The Women and Equalities Committee have launched a new inquiry – The Rights of Cohabiting Partners | Deadline for evidence submission: Monday 5 July 2021
Information on the scope of the inquiry
Cohabiting couples make up the fastest growing type of family, with over 3.4 million couples cohabiting in England or Wales. Couples who cohabit currently have less legal protection than those who are married or in a civil partnership in the event of death or separation. Despite this, there is a widespread perception that cohabiting couples have similar or identical rights to those who are married or in a civil partnership.
In 2007, the Law Commission published a report on the financial consequences of the breakdown of cohabitant relationships and recommended law reform. Since then, in 2011, the Coalition Government decided not to take forward the recommendations, and there has been little progress in this area since. Certain legal professionals have continued to call for greater protection under the law for cohabiting couples.
The Committee will examine what legal protection for cohabiting couples could look like and how this might be introduced. We welcome written evidence submissions from individuals, legal practitioners and organisations.
The Committee is inviting written evidence but cannot accept evidence that discusses on-going or active court cases.
Key questions for the inquiry are:
- Should there be a legal definition of cohabitation and, if so, what should it be?
- What legislative changes, if any, are needed to better protect the rights of cohabiting partners in the event of death or separation?
- What equalities issues are raised by the lack of legal protection for those in cohabiting relationships?
- Should legal changes be made to better provide for the children of cohabiting partners?
- Should cohabiting partners have the same rights as those who are married or in a civil partnership?
- Are there examples of good practice in relation to the rights of cohabiting partners in the UK or internationally that the Government should seek emulate in England and Wales?
You can submit evidence to this inquiry until Sunday 4 July. Please inform and engage with BU’s policy team before submitting evidence to the inquiry. You can contact Jane and Sarah on email@example.com
Colleagues may be interested in responding to a new Home Affairs Committee inquiry into violence against women and girls.
The inquiry will look at how violence against women and girls is being addressed. The Committee will use information from this call for evidence to inform its future programme of work on this issue. The deadline for submissions is 12pm on Tuesday 11 May 2021. You can submit evidence here – please engage with the policy team before submitting to an inquiry.
The Committee invites evidence on the following points, to inform development of its future programme:
How VAWG affects women and girls. This may include:
- Information on different forms and experiences of VAWG – for example rape, sexual harassment and abuse, domestic abuse, coercive control, street and online harassment, stalking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other forms of violence and abuse – and the differences between addressing VAWG in the public and private spheres;
- How VAWG has changed and how issues relating to VAWG are affected by modern technology, for example the use of social media and online dating sites, sexting, revenge porn and the accessibility of explicit pornography;
- How VAWG affects young women and girls including in school and education institutions, in public places and online;
- How VAWG affects particular groups, such as migrant women, sex workers or women with protected characteristics;
- The prevalence and effect of honour-based violence and other practices that may affect minority groups such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage;
- How sexual violence is being normalised within relationships, including strangulation, and the influence of extreme or violent pornography;
- How organisations that women and girls turn to for support and help engage with issues relating to VAWG and their role in tackling and preventing it.
How VAWG should be prevented and addressed. This may include:
- The role information and education for both men and women play in protecting women and girls;
- Whether there is sufficient and appropriate support available for victims;
- What measures should be in place for perpetrators;
- The role of organisations and institutions including the police and criminal justice system, schools, colleges and education institutions, employers and trade unions, social media companies, local community and specialist services;
- What lessons should be learnt from the 2016-2020 Ending Violence against Women and Girls strategy when developing the Government’s 2021-2024 strategy;
- How current Bills, such as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the Domestic Abuse Bill and other recent legislation that has been introduced can address, or have addressed, the issue of VAWG; and
- Steps towards ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP said: “Women across the country have been speaking out about their experiences of violence, abuse, stalking, and feeling unsafe – be it on our streets, in schools or at home. Everyone agrees that violence against women and girls is abhorrent, yet far too little has changed in practice to improve women’s safety and in some areas things have got worse. This inquiry will examine the many forms that violence against women and girls takes in our society, what action is being taken to end the scourge of violence against women and girls, and how it is currently being addressed by Government, the police and the criminal justice system.”