Labour peer tells JWA ‘domestic violence opened my eyes to how law failed women’

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Labour peer tells JWA ‘domestic violence opened my eyes to how law failed women’

Baroness Helena Kennedy told a seminar organised by Jewish Women's Aid (JWA) that more must be done to ensure the justice system serves women

Naomi Dickson with Baroness Helena Kennedy
Naomi Dickson with Baroness Helena Kennedy

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC has told a seminar organised by Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA) that more must be done to ensure the justice system serves women.

The Labour peer said the legal system has changed over the last three decades, claiming further change is needed.

“Domestic violence really opened my eyes [in my early career] to how the law failed women,” she said. “Since then, not enough has changed. We’ve come a long way, but not far enough.”

Lucy Stone QC also addressed the seminar, outlining proposed changes in matrimonial law, while barrister Kathryn Blair said we must keep pushing for change.

The event was hosted by the law firm BCLP in London and co-chaired by JWA trustee judge Dawn Freedman and the barrister Elissa Da Costa Waldman.

JWA CEO Naomi Dickson said: “Our experience at Jewish Women’s Aid is that navigating the justice system can be frightening for our clients, and it does not always deliver the justice that they deserve.

“It’s really crucial that the legal profession reviews legislation and processes to ensure that vulnerable women are kept safe and receive justice, so we’re delighted that our amazing speakers and so many legal professionals engaged with our seminar tonight.”

Writing in JN last month, Dickson said the reality of sexual violence should not be hidden. “The distressing details of domestic and sexual abuse are not ones we wish to dwell on,” she wrote. “But ignoring this harsh reality would fail those who are suffering without a voice. Turning a blind eye gives space for this despicable behaviour to flourish.”

JWA supports Jewish women in the UK and their children affected by relationship abuse and sexual violence through counselling, children’s therapy and other services.

The charity announced the launch of its Dina sexual violence support helpline to support female Jewish victims of sexual violence last month, named after the biblical story of Dina.

  •   If you have been affected by any of these issues, call JWA’s new Dina Service helpline on 0800 801 0656. For more information about JWA,  visit  
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