The Gender Recognition Act consultation

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Read our response to the Women and Equalities Committee consultation on the reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

The Women and Equalities Committee closed their call for responses to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004 consultation in December. 

Our response focused on women in the criminal justice system, single-sex spaces and trauma-informed practice. "In our judgement," the response argued:

there are few better examples of the necessity of single-sex provision than in the case of women’s prisons. Most female prisoners have explicit and acknowledged experience of coercion, male and intimate partner violence against them, sexualised violence from an early age and persistently violent relationships over time with trusted male figures. In the context of single-sex prison environments, it is this particularity of women’s experience that is relevant. Placing female prisoners in the position of having to share their spaces with male prisoners places them at risk of retraumatisation and, in some cases, further abuse.

The response went on to observe:

If prison is intended as part of a rehabilitative process in prisoners’ lives, the opportunity for vulnerable and emotionally overwhelmed women to experience relief from male violence in their chosen relationships must be understood as important. Women in prison are still subject to male staff and authoritarian regimes, designed, as The Corston Report acknowledged, for and by men. Their only reprieve may be to be able to share some private and community spaces with other women, rather than with male peers.

Read our full response, in webpage format, or as a downloadable pdf