Despite a very busy few weeks in the run-up to Brexit and its aftermath, child welfare concerns have remained in the spotlight. Here are the latest Bills, ideas and updates in the sector, which make for very interesting - and, at times, controversial - reading.
There has been a flurry of new Bills going through Parliament in the last month focusing on marriage and child and family poverty, as well as domestic violence.
The Registration of Marriage Bill
has been put forward by a group of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem politicians. There is no text for the Bill available yet so it's not clear what it seeks to achieve, but it could potentially be connected to the Equal Civil Partnerships
movement which looks to make civil marriages available to opposite sex couples (it is currently on available to same-sex couples). The Bill had its first reading 29 June 2016, and the next reading will be held 21 October 2016.
The next piece of proposed legislation which focuses on family is the Child Poverty in the UK (Target for Reduction) Bill
, which, as the name suggests, aims to establish targets for reducing child poverty and ensure the publication of reports to track its progress. It was proposed by Dan Jarvis MP, who has been in the news recently following a bid for the Labour leadship. This Bill also had its first reading 29 June 2016, and will have its second reading in 2017.
Following on is the Families with Children and Young People in Debt (Respite) Bill
. This proposed legislation, put forward by Kelly Tolhurst MP, wants to establish a duty on lenders and creditors to provide periods of financial respite for families with children and young people in debt under certain circumstances, and to place a duty on public authorities to provide access to related advice, guidance and support in this context. Its first reading, like the aforementioned Bills, was held 29 June 2016. The second reading for the Bill will be held 28 October 2016.
Moving on to the equally significant topic of domestic violence, the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill
seeks to require the UK to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and tackling both violence against women and domestic abuse as a whole (similar to the Istanbul Convention
, which a lot of countries are ratifying but the UK has yet to do). The Bill was proposed by Dr Eilidh Whiteford, and will have its second reading on 16 December 2016.
All of the above proposals have been made within Private Members' Bills
and, while these Bills very rarely make law, with public support they can sometimes go on to be ratified and implemented.