of MPs and peers launch inquiry into arrests of women

An influential cross-party panel of MPs and peers have launched an inquiry to investigate what can be done to reduce arrests of women in England and Wales.

The inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System (APPG) will be aimed at encouraging and enabling police forces to prevent women being drawn into the criminal justice system unnecessarily.

About 15 per cent of those arrested by police are women. Police forces in England and Wales arrested 103,000 women between April 2017 and March 2018.

The inquiry will look into how women with complex needs can be diverted to more appropriate services, such as women’s centres, prior to arrest. Making fewer arrests would lead to fewer women being prosecuted, sentenced and imprisoned.

Kate Green, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System, said: “In my time as a magistrate and as an MP, I have seen many cases where women have been brought into the criminal justice system unnecessarily. But, as a Manchester MP, I have also seen how women-specific services can divert women away from the criminal justice system by giving them holistic support.

“As the APPG marks its tenth anniversary, we want to explore how we can build on the work in Greater Manchester and on the success led by the APPG in reducing arrests of girls, and do the same for women.”

Victoria Prentis, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System, said: “Our inquiry will investigate how women with complex needs can be diverted to other services, such as women’s centres, which we know are effective, instead of being dragged further into the criminal justice system.”

At the inquiry’s first oral evidence session, MPs and peers heard from Katie Kempen, Chief Executive of the Independent Custody Visiting Association, and Superintendent Stan Gilmour of Thames Valley Police. Submissions of written evidence will be invited in due course.

The new inquiry follows a 10-month probe by the APPG into the sentencing of women, which found that many women were being sent to prison unnecessarily – in spite of overwhelming evidence that prison makes matters worse for them.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women in the Penal System (APPG) was set up in July 2009, with Baroness Corston as Chair and administrative support from the Howard League for Penal Reform. Today, it is co-chaired by Baroness Corston, Kate Green MP and Victoria Prentis MP.

  • Read the APPG report Sentencers and sentenced: exploring knowledge, agency and sentencing women to prison here
  • Howard League for Penal Reform

May 16, 2019

Amber Horrox

Amber Horrox

Amber Horrox from Ambient Beauty is a beautician operating in Gateshead, Newcastle and Tyneside, she’s this weeks wonderful woman and we took a few moments out to quiz her for this weeks article, here’s what…

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May 16, 2019

2 August 2019 23:45 ~ Support for victims of domestic abuse in safe accommodation – Government Consultation closes- England


This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 2 August 2019

Consultation description

This paper seeks views on the government’s proposals for a new approach to support victims of domestic abuse and their children in accommodation-based services in England.

We are consulting on a new delivery model for accommodation-based support. This includes the introduction of a statutory duty on local authorities to provide support that meets the diverse needs of victims of domestic abuse and their children, ensuring they have access to provision that is right for them.

We welcome views on:

  • the definition of accommodation-based services and support
  • leadership and responsibilities
  • local and national accountability
  • guidance

We would like to hear from victims and survivors, service providers, local authorities, police and crime commissioners and other public agencies, as well as other professionals who support victims and their children.


Ways to respond


  • Email to:
  • Write to: Domestic Abuse Team
    Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
    3rd Floor, Fry Building
    2 Marsham Street
    SW1P 4DF

Part of a longer press release at


May 14, 2019

Programme of work needed to tackle sexual harassment in public places

Sexual harassment will be addressed within the cross-Government Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy, says the Government’s Response to the Committee’s report on sexual harassment of women and girls in public places.

Government responds positively to recommendations

Committee Chair Maria Miller said:

“We heard from a large number of women, from the police and other agencies as well as researchers, who told us that sexual harassment in public places pervades the lives of women and girls, whether it is cat-calling in the street, upskirting on public transport, misogynistic abuse online or sexual assault in pubs and clubs or at university.

Yet, it is so everyday and routine that it is often invisible to those who don’t experience it.

I am therefore delighted that the Government has accepted our key recommendation that this should be robustly tackled through its cross-government violence against women and girls strategy.

The Committee made a series of practical recommendations on issues such as data collection, women’s safety on public transport, and media regulation.

We are pleased that the Government has responded positively to many of these.

However, this is just the start of the journey and Government departments, public bodies and local authorities now need to sit down with women’s groups and other experts and develop a comprehensive programme of work to make public places safe for all women and girls

The Committee also welcomes the Government’s recognition of racialised sexual harassment of black and ethnic minority women and girls, and of the ways in which sexual harassment intersects with other inequalities.

However, the Committee is concerned that the Government does not yet have a comprehensive programme of work in place for preventing and addressing the problem; the Committee’s view is that in practice the policy shift has not yet fully translated to the actions needed to tackle this comprehensively.”


The Committee’s key findings are summarised below.

In its response the Government fully accepts recommendations on:

  • data collection
  • schools taking action in advance of statutory guidance coming into force in 2020
  • research on underlying factors contributing to sexual harassment
  • a review of hate crime, online spaces as a site for sexual harassment and the need for a gendered approach to online harm.

The Government accepts in principle or partially accepts the Committee’s recommendations on:

  • the Ending VAWG strategy
  • research on pornography
  • the need for long term evaluated campaigns
  • BBFC guidelines
  • requiring public transport operators to have sexual harassment policies
  • action to prohibit pornography displayed on public transport
  • action to tackle sexual harassment to be embedded in alcohol strategy and the modern
  • crime strategy
  • action by local authorities.

The Government does not accept the Committee’s recommendations for:

  • a law on image based sexual abuse
  • social media to be included in the age verification of pornographic websites provision
  • evaluation of the Purple Flag scheme
  • amendment to the Licensing Act
  • action on sexual entertainment venues
  • requiring universities to take action on student safety.

May 14, 2019

Inquiry Report – APPG Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

As its first inquiry, the APPG has explored survivors’ experience of accessing support services and the criminal justice system.

The findings were gathered in four ways:

  • Survivor evidence session in Parliament
  • Sector professional evidence session in Parliament
  • Online survey of survivors with 365 respondents
  • Written evidence submitted to the APPG

This report will be the first of three to be published through the spring and summer of 2019 that presents the findings from the APPG’s inquiry. Upcoming reports will cover: i) survivors’ experience of police and the Crown Prosecution Service; ii) the court process, after court care and compensation.

Read the report here.

May 14, 2019