SNS News Bulletin February 2021

Domestic Abuse Bill: “Parental Alienation”
The Domestic Abuse Bill (DAB) has been going through the House of Lords and on 25 January there was a long discussion on whether “parental alienation” should be included in the definition of domestic abuse.  About the same number of peers spoke for and against, with a couple undecided, but there was no vote at this stage.  We will let you know when the Bill goes back to the Lords for Report stage when amendments get voted on because this attempt by the misogynist lobby to hijack the Bill must be stopped! Good coverage of the Lords debate in the Independent quoted Anne Neale from Legal Action for Women (which co-ordinates SNS), as well as others opposed to PA.  A recent article from the US has some very useful information about the harm done by PA.

DA Bill: Presumption of contact
On Wednesday 3 Feb we expect the Lords will discuss amendments to the DA Bill to limit the presumption of contact where there has been domestic abuse.  Of course, we support the two amendments which have been put, but we think they need to go further.  Please see our briefing to Lords here.  It would be great if you could write to them with your own experience.  See here for contact details.  If you have been in the family court and have had to fight what the Harm Report calls the “pro contact culture” it will be helpful to tell them – briefly – how this has affected you and your children.  Don’t include the names of your children or any parties in court (except the judge which is public information) as this could breach any court order you are under.

Bill in the US to stop children being taken into “care” because of poverty
US Congresswoman Gwen Moore has put forward an important Bill, the Poverty is Not Child Neglect Act which aims to ban federal funds from being used by the child welfare system to separate children from their mothers.  We issued a press release asking when will the UK do the same? As Nina Lopez & Selma James from the Global Women’s Strike (part of SNS) said in a recent article for the Camden New Journal 

“ . . . Everybody knows that no children would go hungry if mothers had the cash to feed them. . . . Everybody knows that no children would go hungry if mothers had the cash to feed them . . . Child poverty is not an accident, it’s government policy: 86 per cent of austerity cuts targeted women, especially single mothers; 93 per cent of households affected by the benefit cap had children, 72 per cent were single parents; the majority of workers on zero-hours contracts are women, often single mothers. . . . Struggling mothers are blamed not helped.  ” As we always say, take away our poverty, NOT our children.  Our sister groups in the US are working with Congresswoman Moore on this legislation.