MPs and peers launch parliamentary group on get refusal

New group aims to help women who are victims of religious abuse


MPs and peers from across the political spectrum have set up a new parliamentary group to support Jewish women who remain trapped in a dead marriage because their husbands deny them a get.

The All-Parliamentary Group on Get Refusal is chaired by the Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, Nickie Aiken, and the Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck.

Ms Aiken said, “Establishing the APPG will send a message to Jewish women that they are acknowledged and it is hoped they feel more confident to reach out for support if they are being abused through get refusal or in other culturally specific ways.”

Ms Buck added, “Domestic abuse should never be tolerated, and I am delighted to be involved in exposing how get refusal by recalcitrant husbands prolongs the abuse of Jewish women in dead marriages, to enable them to give their testimony and to look at how they can be helped and supported.”

Statutory guidance due to be issued soon on the Domestic Abuse Act, which was passed last year, will formally recognise get refusal as a form of “spiritual abuse”.

Vice-chairs of the APPG include two of the Jewish peers who have been instrumental in lobbying for the guidance will serve Baroness Altmann and Lord Mendelsohn.

Baroness Altmann said, “Whilst recognising that only religious Jewish courts can validate a get we hope that this group can explore ways in which the Jewish religious authorities and the legal system can work together to better help and support these women.”

Lord Mendelsohn said the establishment of the APPG was “an important step forward in making progress to recognise the rights and concerns of Jewish women”.

The inaugural meeting heard powerful testimony from Caroline Moher, who is still waiting for her get from her ex-husband Alan from whom she was civilly divorced in 2019. The Salford businessman is currently serving an 18-month sentence after pleading guilty to controlling or coercive behaviour against her last month.

Her case is now being considered by the London Beth Din.

Members of the APPG were shocked at her treatment and disappointed with the progress in her trying to secure a get. London Victims Commissioner Claire Waxman and Home Office officials were present at the meeting.

Last month a North-West London woman Rivkah Abayahoudayan finally received her get after 20 years shortly before a court hearing. She had also brought a prosecution against her ex-husband but dropped the charge after winning her freedom.

READ MORE: MPs and rabbis move to solve divorce crisis

Man who tormented wife jailed over get refusal

Woman receives get after more than 20 years

Jailed businessman was not 'get refuser' according to beth din

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