The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is consulting on updates to its legal guidance on domestic abuse to help prosecutors "ensure the delivery of justice" for victims.
In its section on 'race and religion', the updated guidance says prosecutors "should be aware of community courts/arbitration forums in some Jewish and Muslim communities" used by victims and perpetrators.
It adds prosecutors "will be aware that they should not be used as an alternative to criminal proceedings" and that some perpetrators "may use these mechanisms to make a case for staying with their partner, thereby enabling the abuse to be continued".
The NSS, which campaigns to ensure religious courts do not undermine secular justice or women's rights, said it 'strongly supports' the inclusion of this information in its response to its consultation.
It highlighted how Islamic sharia councils and Jewish councils (beth dins) reinforce patriarchal norms, and that beth dins play a role in religious 'divorce' refusal which has recently been recognised as a form of domestic abuse.
The NSS also welcomed the guidance's inclusion of issues such as forced marriage, 'honour' violence and female genital mutilation ...
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