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HOPE: Harmful Traditional Practices

Date:
Thursday 08 October 2020
Time:
6.00pm - 7.00pm
Venue:
Online via Zoom

This is the first of three public lectures in the HOPE series about harmful traditional practices.

HOPE – HARMFUL PRACTICES END – is a new initiative by Dr Judith Bourne and Neelam Sarkaria for the Centre for Law and Culture at St. Mary’s University. HOPE focuses on harmful traditional practices, something that blights many lives.

‘Harmful traditional practices’ is an umbrella term that includes harm against both men and women. This harm may have existed in communities for generations and are regarded by some as part of accepted traditional practice, for example: forced (or early) marriage, so-called ‘honour’- based violence and female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM). Of course, not all traditional practices are harmful, but there are many that result in longstanding damage; the UK government’s has recognised this and its definition of domestic abuse now extends to include such offences.

HOPE is aimed at university students in England and Wales but is open to all. It aims to educate university students and staff that these practices are unacceptable and wrong. All people in England and Wales have protected human rights that should protect against harmful traditional practices. HOPE aims to educate undergraduate students as to their rights, and also the protection available to them. We will also increase the understanding of educational staff to recognise the signs and symptoms of such offending. Victims/Survivors are not alone – but they need clear access to their rights and to what they should both legally and morally expect from the Law, Police and State.

Initially HOPE has four purposes:

  1. To provide education for university students via a public lecture series arranged by Neelam Sarkaria, setting out the law, context and help available to those exposed to any harmful traditional practices;
  2. To publish an accessible digital handbook of the Law and victim’s rights to all university students and staff within England and Wales;
  3. To publish an undergraduate textbook examining the law, context and reform needed of the law in England and Wales. Its purpose is to make this Law mainstream and accessible (hopefully taught as part of a Law degree, for example in English Legal Systems, Public Law, Criminal Law etc); and
  4. To carry out research to discover the true extent of the problem affecting undergraduate students.

Neelam Sarkaria, Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Law and Culture, St. Mary’s University

Neelam was called to the Bar in 1988 and now works as an independent criminal justice consultant with specific expertise in harmful traditional practices. She also sits as a fee-paid Tribunal Judge on social security cases and sits on professional conduct hearings for the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She holds an Honorary Lectureship in English Law at Aberdeen University and has developed and delivered training for health, education and social care professionals on harmful traditional practices. Neelam has extensive experience of working within and across Whitehall departments and previously worked for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for 24 years. She has performed a range of operational and strategic roles both within and outside of the CPS, including a lengthy period of secondment within Whitehall to develop and deliver criminal justice change.

Neelam has been the Chair and now co-Chair of the Association of Women Barristers for the last 3 years. She is an Advisory Member of the Desert Flower Foundation (UK), an international FGM charity committed to the eradication of FGM. She is also a Community Ambassador for the Sharan Project, a charity committed to supporting South Asian women in the UK who suffer abandonment as a result of forced marriage and honour-based violence. She has recently been appointed to the Expert Advisory Panel for the Ending Domestic Violence Global Foundation. Neelam works with the non-government organisations she is associated with to develop their capacity and capability.

Dr Judith Bourne, Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Culture, St. Mary’s University

Dr Judith Bourne, author of “Helena Normanton and the Opening of the Bar to Women” is an Associate Member of Chambers (non-practising).

Dr Bourne leads Law at St. Mary’s University and is the co-director of the Centre for Law and Culture. Before joining academia she was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, completed pupillage and worked as a Legal Adviser to the Magistrates.

Her teaching areas include: Land Law, Equity and Trusts Law and Family Law. Her research has centred on feminist perspectives on Law, in particular the legal history of first women lawyers. She is the co-author of two textbooks: Women and Law and Gender and Law, and published a biography of Helena Normanton, one of the pioneers of the movement to open the legal profession to women in 1919.

She devised and lead the “The First Women Lawyers Symposia”, an academic circle of practitioners and academics (both national and international) which published a special edition of the Women’s History review on first women lawyers. Judith has published widely.

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Date:
Thursday 08 October 2020
Time:
6.00pm - 7.00pm
Venue:
Online via Zoom

Find out more

For more information about this event please contact Dr Judith Bourne (Programme Director for Law):
Email: judith.bourne@stmarys.ac.uk
Tel: 020 8240 8224

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