Women’s Aid: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives



We are calling on the Government and family courts to ensure there are no further avoidable child deaths as a result of unsafe child contact with a perpetrator of domestic abuse. In order for this to happen the family courts must be a safe place for all the children and survivors of domestic abuse that are relying on them to protect them from further harm.

Two ways they can do this are by:
1. Ensuring that domestic abuse is identified and its impact fully considered by the family court judiciary and that child arrangements orders put the best interests of the child(ren) first and protect the well-being of the parent the child(ren) is living with, in accordance with Practice Direction 12 J Child Arrangements & Contact Order: Domestic Violence and Harm.

2. Ensuring survivors of domestic abuse attending the family court have access to protection measures, similar to those available in criminal courts. Survivors of domestic abuse should always have access to a separate waiting room or area and judges must ensure there are separate exit times from court to allow the survivor to leave safely.

Why is this important?

“No parent should have to hold their children and comfort them as they die, or be told that their child has been harmed in an act of revenge or rage. There are often many facets to one family’s breakdown, and all too often children’s voices are not heard or acted upon” (Claire Throssell, mother of Jack and Paul who were killed in October 2014 by their father after he was granted unsupervised contact with them by the family court).

Over 10 years, 19 children and 2 women have died as a result of unsafe child contact, formal or informal, with a parent who is also a perpetrator of domestic abuse. These deaths were avoidable. To protect children, the family courts must put children’s safety at the heart of any decisions they make about contact with a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.

Women’s Aid’s Child First: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives campaign is calling on the Government and the family courts to protect the children that it has been set up to keep safe. Whilst only a minority of child contact cases, after the parents have separated, are taken to the family courts many of these cases involving domestic abuse result in contact decisions which do not put the children’s safety and best interests first. This can leave them, and their non-abusive, parent in considerable danger.

We need your help so please sign and share this petition widely to ensure that all child contact is safe and there are no further avoidable child deaths.

Visit the Women’s Aid website to find out more about this campaign.


Please create a legal exclusionary zone outside of abortion clinics


Just to explain my latest petition by Extreme Crochet….

After seeing the Youtube video of a pregnant woman confronting protestors outside an abortion clinic (for want of a better term)….. I was amazed to learn that people can protest, film and harass women as they attend their appointments. Apparently, protesting directly outside a clinic is illegal in France, Canada and the US. Why not here?

I realise that we are talking about talking away someone’s right to protest but what of the rights of these women to be left in peace? I’m not saying ban all anti abortion protests as I am a firm believer in freedom of speech – even if I totally disagree with them. What I’m saying is, let’s have an exclusion zone set up so no protesting can take place directly outside a clinic.

This is a highly emotional time for a woman. Some may be in incredible distress but know that abortion is the right choice for them. You may think what they are doing is wrong although, do you not also value these women’s rights to be free from being videoed?

In my eyes it’s a subtle form of violence against women and trying to take control over their bodies, their choices.

This isn’t about making all protests about abortion illegal, this is about protecting women from being harassed outside of clinics (and whilst they are walking up to the entrance). No ones freedom of speech is being impared!
Exclusion zones are already set up outside the Houses of Parliment. A legal buffer zone to give women privacy is not much of an ask really.

So please consider signing this petition to make protesting outside clinics illegal.



Counting Dead Women

Demanding the government create a fit-for-purpose record of fatal male violence against women



Theresa May, Home Secretary

In the first three days of January 2012, seven women in the UK were murdered by men, three were shot, one was strangled, one was stabbed, one was beaten then smothered and one was killed through fifteen blunt force trauma injuries. Karen Ingala Smith started counting and commemorating women killed though male violence, by the end of August 2013, she had counted 197 dead women.

The Home Office currently records and published data on homicide victims and the relationship of the victim to the principal suspect and sex of the victim. This does not do enough to tell us about fatal male violence against women:

  1. It doesn’t tell us about the sex of the perpetrator
  1. It doesn’t connect the different forms of male violence against women

The government has made it mandatory for a ‘domestic violence homicide review’ to be held every time a someone is killed through domestic violence. That’s good but it isn’t wide enough. The government doesn’t have a Domestic Violence Strategy, it’s done better than that, it has a Strategy to End Violence Against Women and Girls. Your policies should reflect this.

I don’t think the murders of Kimberley Frank and Samantha Sykes by Ahmad Otak were any less about male violence against women that they would have been if he had been the boyfriend of one of them.

I don’t think the murders of Margaret Biddolph, 78 and Annie Leyland,88 by Andrew Flood, 43; or Irene Lawless, 68 who was raped, beaten and strangled by 26 year-old Darren Martin, after he had been looking at pornography involving rape and older women, were any less about misogyny.

Femicide isn’t just about women killed though domestic violence.

  1. It dehumanises women.

The statistic ‘on average two women a week a killed through domestic violence in England and Wales’ is well known. People seem to be able to repeat this without getting outraged or upset, through connecting and naming the women killed, I would like the horror and unacceptability of what is happening to be made to feel more real.

The murders of some women barely cause a ripple, some don’t make it into the national media. If the press take this seriously, there’s more chance of people seeing what is going on, of understanding the implications of male violence and to say ‘no more’. Ultimately, I want to see men stop killing women.

I would like to see a fit-for-purpose record of fatal male violence against women. I would like to see analysis of the connections between the different forms of fatal male violence against women. I would like to see a homicide review for every sexist murder. I would like the government to fund a Femicide Observatory , where relationships between victim and perpetrator and social, cultural and psychological issues are analysed. I want to believe that the government is doing everything it can to end male violence against women and girls. I think the government should ensure that we record and commemorate women killed through male violence – not Karen Ingala Smith, a random woman trying to do this from a bedroom in east London.

That is why I am supporting Karen’s campaign ‘Counting Dead Women’. Please stop ignoring dead women and ensure that all fatal male violence against women is properly understood and that women killed are identified and commemorated.


Mother’s Names Should be on Marriage Certificates

In England & Wales mothers’ names are not on marriage certificates.

This is not fair.

This is 2014.

Marriage should not be seen as a business transaction between the father of the bride and the father of the groom.

This seemingly small inequality is part of a much wider pattern of inequality.

Women are routinely silenced and written out of history.

There is space for the name of the Father of the Bride and the Father of the Groom and their occupations. On civil partnership certificates there is space for mothers, and on Scottish and Northern Irish marriage certificates.

Act now – sign the petition – share it with friends. Get this anachronism changed.