The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is a large public body (7,000+ employees) charged with deciding which charges, if any, are to be brought against those believed to have broken the law.
In deciding which cases are to be pursued, ‘public interest’ is purportedly one of two deciding factors for the CPS, the other being the likelihood of a successful prosecution. Some time ago we sent a FOI request to the CPS concerning MGM, including proof that it’s long been illegal in the UK. The CPS didn’t deny that MGM is illegal, but it still refused to bring prosecutions. Apparently there is no ‘public interest’ in stopping the mutilation of the genitals of male minors.
There is also no ‘public interest’ in charging women with the egregious crime of paternity fraud, a crime under the Fraud Act 2006, as well as earlier legislation. There is, however, public interest in bringing charges against men in areas such as sexual assaults of women, regardless of the weakness (sometimes, as in the case of Mark Pearson, who’ll be speaking at the London conference, the non-existence) of evidence against them, and regardless of the fact that those men’s identities are made public, while women suspected of having made false sexual assault allegations are rarely prosecuted. When they are prosecuted, and found guilty, they can generally expect to receive suspended sentences, i.e. no punishment.
The CPS is, of course, far from alone within the criminal justice system in having a strong anti-male bias. In a renowned blog piece we’ve linked to many times, William Collins explained – here – that if men were sentenced as leniently as women by the courts, five out of every six men currently in British prisons wouldn’t be there. The perennial prison overcrowding crisis could be solved speedily through introducing gender equality in prison sentencing. We raised the matter in a FOI request sent to Michael Gove, Justice Secretary. His department’s response displayed an utter lack of interest in the matter.
Alison Saunders is the Director of Public Prosecutions, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service. She took up the post on 1.11.13, and a defining feature of her term in office has been her relentless pursuit of radical feminist agendas. A few months ago she won one of our Toxic Feminist of the Month awards.
On 20.9.15 we sent a FoI request to Alison Saunders, here. The request:
– Please disclose whether any correspondence exists from 23.7.13 onwards between you and organizations advocating for victims of domestic abuse and/or domestic violence and/or sexual offences. [Note – we didn’t specify the gender of the victims.] For the avoidance of doubt, these organizations should include but not be limited to (a) Women’s Aid, (b) Refuge, and (c) Rape Crisis. Please include organizations with titles which include those terms, and similar ones.
– Please provide copies of any and all such correspondence, without redactions.
– Please disclose whether any meetings took place from 23.7.13 onwards, attended by yourself along with representatives of organizations advocating for victims of domestic abuse and/or domestic violence and/or sexual offences. For the avoidance of doubt, these organizations should include but not be limited to (a) Women’s Aid, (b) Refuge, and (c) Rape Crisis. Please include organizations with titles which include those terms, and similar ones.
– Please provide copies of minutes and/or notes relating to these meetings, without redactions.
In the absence of a timely response (20 working days is the official limit for FOI responses), we published weekly blog posts pointing to the delay, and emailed the CPS FOI unit accordingly.
The eventual CPS response was dated 29 March, 23 weeks overdue. The CPS claimed to have received the letter on 20.11.15. Even if this were the case, the response would still have been 14 weeks overdue.
We weren’t surprised by the contents of the letter. The CPS declined to provide the information on the grounds it would cost over £600 in staff time to gather. Fortunately, however, under Section 16 of the FOI Act, public bodies are obliged to advise what, if any, information may assist enquirers with their requests. I’ve highlighted the relevant section of the letter.
We responded that we would like to take up their offer of providing information relating to (a) Women’s Aid, (b) Refuge, and (c) Rape Crisis, and that was provided in a letter and associated papers on 27.4.16. The key section is highlighted in yellow. The CPS are claiming exemption under sections 17 and 36 of the FOIA, and provided this in relation to Section 17.
The information that was released by the CPS is important, however – perhaps surprisingly, given their dogged determination not to help us. It consists of 21 pages of correspondence between Alison Saunders and organizations including Refuge, Women’s Aid, and SERICC (South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre).
What does the correspondence tell us?
On 8.11.13 – one week after taking up her post at the head of the CPS – she wrote to the three aforementioned organizations in relation to a meeting to be held 12 days later. She stated she was ‘keen to continue the commitment of the CPS to further improving the response to violence against women and girls. I therefore plan to host a meeting from 16:30 to 18:00 at CPS HQ… on 20 November with key stakeholders to discuss the matter further.’
She visited Refuge’s HQ on 20.11.13, and was thanked in a letter the same day from Sandra Horley CBE, Chief Executive, ‘with warmest wishes’.
She was due to hold another meeting at Refuge’s HQ on 29.1.14. In her letter, Sandra Horley provided an agenda including ‘Refuge’s track record in (and proposed strategies for) increasing conviction rates for gender-based violence including domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking and FGM’. The Refuge letter was accompanied by the text of a keynote speech given by Cyrus Vance Jr, District Attorney for New York County, at a conference earlier the same month, which Ms Horley attended. It’s basically a rehash of the thinking behind the Scandinavian legal model in the area of prostitution, in which women are always victims, men always exploiters.
She invited the three organizations to another meeting at CPS HQ on 28.2.14.
On 4.2.14 she writes to an organization – the details are redacted, but the letter opens with ‘Dear Sandra’. It starts, ‘Thank you for taking the time to meet with me last week and allowing me to spend time with your National Domestic Violence Helpline. I was really impressed by the helpline and the way in which it provides a vital source of support for women [my emphasis] affected by abuse.’
An exchange of letters between Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, and Alison Saunders, following Saunders’s delivery of the keynote speech at the WA National Conference. Saunders ends, ‘I look forward to working together in the future.’
In the final letter, dated 17.10.14, Saunders thanks an organization for meeting her the previous month, for their hospitality, and ‘the tour of your centre was very interesting’. The details of the organization are redacted. It is seemingly not in the ‘public interest’ to know which organization Ms Saunders visited on 29.9.14.
No correspondence is provided from the 20 months following the last letter released by the CPS.
The CPS in general, and the Director of Public Prosecutions in particular, are required to not pursue political agendas, yet the evidence of Alison Saunders pursing gender political agendas is overwhelming in this area, as in others (notably sexual abuse).
Starting just a week after taking up her post, Alison Saunders has been personally driving a radical feminist agenda in the area of domestic violence, engaging with well-funded feminist-driven organizations that still tout the long-discredited Duluth Model of Domestic Violence, while she has – if the released documents are anything to go by – made not the slightest effort to proactively engage with organizations campaigning for support for male victims of domestic violence, such as the Mankind Initiative.
We call for the resignation of Alison Saunders. Her overwhelming concern for women and girls, and utter lack of concern for men and boys, make her deeply unfit for the important office she holds.