Known for her human rights activism and writing on subjects such as atheism and feminism, Joan Smith is a columnist, critic and novelist. An Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a regular contributor to BBC radio, she has written five detective novels, two of which have been filmed by the BBC.
21 July 2013 12:13 AM
This country has a very poor record on the prevention of female genital mutilation. A new approach from the police could change that. But they need help
14 July 2013 12:00 AM
07 July 2013 12:00 AM
As British police swoop in six years on, Kate and Gerry McCann face weeks of press chatter
30 June 2013 12:00 AM
Whenever anyone sets about compiling a list of great figures in British history, Henry VIII is a cert. A few years ago, he was at number 40 in a BBC poll of 100 great Britons, and more recently he's played a leading role in Hilary Mantel's prize-winning historical novels. The final instalment of the trilogy will have to deal with Henry's decision to execute Mantel's hero, Thomas Cromwell, who was despatched on the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. She lasted less than two years before following Cromwell to the scaffold, and I'm not remotely surprised to hear that Henry has now been diagnosed as a psychopath.
23 June 2013 12:00 AM
Had the broadcaster Stuart Hall been in any doubt that he got off lightly after admitting 14 charges of indecent assault, he would have known better by the end of last week. The 15-month sentence he was given on Monday reflected the law, and the assumptions, of the period in the 1960s and 1970s when he began abusing children and teenagers. Four days later, Jeremy Forrest, the maths teacher found guilty of abducting an under-age girl, got five and a half years in total for that offence and five more (which he admitted) of sexual activity with a child.
16 June 2013 12:00 AM
Erdogan's sneer is clear to see
09 June 2013 12:00 AM
I've spent a great deal of my career writing about violence against women. The first big story I covered was the series of murders committed by the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, and since then I've tackled rape, domestic abuse, prostitution and sex trafficking. So I didn't think twice when I was approached to become co-chair of the Mayor of London's Violence Against Women and Girls Panel. It brings together numerous organisations, including the Metropolitan Police, London councils and rape crisis centres, with the ambitious aim of eliminating abuse of women in one of the world's great cities. I'm not convinced we can get rid of violence completely, but anyone who wonders why such a body is necessary should look at the up-to-date statistics for London.
26 May 2013 12:00 AM
The internet has done many wonderful things, but delivering porn to children isn't one of them. Everyone from women's groups to the Daily Mail is worried about this development, for somewhat different reasons. Now they've been joined by the Children's Commissioner, who has just published a review of the effects of pornography on teenagers and even younger children. You can get a flavour from the title, Basically… Porn is everywhere, which concludes that growing numbers of children are accessing pornographic material via smartphones and tablets.
19 May 2013 12:00 AM
Her experience is always going to be very different from a single mother being treated in an overstretched NHS hospital
12 May 2013 12:00 AM
You know those parents who can tell you exactly how old their children are? Three years and four months, they say proudly, and if you're like me you mentally round it up to three-and-half. Now it turns out they're right to be so precise, as a difference of a month or two can be measured later on in exam results.
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
- 4 Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant