What must we change?
In 2018, Natalie Connolly's partner received a 3 year 8 month sentence after claiming that she had consented to the acts the caused her terrible injury, and prosecutors did not pursue a murder charge against him. Natalie is not alone - there are 58 UK women killed by men who claim the women consented to the violence that killed them, and many more injured. Despite case law in England and Wales supposedly being clear, in 45% of cases, these defences work: they result in the killing being prosecuted with a lesser charge, or not treated as a crime at all. And there has been a tenfold increase in "consent" defences to violent injury and killing in the last ten years. The law should be clear, but to claim consensual activity "gone wrong” gives a good chance of a lesser charge, lighter sentence, or a death not being investigated as a crime at all.
what can we do?
Two UK MPs, Harriet Harman, and Mark Garnier, the MP for Natalie Connolly and her family, propose to amend the Domestic Abuse bill which will apply in England and Wales, to end once and for all the use of these defences. You can hear more from them here. BUT WE MUST ACT TO MAKE THIS CHANGE.
Write to your MP now to ask them to back the proposed amendments:
1. Find your MP’s contact details here.
2. Write to them. You can use some of our draft text below.
I am a constituent and my postcode is [POSTCODE]
I’m asking you to support Harriet Harman MP and Mark Garnier MP in helping to end the use of "consent" claims to the violent injury or killing of women. They have laid clauses to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill applying in England and Wales. These will clarify existing case law into statute, and ask that the Director of Public Prosecutions reviews cases where a lesser charge is proposed. The clauses are at: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0422/amend/domestic_rm_pbc_1007.1-3.html