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Queen’s speech sets out legislative agenda for the year ahead

On 10 May 2022 the annual Queen's Speech set out the government's legislative agenda for the next year. This year, several pieces of prospective legislation were relevant to women and children; in particular the Online Safety Bill, Schools' Bill and Victims' Bill,

In response to the inclusion of the Online Safety Bill, which intends to put in place more regulation online, and  the Schools' Bill, which amongst other measures will target illegal and unregistered schools, the Children's Commissioner said:

"I am glad to see the Online Safety Bill carried over from the previous session. This is a major piece of legislation which will establish a new framework for regulating the digital world, resetting the contract between tech firms and their youngest users. Last year, I was jointly commissioned by the Secretary of State for Digital, Media and Culture and Secretary of State for Education to deliver recommendations for the Bill. I am glad to see many of my key asks reflected in the re-draft, including around pornography, age assurance and cyber-flashing. I will continue to follow the Bill's passage closely, ensuring that the debate remains grounded in children's rights. I will work tirelessly to put children's voices at the heart of the Bill."

"I welcome the measures to improve England's schools' system – in the Schools Bill. The Bill's introduction of a register of children not in school is important, and is something the office has called for. The register will allow for children who have fallen through the gaps in our education system to be identified and provided with the right support. I have been clear how vital it is for all children to be in school and attending consistently. That's why, I also welcome measures to tackle illegal and unregistered schools, to ensure that all children are accessing a safe and high-quality education."

Farah Nazeer, Chief Executive of Women's Aid, said in response to the Victims' Bill:

"We welcome the inclusion in the Queen's speech of the victims' bill, which is designed to improve the experience and rights of victims in the criminal justice system. We know that the rights of survivors of domestic abuse have been neglected within the justice system and survivors have not been fully informed of the support available to them.

"Women's Aid was pleased to support the consultation led by the Ministry of Justice on the victims' bill, ensuring the legislation is survivor-focused and helps as many women and children as possible to be safe."

For the full details of the Queen's Speech, click here.

For the full response from Women's Aid, click here.

For the full response from the Children's Commissioner, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers