TO: ELECTORAL COMMISSION
Ensure all survivors of domestic abuse who live in refuges and other safe houses can register to vote and use their Human Right to "vote in elections and have a say in the choice of government" (European Convention of Human Rights, Protocol 1, Article 3).
Why is this important?I have found it impossible to register to vote as I live in a Safe House in Bristol. With the local elections happening right now, and the EU referendum coming up, I'm left without a vote, without a voice, without a say on local Councillor appointment, City Mayor, the Police Crime Commissioner position or whether we stay in or out of the EU.
My struggle to register made me realise this is a huge issue that no one even realises.
As I live in a safe house it is vital for my safety that my name and address do not appear on the electoral register. The current system does provide an 'anonymous registration' process designed to protect vulnerable or at risk people who can't disclose their residential address. However this form requires evidenced approval through proven Court Injunction, written signature from a Police Superintendent or Adult Social Services management.
For many in my situation, (estimated at 70% of all residents in Bristol safe houses by support staff here) their registration would not be eligible for sign off. Taking away the civil right, human right that was fought so hard for back in 1918 that introduced the 'Representation of the People Act' allowing women the right to vote.
Across England there are over 250 independent refuges providing safe emergency accommodation for people fleeing domestic abuse. Thousands of people living in secure residential accommodation where location secrecy is of utmost importance. Thousands of people who will not be able to register to vote. That is a huge number of women being denied basic Human Rights. The Human Rights Act (1998) states "it is unlawful for public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with European Convention right".
Safe houses and refuges by their very nature ensure all residents staying with them are in need of safety and security after leaving abuse. Therefore having management level able to sign the anonymous registration form is more than enough evidence for each residents need for anonymity. Such a simple solution for such an important change that needs to be made.
Please sign and share this petition so we can no longer be kept in silence. Thank you.
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