The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 was enacted in April this year, bringing hope for victims of domestic abuse. Jewish organisations were consulted in the drafting of the law to ensure that the definitions within the legislation covered Get refusal (withholding the Jewish divorce). It was disappointing to read that the Federation of Synagogues has warned that it would refuse to approve a Get for any woman who initiated a criminal prosecution against her husband for “coercive and controlling behaviour” under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Under Jewish law, a Get has to be given of free will.
Here's hoping that the Federation finds a way around this within Jewish law, and fast!
The Federation of Synagogues issued a new statement this week saying that “with mutual respect and creativity” they were exploring ways in which the law could be “applied and developed to further assist in achieving halachically valid gittin for even the most challenging situations”. The Federation was “optimistic that this collaboration can achieve positive results”. Lord Mendelsohn and Baroness Altmann “warmly welcomed” the new discussions with the Federation rabbis, and said that the new APPG would be “an excellent forum” for the rabbis to work with. Lord Mendelsohn told the JC: “This statement is a very welcome new approach and everyone will be delighted to engage constructively with them. “There is an important task ahead to bridge the expanding divergence between the development and use of UK civil and criminal law, and Halacha as it is applied at the moment.