Vera visits Newcastle's Angelou Centre

Everyone I have spoken to, locally, about violence against women admires the Angelou Centre, which is just moving to bigger premises in Newcastle’s West End.

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Everywoman Safe Everywhere: Labour’s Commission into Women’s Safety - Interim report

Everywoman Safe Everywhere, Labour’s Commission on Women’s Safety is a consultation established in November 2011 in response to concerns that, not only were government policies disproportionately impacting upon women economically, but may be risking their safety too. Yvette Cooper asked Vera Baird, former Solicitor General with a strong record working to reduce violence against women, to chair this new Women’s Safety Commission assisted by Kate Green and Stella Creasy.

In the last three months the Commission has held 14 evidence gathering sessions in different towns and cities; has engaged with more than 100 organisations and experts, and received upwards

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Checking the blind spot - Examining violence against women

This piece appeared in Next Left on Friday, 10th February 2012:

This is a guest post by Vera Baird. Vera is a member of the Fabian Society Executive Committee and Chair of the new Labour Commission on Women’s Safety, commissioned by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

Yvette Cooper described this Government, whose first budget took 70% of its cuts from women and 30% from men, as having “a blind spot” about women. She seems to be right when one considers, not only economics, but also plans such as the deletion of

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The Infidelity defence to murder

Read Vera’s article intended for the Guardian ‘Comment is Free’ section. (they published an early draft instead of the final version that appears here):

Parliament made clear three years ago that sexual infidelity should not be allowed as a defence for murder, whatever the circumstances. A partner’s affair could no longer be treated by Courts as a defensible reason to lose self control and kill.

However, giving judgment, in three domestic murder appeals last week, Lord Chief Justice

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Women turned away from refuge shelters told to sleep in Occupy camps

The Labour Commission on Women’s Safety began gathering evidence just before Christmas. My colleagues, MPs Kate Green, Stella Creasy and I, met in London with twelve leading national women’s organisations to scope out what our inquiry needs to cover.

The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, has asked us to produce a provisional report by International Women’s Day in March about whether, and if so how, coalition decisions, policies and legislation are impacting on women’s safety.

Read the rest of Vera’s piece in Left Foot Forward.

The Labour Women's Safety Commission

Making women safe is something on which the Labour Government spent time and resources. Now, the well-known concern that the Coalition Government is hurting women disproportionately in the purse compared to the impact on the male wallet, has turned a more worrying corner. Because the cuts in public spending, legal aid, local government and the police – to mention just a few – appear not to be being assessed for their cumulative impact on women’s personal safety.

Street lights being turned off and poorer public transport make women anxious, whilst police cuts could lead to fewer specialist officers to

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Justice for Jane Clough

Vera is pleased to have written a new clause into the Legal Aid Bill for the ‘Justice for Jane Clough’ Campaign and got the Shadow Justice Minister to propose it in the House of Commons. “The Government has accepted it in principle but it must go into this Bill and not be delayed because it will save lives”


Here is Julie Bindel’s excellent piece from the Guardian and Vera’s piece on the Justice for

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Annual Lecture to Northern Ireland Medico-Legal Society

Belfast March 18th 2011 Intriguing Title expressed with the Artful Aid of Apt Alliteration At the risk of sounding vulgar I think we have one P too many in there. Think we can put together Perpetrators and Prisoners — though I cant manage a word that does that. And let’s start there because there are far too many of the latter – women in prison. I know you have some specific and very contemporary issues in Northern Ireland. Start In Uk between 1995 and 2005 the proportion of women being sentenced to


Breaking Up Breaking Through

Breaking Up: Breaking Through Commonwealth Women in Science and the Professions Panel Contribution by Vera Baird QC, former Solicitor General of England and Wales and Co-Director of Astraea:Gender Justice (Research and Training) In the UK, Women are making inroads at lower levels in justice agencies but the higher positions remain male dominated. These echelons are where the rules of the game – the norms are set which deal with women as victims or as defendants. Here is a checklist of 3 reasons why Justice needs more women. • Women make up half the population and as such should be

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Salford Case

Vera’s briefing on the controversial bail case of Police vs Hookway Salford case of Hookway and Police (Detention and Bail) Bill 2011 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 1.What happened in Hookway case? He was arrested on suspicion of murder and detained from 12 40pm on 7th November 2010. (Note detention after arrest is in S37. If there is evidence sufficient to charge that he must be charged but; S37(2) PACE If the custody officer determines that he does not have such evidence before him the person arrested shall be released either on bail or without bail unless the

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