Connect with us

Latest News

London: Protesters demand an end to the imprisonment of pregnant women




To view this video, please enable JavaScript and consider upgrading to a web browser that allows it
supports HTML5 video

A multi-generational protest took place on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice in London today.

Babies, children and their parents gathered call for an end to the incarceration of pregnant women.

The protesters are calling on the Judiciary Council to stop courts from sending pregnant women and mothers to jail.

Armed with signs, the group sang nursery rhymes in the London drizzle as they called for change.

Parents and babies held signs reading ‘No births behind bars’ (Image: Elizabeth Dalziel)

Babies dressed in yellow and green in honor of Mother’s Day gathered and the group peacefully sang nursery rhymes together.

The protest was organized by campaign groups Level Up and No Births Behind Bars.

Both groups have worked to highlight the need for an end to the incarceration of pregnant women.

Level Up co-director Janey Starling said: “Prison will never be a safe place to get pregnant. Statistics show that pregnant women in prison are five times more likely to have a stillbirth, meaning that if a court were to sentence a woman to prison, they could also sentence her to stillbirth.

The groups are asking the Sentencing Council to enact changes (Image: Elizabeth Dalziel)

“The courts have the power to prevent the senseless, unnecessary harm that the prison system inflicts on pregnant women, young mothers and babies.

“It is imperative that the Sentencing Council introduce new punitive practices for pregnant women and new mothers.

“When women are supported in their communities instead, they can give their baby the best start in life.”


Last year, the Royal College of Midwives was one of several high-profile signatories to an open letter calling on the Sentencing Council to review judicial sentencing practices for pregnant women and declaring that “prisons are no place for pregnant women”.

The Royal College of Midwives backed the calls made (Image: Elizabeth Dalziel)

In response to the death of a baby at HMP Bronzefield in 2019, His Majesty’s Ombudsman for Prison and Probation has stated that all prison pregnancies are ‘high risk as the woman is locked behind a door for a significant period of time.’

The Sentencing Council, whose offices are based at the Royal Courts of Justice, has committed to examining whether new guidance on sentencing pregnant women is needed.

Women make up around 4% of the total prison inmates, with around 3,200 incarcerated in England and Wales. The vast majority of women are imprisoned for less than 12 months.

On average, there were 29 pregnant women in custody in 2021/22 and 50 births to women in custody in 2021/22. 94% of these births took place in a hospital and 3 took place either during transport to the hospital or in a prison.

The protest was organized by Level Up and No Births Behind Bars (Image: Elizabeth Dalziel)

Women in prison are five times more likely to have a stillbirth.

Aisha Dodwell, speaking on behalf of the campaign group No Births Behind Bars, said: “It is a blemish on this country’s justice system that we have to protest at all to demand that babies no longer be born in prison. The detention of pregnant women and their babies is not in the public interest at all.


“No woman should have to give birth in a cell. There are laws in other countries against this barbaric practice, but the UK is lagging behind.

“We are a group of new moms. We know what it’s like to be pregnant, give birth and care for a new baby. We know no one can do this safely in prison.

The group called on the Sentencing Council to stop courts from sending pregnant women to prison (Image: Elizabeth Dalziel)

“We call on the Judiciary Council to adopt guidelines to prevent pregnant women and young mothers from being sent to prison. Prison can never be a safe place for a mother or her baby.”

Rebecca, who gave birth while serving a sentence, joined the protest.

She said: “Being pregnant in prison was a terrible nightmare. The prison environment is unsafe and traumatizing for anyone, let alone a pregnant woman. When I was nine months pregnant, I was so underweight the obstetrician burst into tears.

“I wish the courts would understand the long-term impact that incarcerating a pregnant woman has on both her and her baby.

Babies, children and their parents gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice (Image: Elizabeth Dalziel)

“No one seems to consider the long-term costs to a child’s health and well-being. I was only in prison for a short time, but both I and my son suffered long-term trauma.

“Whether the courts accept it or not, our babies are suffering and their human rights must be respected.”

