Domestic Abuse Victims

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6 July 2015.

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Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Labour, Neath 2:30, 6 July 2015

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on the potential effect on victims of domestic abuse of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998.

Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Labour, Torfaen

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on the potential effect on victims of domestic abuse of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The new British Bill of Rights will continue to protect fundamental human rights, including those for victims of domestic abuse. The Government are committed to strengthening victims’ rights further with a new victims law, which will enshrine key rights for all victims.

Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Labour, Neath

The Ministers knows that the UN rapporteur, Rashida Manjoo, is worried about violence against women in the UK and the impact of the Government’s austerity programme on relevant services. She has appealed for safeguards and guarantees that local authorities will continue to operate within the human rights framework in compliance the UK’s international obligations. Does the Minister agree that repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 would further undermine efforts to tackle violence against women and girls in the UK?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I am tempted to give the very short answer of no, I do not agree. Human rights did not come into existence in 1998 with the Human Rights Act. The Government are absolutely committed to maintaining Britain’s high standards of human rights, which we have had for at least 800 years.

Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Labour, Torfaen

Prior to the Human Rights Act 1998 and its incorporation of the European convention on human rights into UK law, victims would have had to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to enforce their rights. What the incorporation of the convention into domestic law did was to allow them to enforce their rights here in the UK. Will the Minister acknowledge the benefits, to victims, of the Human Rights Act 1998?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I suspect victims would like to be able to go to the Supreme Court here in Britain to have their rights upheld. That is what the Government are looking at.