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Humanists UK and Faith to Faithless call for broader protection for apostates in Domestic Abuse Bill

Humanists UK and Faith to Faithless have called for better protections for apostates from religiously motivated abuse in response to an inquiry by the Joint Committee on Human Rights into the Government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill 2019, which was published last month.

Humanists UK and Faith to Faithless have called for the definition of perpetrators of abuse to be expanded beyond intimate partners and those in the wider family to others in the community, such as religious leaders who exert significant control and influence, who are often involved in committing honour-based abuse and violence.  The draft Bill already covers, for the first time, wider family members and recognises elder and honour-based violence as domestic abuse. However, Humanists UK and Faith to Faithless have called for the definition to go further.

It also aims to ratify the United Nations Conventions on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women in the UK. Therefore, Humanists UK is calling for the Bill to rectify the UK’s violations of this Convention, most notably to remove restrictions on access to abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and rape or incest.

Faith to Faithless founder Imtiaz Shams commented, ‘The draft Domestic Abuse Bill is intended to be a world-leading piece of legislation on the issue of domestic abuse and violence. However, in its current form there is a gap in the protections that it offers towards apostates and those within closed religious communities who are abused by either religious leaders within their community or collectively by congregational members. Faith to Faithless works closely with apostates who have experienced such abuse and have been emotionally and physically harmed by it and we hope the Government will expand the legislation to recognise the abuse they have suffered.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK press manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078.

Humanists UK and Faith to Faithless’s response to the consultation will be published by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in due course.

Read Humanists UK’s previous news item welcoming the Bill: https://humanism.org.uk/2019/01/22/apostates-who-suffer-domestic-abuse-will-be-better-protected-in-new-legislation/

Read more about Faith to Faithless: https://www.faithtofaithless.com/

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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