Previously, the groups organized the largest baby protest in history outside Parliament and a protest against breastfeeding at the Ministry of Justice.

Laura Abbott, Associate Professor and Lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Hertfordshire, whose research focuses on pregnancy in English prisons, said the Government could not ignore “the plight” of imprisoned women.

She said: “Prison is an unsafe environment for pregnant women. Pregnancy in prison is not just a matter of politics or public health, it is a matter of humanity.

“In-cell births are not uncommon, and women give birth in the prison complex, without qualified midwifery assistance and in unsterile, unsuitable environments, far more often than they should be.”


When contacted, a Justice Department spokesman said: “Independent judges already consider mitigating factors when making sentencing decisions, including pregnancy, and child custody is always a last resort for women.

“We have already taken decisive action to improve the support available to women, including specialized mother and baby liaison officers in each women’s prison, additional welfare observations and better screening and social services support to ensure pregnant prisoners receive the care they need .”

Get in touch with our messaging team by emailing us at [email protected] County

For more stories like this, Visit our news page.


Latest News

Boys, 7 and 9, found dead at home along with mum ‘were strangled’




Nadja de Jager and her sons Alexander and Maximus were found dead in their home (Image: SWNS)

Two boys were found strangled to death at their home, where their mother was also found dead, an inquest has found.

Nadja de Jager, 47, and her sons Alexander, nine, and Maximus, seven, were spotted after police forced entry into their home in Belvedere, in the southeast Londonon March 9th.

They were found dead at the scene of the crime around 11.50am after concerns were raised about her welfare.

Autopsy investigations revealed the boys’ preliminary cause of death was ligature compression on their necks, while their mother’s preliminary cause of death was listed as suspension – a medical term that includes hanging.

Detective Inspector Oliver Stride said both boys were found in an upstairs bedroom at the Mayfield Road property.

He added: “Maximus was lying on the bed while Alexander was lying on the floor next to the bed.


“The preliminary cause of death for both was given as ligature compression at the neck pending further investigation.

“Nadja’s preliminary cause of death was given as a suspension.”

Nine-year-old Alexander (Image: Centre County Reportpolitan Police)

He added that the boys’ father, whose name was not released, identified the boys’ bodies.

Alexander and Maximus were “model students” and “everybody’s best friend”, it was said in their school at the time.

In a tribute, a spokesman for Belvedere Infant and Junior School said: “Alex and Max were truly wonderful members of our school community and we will remember them with great affection and love.

Maximus, aged seven (Image: Centre County Reportpolitan Police)

“They were loving and caring boys who were really hungry to learn.

“Both were star students and it was clear they were each other’s best friends.


“You will be greatly missed by students and staff alike and will always be part of our hearts at the Belvedere.”

Investigators are looking for no one else in connection with the investigation.

Nadja De Jager’s body was discovered alongside her sons (Image: UkNewsinPictures)

An inquest into all three deaths was opened and adjourned during a five-minute hearing at Croydon Coroner’s Court this morning.

Chief South London Coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe told the hearing: “There is a police inquiry into all three deaths. Proceedings in this case are essentially adjourned.”

It is expected to be completed in six months.

Once this is done, a decision will be made as to whether a full investigation needs to take place.


Get in touch with our messaging team by emailing us at [email protected] County

For more stories like this, Visit our news page.

Continue Reading

Latest News

WhatsApp to rival Zoom with its new eight person video call feature




You can host video calls with up to 8 people (Image: Meta)

WhatsApp is branching out from a humble messaging app to compete with video conferencing giant Zoom with a dedicated Windows app.

On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced a brand new Windows desktop app for WhatsApp, allowing users to host group calls on their computers.

Now users can host video calls up to 8 people and audio calls up to 32 people. While that’s nowhere near the 100-person capacity offered by Zoom, WhatsApp has promised to keep increasing those limits over time.

