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Muslim women’s experiences of the criminal justice system

Report published


20 August 2019
Muslim women’s experiences of the criminal justice system

The Muslim Women’s Network and Barrow Cadbury Trust have published a report on the experiences of Muslim women in the criminal justice system. It examines how the system responds to Muslim women who have been victims of violence and abuse, whether they are getting justice, and what factors are contributing to any ‘justice gap’. Key findings include: 

  • Complaints were not always taken seriously, or were not investigated to an acceptable standard. Victims were also not kept up-to-date and were having to constantly chase police and the Crown Prosecution Service for updates.
  • When suspects were not charged, or defendants were acquitted, reasons were not always given to the complainants. 
  • When cases proceeded to court, the quality of publically funded barristers were perceived as variable. 
  • Perceived poor handling of cases resulted in victims reporting they had not obtained justice, and feeling there was a lack of understanding by judges about the impacts of different types of abuse on victims.
  • It appeared that sometimes police officers were missing risks associated with honour-based violence, forced marriage and revenge porn due to a lack of understanding of the complex issues connected with these offences. When victims were not correctly identified as high risk they were then not offered the appropriate safeguarding services.
  • Victims reported that sometimes police did not appear alert to the fact that Muslim women may face additional barriers to reporting abuse. In addition, police were sometimes inflexible in their approach, and did not adapt to religious or cultural factors.

The report makes several recommendations to decrease disparities in the way that minority women are treated in the criminal justice system. 

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