Our legal work together with Rape Crisis nationally and other front line organisations has led to serious concerns about excessive disclosure requests being made of women reporting rape and sexual assault.Read More
Today the Supreme Court allowed the appeal of Nicola Stocker and held that her postings on Facebook about her former husband Ronald Stocker's domestic violence was not defamatoryRead More
On 24th January at the Supreme Court, Nicola Stocker will appeal a Court of Appeal judgment upholding the decision of Mr Justice Mitting’s which ruled in favour of her ex-husband, Ronald Stocker’s defamation claim against her.Read More
“Whilst we are relieved that Tarin has pleaded guilty, this is only the first step in the family’s struggle for justice and accountability.” - Nour Norris, sister of Khoala and aunt of RaneemRead More
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for NBV and DSD gives comment on the decision to not release serial rapist John WorboysRead More
On 13 November 2018, the Supreme Court will preside over a significant test case on libel law with far reaching implications for women’s rights.Read More
On 30th October the family of Jourdain John-Baptiste will have their last chance to persuade a court to reverse the CPS decision not to charge the prime suspectRead More
In an open letter made public today, Centre for Women’s Justice and its clients have called on the administration of the House of Commons to implement Dame Laura Cox’s proposed reforms in full and make Westminster a safe place of work for women.Read More
We and our clients welcome the damning report of Dame Laura Cox, published today.Read More
Family of Lisa Skidmore welcome the damning report from HMI Probation on how system failures contributed to her death.Read More
Responding to the news that serial rapist Stephen Mitchell was released in September 2017 from prison by the Parole Board after serving just 7.5 years of a double life sentence, Centre for Women’s Justice expressed grave concern regarding the Parole Board decision and echo Yvette Cooper’s call for an urgent review.
Legal action issued against Crown Prosecution Service by family of 22-year-old Jourdain John-Baptiste in relation to 2015 balcony deathRead More
The Ministry of Justice has today published is long awaited Female Offender Strategy. Here is our statement on the strategy.Read More
The Divisional Court today handed down judgment following a judicial review challenge brought by two of John Worboys’ victims known as DSD and NBV.Read More
The High Court today handed down judgment in a ground breaking judicial review brought by three women formerly involved in prostitution, challenging the Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Regulations.Read More
The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in a landmark case against the Metropolitan Police Service, brought by two women who were victims of John Worboys, “Black cab rapist”.Read More
On 25 January solicitors on behalf of two women who were raped and sexually assaulted by John Worboys issued a claim for judicial review against the Parole Board and the Secretary of State for Justice (SSJ) challenging the decision to release John Worboys (now known as John Radford) from prison.Read More
We can confirm that in the absence of any unexpected and compelling response from the Parole Board to our pre action correspondence, we intend to launch judicial review proceedings against the Parole Board next week.Read More
TODAY, two victims of the ‘Black Cab rapist’, John Worboys, launched a legal challenge to find out the reasons Worboys was granted parole and to challenge the decision itself. A crowdfund has been launched to support the victim’s legal efforts to overturn the decision to release.Read More
Judicial review hearing 17 and 18 January
The women bringing the case (claimants), lawyer and campaigners are available for comment. Demonstration of support outside court from 9.30 on 17 January.
Royal Courts of Justice, Court 3, Strand, London WC2A 2LL - hearing starting at 10.30
On 17 and 18 January the Divisional Court will hear an application for judicial review of the Government’s policyin relation to the retention, recording and disclosure of criminal convictions arising from soliciting offences.
The claim, brought by a group of women, formerly involved in prostitution, will argue for the first time that the Government legislative scheme discriminates against women and is contrary to the UK’s legal obligations in respect of the trafficking of women. They will also rely on previous findings that the scheme is a disproportionate interference of their private life.
“I met a pimp aged 15 and two weeks later I was thrown into the violent and abusive world of prostitution. Rape became an occupational hazard but I was arrested, charged and criminalised for loitering for the purposes of being a common prostitute. After more than twenty years out of prostitution, I am still having to explain my criminal record to any prospective employer. It feels like explaining my history of abuse” Fiona Broadfoot, Claimant.
The women bringing the claim were exploited and trafficked as teenagers and forced to survive through prostitution for a number of years before getting out. Most of those who have been in street prostitution have multiple convictions under s1 Street Offences Act 1959 which means that when applying for a range of jobs or volunteering activity, DBS checks will result in their histories of prostitution being made known many years after they have left that life behind.
“It doesn’t matter what it is – trying to help out at my kids’ school or the local brownies’ coffee morning, trying to be a governor or a councillor, applying to education or training or employment – even volunteering in so many fields – with children, with the elderly, in care, with vulnerable people, with youth work, with social work – all need a DBS and then you get treated like some sort of pariah or sex offender! But it’s not fair – I never chose that life and I fought hard to get out of it but I’m always being pulled back to it as though that’s who I am but it’s not who I am.” Prostitution survivor.
The women describe their criminal records as a “catalogue of their abuse”, but as victims of rape and sexual abuse they appear to have no entitlement to anonymity in the disclosure process.
“As the judge recognised in an earlier hearing in this case, attitudes to women who have been groomed into prostitution have changed. Most are controlled and coerced and therefore meet the wider definition of trafficking. As such this policy is inconsistent with the Modern Slavery Act as it continues to punish victims” said Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the women.
“We wish to see women’s existing records expunged, immediate amendments to existing legislation and guidance around recording, retention and disclosure and, in future, women should not be criminalised for their involvement in prostitution but offered help and support to access a full range of viable opportunities and choices besides prostitution,” Said spokesperson for nia, (charity supporting the women).
For more information about the case:http://centreforwomensjustice.org.uk/2017/12/18/prostitution-convictions-january/#more-1977
Harriet Wistrich (Lawyer from Birnberg Peirce acting for the women and Director of Centre for Women’s Justice, supporting the women) 020 7911 0166 or 07903 912 641
Heather Harvey (Research and development manager at nia– a charity working on all forms of violence against women and girls and supporting the women) 0207 683 1270 or 07472 145141.
The Disclosure and Barring Regulations