Group video calling has been around on WhatsApp’s mobile app for a while. This update is part of a renewed effort by Meta to improve WhatsApp’s desktop clients

“The new Windows desktop app loads faster and has an interface familiar to WhatsApp and Windows users,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

The Meta-owned messaging service has also launched a new WhatsApp beta experience for Android tablets and a new, faster app for Mac desktops, which is currently in early beta.


Whatsapp launched last month “the most important feature” requested by users with “status reactions”. It also announced updates to its iOS app, allowing users to multitask on video calls.

MORE : Matt Hancock calls leaking WhatsApp messages ‘massive breach of trust’

MORE : Why Disabling Your Blue WhatsApp Ticks Could Help Your Mental Health — And Improve Your Dating Life


Continue Reading

Latest News

Ukrainian children ‘taken by Russia’ hug after returning from ‘camps’




To view this video, please enable JavaScript and consider upgrading to a web browser that allows it
supports HTML5 video

A group of kidnapped Ukrainian children held in Russian camps have been freed.

The 17 youths were taken to Crimea when Russian troops took over their towns.

They said they were told their families had abandoned them and were beaten with iron bars if they spoke out Ukraine.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen praised the release of the children, which was organized by the NGO save Ukraine.


She said: “It’s a terrifying reminder of the darkest times in our history what’s happening there to deport children. This is a war crime.”

More than 16,000 Ukrainian youths have been kidnapped since the Kremlin invasion.

The International Criminal Court has accused Russia of trying to “re-educate” the children, which included using threats of violence as punishment.

One teenager said he was told: ‘We’ll take you to a boarding school, you’ll sit there and you’ll understand everything.

Inessa meets her son Vitaly after the bus that is taking him and more than a dozen other children back (Image: Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP)
Denys Zaporozhchenko and his 10-year-old son hug (Image: Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP)

“One girl was hit on her back, she had a big bruise on her back where the pole was.

“We were sitting in the hall and someone shouted: ‘Honour to Ukraine!’


“They were taken away. But I don’t know what happened to him.’

Taisa, 15, described the intense political indoctrination.

She said: “If we didn’t sing the (Russian) national anthem, they forced us to write a statement. We were shown Putin’s speech over the New Year.’

Children were seen running into their parents’ arms after arriving in Kiev.

Taya Volynska (R), 15, and Yevheniya Kondratieva (L), 15, speak to journalists after the bus that brought them and more than a dozen other children back from Russian-occupied territory arrived in Kiev (Image: Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP)

Denys Zaporozhchenko hugged three of his children who were among the 17 returnees.

The father last saw his children in Cherson in October – when they left for the Russian summer camp.


He sent his children to Crimea, expecting fierce fighting in the region and thinking that this was the lesser evil.

He told AFP: “Russian officials have promised to send them to these camps for a minute or two.

“By the time we realized we shouldn’t have let her go, it was too late.”

His 11-year-old daughter Yana said: “Everything was like in normal camps”, but the camp officials “made us sing and dance when the inspectors came from Moscow”.

Denys Zaporozhchenko meets his children Nikita, Yana and Dayana (Image: Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP)

One mother, Inesda Vertosh, said her son was unwilling to talk about his experiences in the camp.

‘He looks at me and says, ‘Mom, I don’t want to tell you, you wouldn’t sleep at night.’


Myroslava Kharchenko, a lawyer working for Save Ukraine, said families are often pressured.

She said: “(Russian officials) told the parents that they have an hour to think and that if the Ukrainians get there earlier, they will bring American mercenaries who will beat and rape the children.”

Russia insists on saving Ukrainian children from horrors of war.

A week ago the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, accusing him of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

The warrant aims to bring him before a tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for alleged trafficking in Ukrainian children from the occupied territories to Russia.


Reports from the United Nations and several human rights organizations have described a “vast network” of detention centers and convoys in which civilians are being systematically driven from their homes by invading Russian soldiers.

Allegations include children, the elderly and people with disabilities who have been separated from their families, and inmates who have been beaten, electrocuted and threatened with execution.

Get in touch with our messaging team by emailing us at [email protected] County

For more stories like this, Visit our news page.


Continue Reading