LAW CHANGE TO END ROUGH SEX DEFENCE

HARRIET HARMAN AND MARK GARNIER HAIL GOVERNMENT LAW CHANGE TO END ROUGH SEX DEFENCE AS MILESTONE MOMENT IN THE FIGHT TO CHALLENGE MALE SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Today in response to the Government publishing its own New Clause for Report Stage of the Domestic Abuse Bill to end the rough sex defence, Harriet Harman MP said:

“This is a highly significant step forward in protecting women from male violence. Now men will no longer be able to say “it was her fault I killed her, because I was only doing what she wanted. It was rough sex gone wrong”. The law will now be there unequivocally to protect women from this male sexual violence. This will send a strong message to men that they cannot beat women and get away with it. They cannot drag their victim's name through the mud in court. And it will strengthen women by telling them that the law will protect them. It will tell the police, prosecutors and courts that the “50 shades of grey defence” has ended - and it must be rigorously enforced.

“Huge credit for ending this macabre loophole in the law must go to the Government who acted quickly and used the opportunity of their Domestic Abuse Bill to tackle this. Particular recognition must go to ministers Victoria Atkins who privately visited (with Mark Garnier MP) the family of Natalie Connolly and to Alex Chalk.

“This would not have been possible without Mark Garnier MP who worked with me to see this through to a successful conclusion. Not every Tory man is prepared to work with a Labour feminist!”

Mark Garnier, local MP for Natalie Connolly and her family said:

“Natalie's death was one that is the stuff of nightmares. What we hope to achieve from it is a way to make sure that people take more responsibility for their actions, and that killers get the right sentences, whilst victims get justice.

"The case of my constituent Natalie Connolly, and the woeful underperformance of the system with regards her killer John Broadhurst, highlighted a rising menace of justice game-playing by killers and abusers. This response by the Government is a breakthrough in how we tackle the rough sex defence. But it is also a textbook example of Parliament at its best, with a genuine cross-party approach and a willing government, all seeking the same outcome."

 "I am incredibly grateful to Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins, who took the trouble to come to Kidderminster, to quietly see for herself the effects Natalie's killing had on her family. Her private visit demonstrated an unusual degree of compassion, meeting with the close relatives of Natalie. Both Victoria and Justice Minister Alex Chalk have worked tirelessly to protect women.”