As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, I was invited onto Channel 5 news to talk about people who go missing. (watch below)
The APPG recently held it’s Inquiry into safeguarding missing adults who have mental health issues’ you can read here.
Sadly, there are about 126,000 incidents of adults going missing annually. Up to 600 missing people a year are found dead: the most commonly known cause being suicide. 80 per cent of adults who go missing are experiencing mental health problems and up to one third go missing again.
Going missing should be a ‘red flag moment’ which ought to trigger help, we need better initial risk assessment and long term support for people who are at risk of going missing.
I am delighted that the Government has announced a root and branch review into how the criminal justice system handles rape cases.
This is something I have been campaigning for. There is an ‘explosive cocktail’ of shockingly low charging and conviction rates at a time when record numbers of women – over 40,000 a year – are reporting rape.
The review is long overdue. We must not allow the clocks to be turned back to a situation where rape victims are frightened to speak out because they fear they will not get justice.
It is vital that the review thinks ‘outside the box’ and examines whether the jury system is the best way to deliver justice in rape cases because of the dominance of ‘rape myths’ in society, such as girls who drink or wear short skirts are ‘asking for it’.
This week I also released Freedom on Information figures which show that the number of rape cases charged by the Crown Prosecution Service has plummeted again and is getting worse each year. According to the statistics, there was a 24.6 per cent drop in charging rates from 61.9 per cent in 2013/2014 to 37.3 per cent by September 2018.
These new figures show once again that the justice system is not working for rape victims as fewer and fewer men accused of rape are being charged.
The obvious conclusion is that it appears that because juries are reluctant to find young men guilty of rape that the CPS are scared and reluctant to prosecute and the police are scared and reluctant to refer cases forward to the CPS.
The loser is the rape victim. They feel they have been denied access to justice.
See more in the Guardian here – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/06/prosecution-rate-in-england-and-wales-falls-to-five-year-low?fbclid=IwAR2v_Q4oyTtay5NeUe0WNd5ZjYNJA6DKl833xkeF5Rl9xEAiHrsreBkg0zs
It was a privilege and an honour to have been elected as your MP in 1992. Over the years I have met many of you first as children on visits to schools and then as parents yourselves.
Thank you so much for your letters of support following my announcement that after 41 years I was resigning from the Labour Party. I am sorry for the distress I have caused colleagues in the local party. This was not a decision I took lightly.
My values have not changed and I and the excellent and committed people who work for me will continue to help and support you with your problems.
And I will continue to represent you in the same way I have done for the last 27 years as an MP and before that as a local councillor.
You voted to remain in Europe in the referendum recognising the value of us being part of a single market. I have voted in parliament for those options that could deliver the best possible economic deal for us. I will continue to do so. Remaining in the EU would have given us the best deal. We rely on a sound economy to fund our public services. We need jobs, housing, first class health provision and investment in our children’s education.
From a recent survey of constituents it was clear that young people see their future in Europe and are upset that what was on offer to older generations is no longer there for them. Their view of the world is unlimited by national boundaries. This is the impact of the world wide web.
Brexit will change Britain in a way we cannot imagine for future generations. When I have visited schools I have been very impressed by the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of our children. They are a credit to their teachers and parents. They will be our asset in the Britain to come .