§ Ms. Richardson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those initiatives of his Department which have been of benefit to women, since 1979, the cost or estimated cost of those initiatives, and the proportion of the total budget of his Department this represents.
§ Mr. Waddington
Since 1979, the Home Office has taken or been closely concerned with the following initiatives which have been of particular benefit to women:
- (i) Arrangements for the recovery of maintenance payments under parts 1 and 2 of the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972 have been extended to a further four countries and to 13 additional states of the United States of America;
- (ii) Section 2 of the British Nationality Act 1981 has given women the same right as men to transmit their British citizenship to their children born abroad. The Act has also enabled women, but not men, to transmit citizenship to illegitimate children;
- (iii) The Government gave full support to a Bill (now the Sexual Offences Act 1983), introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Drake (Miss Fookes) which increased the maximum penalties for attempted rape and for indecent assault on a woman or girl and penalised kerbcrawling;
- (iv) A ministerial group on women's issues was established in May 1986 under Home Office chairmanship to consider the Government's response to the forward-looking strategies produced by the United Nations conference at the end of the Decade for Women;
- (v) A circular was issued to the police on 15 October 1986 urging them to improve the way they assist women who have been the victims of violent attack;
- (vi) The Criminal Justice Bill, now before this House would extend anonymity for rape victims and would empower the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to make an additional payment to a woman who keeps a child conceived as a result of rape;
- (vii) The procedures for making appointments to public bodies have recently been reviewed with
651 the object of making information on the appointments and the qualifications required available to women's organisations, and of ensuring that suitable women are included on short lists for appointments;
- (viii)Funding has been provided for the standing conference of women's organisations from 1980 to 1986.
It is not possible to calculate the cost or estimated cost of all these initiatives.