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Sep 8th, 2016

A Win For Mehala

By Freya Campbell


The fulfilment of a petition can be a long and hard road, but yesterday a petition started by 38 Degrees member Mehala got a response from Parliament, and here’s what she has to say about it:

“Today’s a good day. I’ve just won my campaign to make it easier for people living in safe houses to vote. The government said they are going to make sure people who need to keep their addresses anonymous aren’t deterred from registering to vote.

I started my petition when I was living in a safe house and wanted to vote in local elections. I needed to keep my address off the electoral register to stay safe. But registering anonymously needs approval from a Police Superintendent or a Director of Social Services. Not the kinds of people I’m likely to come across.

I wasn’t able to vote this year and was devastated. Women living in safe houses have already been oppressed – if we’re not able to use our basic right to vote, it feels like we’re being oppressed all over again.

But rather than accept my fate, I decided to do something about it. I set up a petition on the 38 Degrees website – and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

When I set up the petition on my phone, changing government policy seemed a bit of a huge task. But the support has been overwhelming. 38 Degrees helped me sharpen up the petition and put me in touch with Women’s Aid, the charity that supports survivors of domestic violence. They’ve been there to support me every step of the way.

But it was when thousands of other people signed my petition that things really got exciting. I’ve been on the TV, radio and in newspapers. I met with the Electoral Commision. And then today my campaign was debated in Parliament – and we won. 

This morning on my way to pick up my child from nursery, instead of listening to Beyonce, I was listening to Parliament Live. I thought to myself, who have I become – I don’t listen to boring debates in Parliament! But to hear my campaign being debated feels incredible.

We’ll need to keep an eye out to make sure they follow through with their promise but for now, I’m delighted.” 

If there’s anything you want to change, we at 38 Degrees will be there to help in any way we can.

To start your own campaign, click the link below;

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