Parliamentarians launch all-party group to tackle ‘get’ refusal

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Parliamentarians launch all-party group to tackle ‘get’ refusal

Caroline Moher, the estranged wife of Alan Moher who was jailed for domestic abuse last month — and who has still not granted her Jewish divorce — was a guest at the group launch.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Caroline Moher arrives at Southwark Crown Court on 1 April, 2022.
Caroline Moher arrives at Southwark Crown Court on 1 April, 2022.

MPs have launched an all-party group on get refusal in the wake of a high-profile case in which a recalcitrant husband was jailed for refusing his wife a Jewish religious divorce.

Caroline Moher, the estranged wife of Alan Moher who went to prison for domestic abuse last month — and who has still not granted her a get, or Jewish divorce — was the first guest at the launch on Friday.

The all-party group was set up, parliamentarians say, from “the need to protect Jewish women from faith-based domestic abuse in the form of get refusal during the passage of the Domestic Abuse Act”.

Its co-chairs will be two non-Jewish MPs, Conservative Nickie Aiken and Labour’s Karen Buck, with officers including founding members Charlotte Nichols MP, Ruth Cadbury MP, Alex Davies-Jones MP, Peter Gibson MP and Apsana Begum MP, Baroness Altmann, Lord Austin, Baroness Deech, Lord Palmer of Childs Hill, Baroness Thornton, and Lord Walney.

Those behind the establishment of the APPG say it will “raise awareness and promote the needs of women trapped in Jewish religious marriage and to promote their interests, and seek to encourage the exchange of knowledge and understanding between Parliament and all relevant stakeholders and promote policies to address these needs”.

Claire Waxman, London Victims’ Commissioner and officials from the Home Office, heard “powerful and compelling testimony” from Mrs Moher.

Leaders of the APPG said they were “deeply shocked at her appalling abusive and criminal treatment at the hands of someone who is serving a custodial sentence for domestic abuse including by means of coercive control”. They were also “very disappointed with the progress in her achieving a get particularly given the circumstances of the abuse. The Parliamentarians undertook to design a work programme to ensure they can provide Caroline and others like her with as much support and assistance as they could”.

Nickie Aiken MP 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. The discussion and debate that the APPG will initiate and encourage sends a message to abusers and the Jewish community more widely that get refusal is not to be tolerated or enabled”.

Karen Buck MP 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”.

Lord Mendelsohn, who helped to initiate amendments to the Domestic Abuse Act during its passage through the House of Lords, said: “The establishment of the APPG is an important step forward in making progress to recognise the rights and concerns of Jewish women. There is much work to be done, but this demonstrates that the direction of travel is clear, and that there will a permanent home to monitor what’s going on and press for progress”.

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