Much is continuing to happen at MSH not least work on Domestic Abuse and preparations for the 16 Days of Activism later this year. Isabelle Pottinger, one of our Trustees who looks after Social Policy for our diocese is now part of the Community of Interest looking at Domestic Abuse and has recently been part of a Webinar and has sent the following information to me to pass on to you all.
The lockdown has highlighted Domestic Abuse even more with the increase in cases and there is a Bill going through the UK parliament at present.
MU made a formal submission to the House of Commons Scrutiny Committee of the Domestic Abuse Bill in July, and this Bill will be progressing to the House of Lords towards the end of September. There are opportunities to influence debate within the House of Lords, and also the associated Guidance through the Home Office.
The webinar group agreed overwhelmingly to support a letter-writing campaign where MU members were requested to write to their MP. In addition, the DP was requested to write to their Bishop. The purpose of this letter-writing campaign was to “highlight the progress of the DA bill and call for support for change in 2 key areas:
The 2 key “asks” which MU is making is to remove the “no recourse to public funding” restriction for victims where their immigration status is unclear, which means that they are faced with the choice of returning to the perpetrator or becoming destitute; and to include faith as an important element, both in understanding causes of Domestic Abuse and the value of faith-based organisations in signposting survivors to appropriate support.
MSH have been working with Bishop Rachel Treweek and her team, to see how we can work most effectively together. Bishop Rachel is leading the Church influencing through the Lords Spiritual, working together with the other Female Lords Spiritual, and they are going to be encouraging Diocesan Bishops to become active, not only in influencing the Bill, but also in addressing the challenge of Domestic Abuse on an ongoing basis, both within and outside the Church family.
She is keen to encourage the Dioceses to participate with MU in the 16 Days of Activism this year, and is keen for MU to make Diocesan teams aware of what is being planned, as well as looking at ongoing options for collaboration, and highlighting the areas of the Domestic Abuse bill which we seek to influence.
There is an additional opportunity for members or branches to write to their MPs to ask for specific issues to be addressed in the Home Office Guidance. Template letters are provided in the attachments above.
The Trustees are meeting soon to discuss what we in this diocese can do to mark the 16 days of activism so more information will be sent out in due course to let you know what is being planned and how you can take part.
In the meantime if you or anyone else you know would like to write to your MP (London not Scottish) using the Domestic Abuse letter above as a template for you to personalise then at lest we are trying to make a difference in this important matter.
With my prayers and best wishes