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My Lords, I have no wish to detain the House unnecessarily, as we have already discussed this, but it is worth emphasising the importance of the European protection order that grants victims of violence protection against the perpetrator across the EU. Because we are leaving, this will no longer be available to UK citizens. The ability to share data on perpetrators, as well as a whole host of other measures aimed at tackling human trafficking and FGM, enforcing child maintenance orders and preventing the sexual exploitation of children is also at risk. It is disappointing, therefore, that violence against women and girls has not appeared in any of the Government’s Brexit-related policy papers.
It is in all our interests to ensure that the tremendous work and collaboration that we have enjoyed until now with our EU partners should not be lost. Vulnerable women and children must never be used as a bargaining chip in anyone’s negotiation— and of course, funding this work is hugely important. We stand to lose really important funding streams such as the Daphne fund, the rights, equality and citizenship fund and the European Social Fund, which supports a wide range of research and other services dedicated to tackling violence against women and girls in the UK.
We are not asking the Government to commit to anything specifically, just to report on how they intend to replace the lost EU funding that supports tackling the fight against violence against women and girls. Nobody wants to see the most vulnerable, most persecuted members of our society lose out as a result of our leaving the European Union. I look forward to hearing what words of comfort the Minister can supply to assure the House that under no circumstances will the Government allow that to happen.