Treasurer of Northwich Soroptomists, Lindsay Wren, has just demonstrated how powerful our movement can be after lobbying Parliament regarding the right for anonymous registrations on the electoral register for survivors of domestic abuse.
Elections can cause direct issues for survivors of abuse since the public nature of the electoral register in it’s present guise can disclose a person’s address when often they don’t want to be tracked down and found. But why should abuse survivors not be allowed to exercise their democratic rights just like anyone else?
Whilst there are presently some processes in place to allow people to apply to be able to demonstrate why their details should be removed from the register, current guidance bewilderingly asks for court documents or a letter of attestation which can only be provided by a police officer higher than Superintendent in rank, the Director General of MI5 or the Serious Organised Crime Agency, or a director of adult social services or children’s services. As you can imagine, these people would be incredibly difficult for any member of the public to contact, meaning many survivors are not able to exercise their right to register for anonymity.
This welcome response from Parliament is very promising; following Lindsay’s letter, MP for Weaver Vale Graham Evans has corresponded with Chris Skidmore MP who stated that “the government is determined that those whose personal safety would be at risk if their details appear on the electoral register should be able to register anonymously” and goes on to detail meetings that have been held with domestic abuse charities to discuss the current process, and will be announcing plans to look closely at the regulations of this important policy.
In the meantime, if you wish to bolster the good work done by Lindsay and help push Parliament into prioritising this very important matter of anonymity for abuse survivors on their agenda, please do so by registering your support on this online petition