Guidance withdrawn

Today we were very pleased to learn that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has permanently withdrawn its LGBT+ Bullying and Hate Crime Guidance for Schools. We had very serious concerns about the impact of this hate crime guidance on girls’ ability to stand up for their rights in schools. We are delighted that it will not be re-issued.

At a hearing this afternoon a judge considered the application for a judicial review of the participation of the Crown Prosecution Service in Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme. This application was based on the stated intention of the CPS to review and re-issue their LGBT+ Bullying and Hate Crime Guidance for Schools, which they had withdrawn after a teenage girl challenged it on the grounds of safety and freedom of speech. The teenager felt that they would not be able to review it fairly while Stonewall was embedded in the service.

The counsel for the defence announced today that the CPS’ Hate Crime Schools Guidance has now been permanently withdrawn and there are no plans to reissue. This is a relief for the teenage claimant. However we are disappointed that the CPS chose not to inform the claimant of the permanent withdrawal of the Hate Crime Schools Guidance prior to today. This has wasted a lot of everyone’s time.

Judicial Review decision

The judge has decided that this judicial review should not go ahead. It is disappointing that he seems to have accepted that being a member of Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ scheme is merely a matter of employee rights. He has not acknowledged that in fact their influence goes much wider than this. We understand the claimant is considering whether to appeal.

We are very concerned by the lack of transparency in the relationship between the CPS and Stonewall, both regarding the development of the Hate Crime Schools Guidance and also in other matters of policy and guidance. Further, we are disgusted at the CPS’s attempt today to depart from normal practice and seek punitive damages against a 15 year old girl. We believe this is intended to have a silencing attempt on others seeking to oppose Stonewall’s anti-women and anti-safeguarding ideology.

Justice Cavanagh refused to award costs for today and we thank him for acknowledging that Stonewall’s ideology is at odds with the views of many women’s rights groups and lesbians.

We will continue to oppose any schools’ guidance that undermines the safeguarding and inclusion of ALL children and thank everybody who has supported both this teenage girl and our work on prioritising the safety of children.

We will continue to campaign for safeguarding and the correct interpretation of the Equality Act.

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