Parminder Sekhon – BME Communities, Sex and the Law (8.03mb

BME communities, Sex and the Law
Parminder Sekhon, Deputy Chief Executive
September 2010
Who we are: Who we serve
Sample Origins
Horn of Africa
•Major cultural, religious and
linguistic issues in working with these
•Major stigma attached to
•Historical roots of NPL
Spanish speaking
Other African
and African
•Historically limited provision for
these communities through
mainstream London providers
•Innovative targeted pilot with Black
men who have sex with men
•Homophobia and stigma
NPL’s Experience
• LGBT Asylum Seekers
• Forced Marriage
• BME young people and Sex and Relationships
• Entitlement to NHS HIV Treatment subject to immigration
• Criminalisation of HIV
Sex getting into trouble with the
• 1327 – Deposed King Edward II is killed
• 1533- King Henry VIII made same sex male sexual activity
punishable by death
• 1861- penalty for buggery reduced to imprisonment 10 years to life.
• 1957- Wolfenden Committee’s report recommends decriminalising
consensual homosexual behaviour in UK
• 1961 – Pill introduced in UK for married women only
• 1985 – Gillick Competency Fraser guidelines
• 1988 – Section 28 is passed
• 2000 – Equalisation of age of consent
• 2003 – Section 28 repealed
• 2004 – The UK Gender recognition Act becomes law, offering
transgender people full legal recognition of change of gender
• 2005 – Civil union and Partnership Laws
• 2007 – Anti Discriminatory legislation to protect
Sexual Orientation
• 72 countries and 3 entities (Turkish Cyprus, Gaza and Cook Islands)
punish consenting adults with imprisonment, while 5 countries (Iran,
Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and parts of Nigeria and
Somalia) punish with the death penalty. (ILGA 2009)
• This impacts on UK communities because homophobia leads to
persecution leads to individuals seeking asylum in what they
perceive as a safe haven
• July 8th landmark judgment by supreme court justices in London
which deemed in the case of 2 gay men from Cameroon and Iran
that there was a well founded fear of persecution entitled them to
protection under the Convention for Status of Refugees and rejected
the court of appeal decision that both men could conceal their
sexuality to avoid persecution.
Forced Marriage
• In 2009 Forced Marriage Unit gave advice
or support to 1682 cases. 86 percent of
these cases involved females and 14
percent involved males.
• Over the past year, the number of calls
from men to the unit increased by 65%,
from 134 in 2008 to 220 in 2009.
Entitlement to HIV treatment
• If you are seeking asylum and have application
in with the Home Office you are entitled by law
to free primary and secondary care.
• If you are a failed asylum seeker but require
treatment you are still entitled to be given ARV’s
as long as you started hospital treatment before
decision of refusal (this includes HIV
Entitlement to HIV treatment
• 30th July 2009 Court of Appeal judgment overturned the
decision of the High Court that refused asylum seekers
should be able to access free NHS care whilst in the UK.
• The decision to offer treatment is up to the doctor. The
hospital providing the treatment is entitled to try and
recover the costs of this treatment and many have an
Overseas Payment Officer who assesses a person's
ability to pay.
• This has the potential to hugely undermine social
cohesion, increase avoidable illness and death, harms
vulnerable children and older people, and contributes to
the spread of infectious disease
Female Genital Mutilation
• In the UK, researchers suggest there are up to 3-4,000 cases of
FGM per year.
• FGM not cultural or religious practice but a systematic child abuse.
FGM is a child protection issue.
• FGM was made illegal in UK under 1985 Prohibition of female
Circumcision Act.
• Since 2008, 125 cases have gone to the Police. In 2009 intervened
in 59 cases.
• Specific child protection guidance should be made available to all
professionals potentially involved in identifying FGM.
Sex and Relationships Education
• Currently, English schoolchildren are taught about sex in Personal,
Social And Health Education (PSHE) classes and parents have the
right to withdraw their children from any sex education lessons up to
the age of 19.
• From September 2011 SRE will be part of statutory national
curriculum and all 15 and 16 year olds will have to learn about SRE
during last year of GCSE (opt out clause still there for parents before
15) (now proposal axed)
• However there is amendment to the Children, Schools and Families
Bill effectively provides an opt-out for faith schools from teaching full,
comprehensive and objective SRE
Sex and Relationships Education
• In 2006 NPL conducted a study into Sexual Health Knowledge,
Attitudes and Behaviours among Black and Minority Ethnic Youth in
• BME adolescents reported experiencing dichotomous, and often
conflicting, sexual norms and values between family and/or
community, and life ‘outside’. The pressures and values evident
between the family home and outside environment caused a tension
for some
• Irrespective of religion or ethnicity, the vast majority saw the value
and necessity of SRI. An appreciation and desire for good sexual
health was universal among BME youth. Good sexual health
education was expressed both in terms of avoiding physical
outcomes such as unintentional pregnancy and STIs, in addition to
psychosocial matters including being sexually responsible and
resisting peer pressure to have sex.
Kisses Postcards 2009
Families against Homophobia 2005
Bhangra Against Homophobia 1995
MSM Campaigns

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