UK MP proposes end to parental rights for rapists

Under a new proposal to the parliament, men who father children as a result of rape will be stripped of their parental rights.

Gea Alessi
Gea Alessi NewsMavens, Europe
UK MP proposes end to parental rights for rapists - NewsMavens
Mother and child, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Labour MP Louise Haigh addressed the Parliament on the issue by mentioning the case of rape survivor Sammy Woodhouse. The Rotherham Council had encouraged Arshid Hussain, who raped Ms Woodhouse, to apply to the court for “contact” with his biological son. Haigh added that the Council did not even notify the victim on this decision. 

“It is inconceivable to anyone with any sympathy, empathy or a drop of common sense” stated the MP, in reference to the Rotherham Council’s action. 

The Parental Rights (Rapists) and Family Courts Bill, which is Haigh’s legislative proposal, also wants to allow an inquiry into how family courts work with victims of domestic abuse. Family courts in the UK are currently private. This is done in order to protect the children, but it also means that they do not go through the same scrutiny as criminal courts. According to Haigh, this higher state of privacy puts some women in danger.

Details from the story:

  • Last December, Ms Woodhouse openly asked the government for a change in the legal system so that rapists would not have any right on children conceived through abuse
  • MP Haigh's initial idea was an amendment to the 1989 Children’s Act, but the government affirmed that it would undermine the convicted rapist’s right to “a family life.”

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