Minister’s claim that women will not be prosecuted, ring hollow
(Minister of State, Alan Campbell, Hansard 19 January 2009)
In April 2009, a woman (Ms W) was charged under section 33 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (SOA 1956) with “assisting in the management of a brothel” at two premises. Ms W had no responsibility for either flat. She was not a tenant, did not hold keys and did not pay any of the bills. Her role was to ensure the safety of other women.
Legal Action for Women (the legal service initiated by the ECP in 1982) protested about the prosecution to Keir Starmer, the attorney general:
“Two years ago, Ms W bravely escaped from a violent partner after 28 years of abuse. She is presently struggling to support herself, her disabled daughter and elderly mother who is housebound having suffered a stroke. Any prosecution would have a severe detrimental effect on her mental and physical wellbeing and on the welfare of her daughter and mother.”
After an 18 month public campaign the prosecution was dropped.