31 Dec 2016

Family Courts Chief Mangina James Munby Backs End To Alleged Abusers Cross-Examining Their Alleged Victims

Our thanks to J4MB's Ken for this piece in The Guardian. As we’d expect, it portrays a world in which all abusers are men, all victims women. An extract:
Responding to the revelations, Cris McCurley, a family lawyer in north-east England, said: “I have worked on hundreds of cases and the direct cross examination of victims by a perpetrator happens a lot. It is absolutely traumatising. We have got to get something in place to stop this, even if it means appointing a special advocate or even a law student to put the questions instead of the perpetrator.”
Cris McCurley works for the law firm Ben Hoard Bell. Her profile on the firm’s website is here. It starts:

Cris has specialist knowledge of Gender Equality, Domestic Violence, Honour Based Violence (HBV), Forced Marriage (FM), Abduction, Trafficking, FGM and 21st century slavery.
Hmm, she’s missed the crime of MGM off her list.
The following are sentences in her profile, with a clearly gendered aspect (in bold). The gendered aspect in every case relates to females. There are a number of sentences in her profile which may well be gendered in practise – e.g. Forced Marriage, Honour Based Violence – but we’ve given her the benefit of the doubt, and excluded those.

In March 2011 she gave written evidence to the Government’s Home Affairs Select Committee on the new strategy on tackling violence towards women and girls.
She made a series of recommendations in writing to the President of the Family Division as a result of this meeting and to the Home Affairs Select Committee concerning the changes the UK needs to make to meet its obligation under the CEDAW Objectives. [CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly.]
Also in March 2011 Cris was delegated to attend a UN/CEDAW Women’s Resource Centre in Newcastle and further training is planned.
Whilst in Bangladesh Cris also visited many women’s NGO’s and saw first hand the work being done to promote CEDAW throughout rural and urban areas of Bangladesh and met with the team at A.S.K to discuss with them their shadow report to the 48th session in Geneva.
Cris has also visited women’s projects in India, Cambodia and Vietnam. Cris has been asked to return to Bangladesh to review the effectiveness of the new Domestic Violence legislation when the law has been implemented over a period of time.
Law Society delegate/Shadow report writer to the UN/CEDAW enquiry, giving evidence at the UN in Geneva (2013) about access to justice and Legal Aid for victims of violence.
She has just submitted the Shadow report critiquing the Government’s response to the CEDAW determination for 2015 on behalf of the women’s sector.
Cris chaired the UN Special Rapporteur for VAW meeting in the North East on the 5th April 2014.
Cris is part of the 2016 MOJ/Law Society/Resolution working party into Legal Aid for victims of VAW. In 2015 she negotiated a change to the LAA financial regulations in favour of students. She was a witness in the successful ROW 2016 Court of Appeal case win over the MOJ to force a change to the LAA VAW regulations.
Cris is an accredited trainer in HBV, FM, DV and Abduction and is a Higher Rights advocate. She has just written the Solicitors Guide to working with FGM for Resolution.
Memberships and Panels
Cris is a member of a number of specialist advisory groups and professional panels including:
  • National Domestic abuse panel of Resolution as a specialist in FM/HBV/FGM
  • BME women’s Domestic Violence Network.( Co-chair)
  • UN/CEDAW Shadow report writing working party
  • International federation of Women Lawyers (International executive committee member- UK representative/executive editor)
  • National Advisory Board member, Rights Of Women.(ROW)
  • Abandoned spouses working group (Southall Black Sisters)
Conference Presentations
Cris has presented at many National and International conferences including:
  • International Conference; Reclaiming the agenda DV and BME women November 2010. Conference chair and keynote speaker.
  • Lecture tour of Bangladesh on women, violence and the law December 2010.
  • IWRAW [International Women’s Rights Action Watch] – Western European delegate to International lawyers symposium on UN/CEDAW in Malaysia. June 2011.
  • Conference on FM/HBV. Keynote speaker, together with the Home office FMU lead on Forced marriage, and member of the BME women’s DV network September 2013.
  • FIDA International women Lawyers conference London September 2013.
  • 1 Billion Women Rising North East February 2014.
  • FIDA (Fed’ International Women Lawyers) Bangalore November 2014
  • Inspirational women of Law Conference 2015
  • IMKAAN/Rights of women Forced marriage conference 2015

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