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Southwest of England Launch Event - Bristol

  • University of the West of England, Coldharbour Ln, Frenchay, Bristol, BS16 1QY (map)

You are invited to the third of a series events to be held around England and Wales, aimed at bringing together survivors, activists, women’s sector groups, academics and others concerned with violence against women and girls to explore with lawyers how to hold the state to account and challenge discrimination within the criminal justice system. The seminar will consist of a series of presentations from lawyers and litigants who have brought legal challenges and from those on the frontline to describe some of the key challenges they face with the aim of getting everyone thinking more about working collaboratively and about ways to use the law to challenge state failures around violence against women.

Time: 9.45-5.30

Cost: £20 waged, £5 unwaged



A series of panel discussions with opportunities to network and explore ideas for collaborative working:

9.45 – 10.15 Registration and coffee

10.15 Introduction from Harriet Wistrich, founding director of Centre for Women’s Justice and Professor Phil Rumney of UWE Law school

10.30– 11.30 – The lawyers -  how we can use the law to hold the state to account

Karon Monaghan QC,leading lawyer in public law, discrimination and human rights, has acted for many women’s groups and individuals challenging discrimination and violence against women:  Using human rights and equality law to challenge the state regulation of sexual exploitation and prostitution. This will include looking at the licensing regime for ‘sex establishments’ and the criminalising of women engaged in prostitution

Ugo Hayter,solicitor at Deighton Pierce Glynn specialising in challenges against public authorities in relation to detention, discrimination, destitution, international law and corporate accountability:  Acting on behalf offemale trafficking victims; bringing claims against their traffickers and challenging the police' and Home Office failures to adequately investigate and prosecute traffickers

Fiona McGhie,solicitor at Bristol branch of Irwin Mitchel specialising in actions against the police and public law challenges:  Challenging local authorities and safeguarding children from abuse


11.45– 13.00 - Up against it:  Survivors and activists and their legal cases – chair Harriet Wistrich

‘Lisa’– one of eight women who were deceived by undercover police officers in intimate relationships:  her story and the story of how a collective of eight women worked with their legal team to battle against police obstruction tactics achieve a historic victory and public apology from the Metropolitan police

Anira Khokhar– Bristol based woman who waived her anonymity to expose her ex- husband, a prominent member of the Pakistani community about failures by police and cps to hold him to account in relation her allegations of sexual violence:   Honour and its affects on women from South Asian communities; challenging gender bias and cultural relativism in the criminaljustice system and the community and the struggle to “change my life from nothing to something”.

‘Emily’– survivor of serious domestic violence from her police officer husband, whose colleagues in Devon and Cornwall constabulary covered up for him: her story, her struggle for justice and her plans to connect with others and make changes

Stacey Hyde– Stacey who was born and grew up in Wells, Somerset, was convicted of the murder of a violent man who attacked her, when aged 17. She spent five years in prison for killing a violent before a successful appeal of her murder conviction and subsequent acquittal at retrial.  Her story, her battle for justice with the support of campaign group Justice for Women,


2.00 – 3.15 – Academic understanding and perceptions from the media – chair Dr Finn Mackay

Professor Jackie Jones– professor of feminist legal studies, UWE, specialising in women’s rights, international human rights, human trafficking and violence against women:  Using and developing international legal instruments to challenge violence against women – an exploration of CEDAW, the Istanbul Convention and create a UN treaty tacking violence against women

Sarah Ditum, local freelance journalist writing for New Statesman and Guardian;  On how the media shapes perceptions of sexual violence and the role of the state

Geetanjali Gangoliof Bristol University Gender and Violence research group:  Will discuss research on honour based violence and policing

Jacci ParryBBC documentary film maker on: Responsible broadcasting of legal cases around violence against women and girls

3.15 – 4.30 From the frontline: identifying the challenges women face – chair Dr Finn MacKay

Nimco Ali– co-founder of Daughters of Eve , a survivor led organisation which has helped transform the approach to ending female genital mutilation– campaigner and activist : on challenging FGM, cultural relativism and what we do about the lack of legal action to challenge this practice.

Yasmin Rehman, a human rights activist and researcher, coordinator at Women’s Resource Centre and trustee of Centre for Women’s Justice:  On challenging parallel legal systems which facilitate polygamy and temporary marriage or “religiously justified sexual exploitation” and their links with to honour based violence and forced marriage. 

Tracey Earnshaw, an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate working in Domestic Abuse Specialist Courts across Cornwall:  On the pros and cons of Domestic Abuse Specialist Courts and how to ensure victims of DV get help and justice through the criminal justice system

Dr Hannana Siddiqui - Award winning freelance policy & research consultant with 30 years of experience on violence against black & minority women & girls, including at Southall Black Sisters Using strategic litigation and how important it is for the BME women's sector


5.00 Plenary – how we collaborate to bring strategic litigation challenges and hold the state to account

with some additional short contributions from Folami Prehaye, founder of VOIC - Victims of Internet Crime speak out, Clarissa O’Callaghan, consultant with Women’s Aid on Femicide and Integrate Bristol