Evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on violence against women

End Violence Against Women

On 24 January 2012, End Violence Against Women, Object, Equality Now and Eaves gave oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about the media’s biased and prejudicial treatment of women.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) made a submission to the Leveson Inquiry in December 2011, arguing that if the Inquiry ‘does not address culture, practice, ethics, standards and the public interest with regards to the reporting of violence against women, it will be incomplete’.

The Prime Minister announced the Leveson Inquiry, investigating the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal, on 13 July 2011.

The Inquiry will make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards.

Click here for link to EVAW submission

Click here for Guardian article on 25 January 2012

Click here for Leveson Inquiry website and click here to see videos of the Inquiry’s public hearings

Employment law reform: consultation response and Employment Tribunal review


On 23 November, the Government published its response to the consultation on ‘Resolving workplace disputes’. The Equality and Diversity Forum responded to the consultation in April 2011.

The Government’s response to the consultation confirms the proposals it intends to take forward, such as extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal, and announces the intention to go further by undertaking a Fundamental Review of the current Rules of Procedure for Employment Tribunal.

The consultation was launched by the Department for Business, Skills & Innovation (BIS) and the Ministry of Justice’s Tribunals Service on 27 January and closed on 20 April 2011. It was launched alongside an Employer’s Charter that ‘aims to dispel many of the myths about what an employer can and can’t do in managing their staff reasonably, fairly and lawfully, providing clarity for employers on what steps they can take when handling workplace issues with staff. It covers a wide range of employment law scenarios’.

The consultation asked for views on measures to:

  • achieve more early resolution of workplace disputes so that parties can resolve their own problems, in a way that is fair and equitable for both sides, without having to go to an employment tribunal;
  • ensure that, where parties do need to come to an employment tribunal, the process is as swift, user-friendly and effective as possible; and
  • help businesses and social enterprises feel more confident about hiring people.

Click here for speech by Business Secretary Vince Cable, given on 23 November 2011, outlining legislative changes to the employment law framework

Click here for Equality and Diversity Forum and other response to the consultation

Click here for piece by Sarah Veale, Head of the Equality and Employment Rights Department at the TUC arguing that ‘Employment Rights are not bad for business’

Civil partnerships (religious premises): consultation, responses and ministerial statement

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

On 2 November 2011, the Government published its response to the consultation on ‘Civil Partnerships on religious premises’.

A written ministerial statement by Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone was laid in the House of Commons on 2 November 2011. It says the Government is committed to removing the legal barrier to civil partnerships being registered on the religious premises of those faith groups who choose to allow this to happen. This will be done by implementing section 202 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Government Equalities Office consultation on ‘Civil partnerships on religious premises’ ran from 31 March 2011-23 June 2011.

Click here for Government response to consultation

Click here for ministerial statement

Click here for Equality and Human Rights Commission response to the consultation (June 2011)

Government response to ‘Strengthening Women’s Voices in Government’ consultation

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

Between March and June 2011, the Government held a consultation seeking views on how it engages with and listens to women. Ministers and officials discussed and listened to the views of women directly through 19 events held across the UK.

On 4 November 2011, the Government published ‘Strengthening women’s voices in Government. A response to the public consultation’.

The top priorities women identified were:

  • Issues relating to the workplace and women’s experience of work including promotion,better work life balance, childcare and setting up a business;
  • Tackling violence against women and girls;
  • A strong appetite for greater equality for women;
  • Access to leadership positions, both in politics and business;
  • More engagement with women, including with senior women in business/women entrepreneurs.

Click here for details

Government Employment Law Review consultation and TUC response


on 3 October 2011, the Government published ‘Flexible, Effective, Fair: Promoting economic growth through a strong and efficient labour market – A consultation’.

The paper was published at the launch of the Red Tape Challenge spotlight on employment related regulations. It sets out the principles that are guiding the Government’s approach to the labour market framework and a number of thematic questions.

The paper also sets out what the Government is already doing in the on-going Employment Law Review to improve the labour market framework – and areas where it believes there is more to be done.

In October 2011, the TUC published a response to the Government’s Red Tape Challenge paper on employment related regulations, ‘Flexible, Effective, Fair: Promoting economic growth through a strong and efficient labour market – A consultation’.

In its response, the TUC says that it ‘does not recognise the claims made by some elements of the business community (which appear to be endorsed by the government) about the “burden” of existing labour market regulations. The fundamental question to ask is why regulation was necessary. If that need still exists, so does the need for protection’.

Click here for publication (pdf)

Click here for details of the Red Tape Challenge

Click here for TUC response

EHRC legal intervention on religious discrimination cases

The EHRC logo.

On 27 September 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced that it had submitted its intervention to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on four cases relating to alleged religious discrimination in the workplace.

The Commission’s submission has been informed by a public consultation in which it asked for views on its proposed submission on the human rights elements of the four cases claiming religious discrimination, and separately, whether the concept of reasonable accommodation has any useful practical application in cases concerning the manifestation of religion or belief. The consultation closed on 5 September.

Click here for further details including link to consultation response summary and to submission to ECtHR

EDF and other responses to consultation on family migration

The EDF logo.

In October 2011, the Equality and Diversity Forum responded to the UK Border Agency consultation on family migration.

The consultation was launched in July and closed on 6 October 2011.

Click here for EDF response (Word doc)

Click here for details of consultation

Click here for accompanying Home Office research paper ‘Family migration: evidence and analysis’

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford provided information to help people respond to the consultation.

Click here for link to Migration Observatory information on family migration

Click here for link to Migration Observatory information on settlement

Click here for Migrants’ Rights Network response to the consultation

Click here for Rights of Women’s (template) response to the consultation

Consultation response: Women’s Rights, Gender Equality and National Human Rights Institutions

The EHRC logo.

In September 2011, the Equality and Human Rights Commission responded to the OSCE/ODIHR survey on ‘Women’s Rights, Gender Equality and National Human Rights Institutions’.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) is undertaking research on the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in protecting and promoting women’s rights and gender equality.

It is understood that the resulting information will be reviewed and integrated into a Handbook on NHRIs’ Role in Protecting and Promoting Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in the OSCE Region, drawing on good practices and practical examples from across the OSCE participating States surveyed. The Handbook will be finalised in the course of 2012.

The Commission has responded to the survey to help inform the development of the Handbook, as part of its activity to promote human rights by cooperating with other NHRIs and sharing information and ideas.