Perthshire domestic abuse survivor Nicola Murray has spoken of the “emotional” moment she found out that her proposed new law to protect women who suffer miscarriages as a result of domestic violence had made the next stage.
The brainchild of Nicola Murray, ‘Brodie’s Law’ was given the support by members of the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee on Wednesday to take it one step closer to reality.
Nicola will be called on to give further evidence to the committee in due course to support her cause.
Nicola, from Stanley, suffered three tragic miscarriages as a result of abuse, leading to the creation of women support group Brodie’s Trust.
Then Nicola set up a petition last year to introduce an Unborn Victims of Violence Act – or ‘Brodie’s Law’ – to create a specific offense to “enable the judiciary to adequately prosecute perpetrators”.
Nicola said: “On February 2 my petition was discussed for the second time by the Scottish Parliament Citizen Participation Committee.
“I am very pleased that the committee has decided to support the petition going through to the evidence gathering stage, I will be invited to give evidence to the committee.
“I am optimistic that the legislation will be passed.
“And the committee recognized the high risk of harm to pregnant women and girls within the context of domestic abuse.
“This is the fruit of three years of campaigning and it is quite emotional.”
The positive news comes as Police Scotland was reported to the UK’s equality watchdog after an assistant chief constable made remarks relating to Nicola’s decision to cut ties between Brodie’s Trust and the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Center in September.
The move was over comments made by chief executive Mridul Wadhwa, a former SNP parliamentary candidate and a trans woman, who said victims of sexual violence should be expected to be “challenged on their prejudices” if they expressed “bigoted” views. She later issued a partial retraction.
Ms Murray had posted a message on Twitter describing the remarks as “deeply concerning” and said she would no longer signpost women to the centre.
Adding: “We are a women-only service run by women for women and will not be intimidated into changing our stance on this matter.”
Murray says officers turned up at her home the following month and told her they wanted to “ascertain her thinking” behind the tweet, despite acknowledging that no crime had been committed.
The complaint submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) by campaign group Fair Play for Women claims the remarks places Police Scotland in breach of a legal obligation to “promote understanding” between protected groups, which include trans people and women under the Equality Act.
In the statement defending the force’s actions, assistant chief constable Gary Ritchie said that “hate crime and discrimination of any kind is deplorable and entirely unacceptable”.
Commenting in support of Ms Murray, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser said: “I was very concerned to hear from my constituent Nicola Murray that she had been visited by the police and told that they were there to ascertain what her thinking was behind a statement she made on social media.
“There are serious questions for the police to answer here about their actions.
“This is not yet a police state where a person can be investigated for having the ‘wrong’ opinion.”
Brodie’s Trust can be found at: www.facebook.com/brodiestrust
To contact Perthshire Women’s Aid, visit the following website: www.perthwomensaid.org.uk/ or call 01738 635404.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.