Friday, 13 March 2009

CPS to apologise to family of woman murdered by abusive husband

Justice in the eyes of those who were close to Sabina Akhtar will not be fully realised if lessons are not learnt from this tragic case. Those who handled the case at the CPS must be held accountable for failing to protect young women like Sabina. We need to understand why it was concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge her husband who, after release from prison, breached his bail conditions and murdered his wife a few days later. A public inquiry is imperative and the IPCC should not procrastinate in ensuring the family get the answers they deserve. In the meantime, how many times do such cases of violence need to be reported to get a response?

This case shows that, despite repeated attacks from her husband (26 in all), violence against black and minority-ethnic women is not seen as a serious crime requiring a policy of deterrence and, concomitantly, harsh punishment for offenders. Despite the fact that there have been national guidelines introduced by the CPS in preventing violence against women, and also training for those who handle such cases, women are still being failed and the issue of victim credibility questioned. In other cases related to BME women, public confidence and trust in the system will not grow, and lessons not be learnt, unless criminal justice agencies accept culpability when they make mistakes and act to rectify them. This is essential in order to bring real change in the efforts to save the lives of vulnerable women. In the case of Sabina Akhtar, it will come too lateā€¦

Dr Aisha Gill
Chair of NAWP

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Max Mosley and the campaign on privacy laws

Having successfully sued the News of the World over allegations that his use of prostitutes for sado-masochistic sex involved Nazi undertones, Max Mosley, motor sport boss, has begun a campaign to promote further laws on privacy. The BBC quote Max Mosley as saying, "I think most people recognise there are some human activities that people prefer to do in private...With sex, it would in my opinion be very, very rare that the public have any need-to-know basis for their interest whatsoever." That Mosley did engage five prostitutes for sex is undisputed. The issue which Mosley successfully fought on was one of the defamatory nature of being associated with Nazism. Given the strong links between prostitution and trafficking and violence against women, this blog argues that any man who engages prostitutes waives his right of privacy for his sexual activity. It is strongly in the public interest for all who support an end to violence against women to know which men in public life continue to be involved in a trade that exploits women in this way. We are entitled to continue to view Max Mosley as morally reprehensible in this regard.

Abuse survivor