Stop the criminalisation of poverty!

by Civil Liberties Trust in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Stop the criminalisation of poverty!
We did it
On 12th April 2024 we successfully raised £19,814 ( + est. £3860.75 Gift Aid ) with 734 supporters in 35 days

Liberty is fighting public authorities' shocking criminalisation of poverty.

by Civil Liberties Trust in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

We'll use the money we raise to take our campaign to the next level!

Liberty is raising £18,000 to fight authorities’ shocking attempts to criminalise poverty in the UK.

Donate now to protect the rights of people really struggling during this cost-of-living crisis. 


A dangerous attack on people experiencing poverty

Any one of us could fall on hard times, and we want to know that if we or our loved ones need support, it will be there for us.

But as the cost of living skyrockets, the Government, police, and local authorities are punishing people who are struggling to make ends meet.

  • The Government’s shocking Criminal Justice Bill will create expansive new offences of ‘nuisance begging’ and ‘nuisance rough sleeping’ – giving police more powers to crack down on people just trying to survive on the streets.
  • Police and local councils are using Community Protection Notices (CPNs) to stop people who are experiencing extreme poverty asking passersby for help.
  • The police are using ‘dispersal powers’ to force people sleeping rough to leave an area for up to 48 hours.
  • Local councils are using Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to ban rough sleeping and begging in their towns.
  • Police are using facial recognition tech to identify and track down people having to shoplift essentials. 

Thanks to these policies and practices, people are being fined, driven into debt, and even imprisoned – just for seeking support when they need it most.

You can’t punish people out of poverty. Criminalisation only makes the problems worse by stopping people from getting the support they need.

We need to stop attacks on the basic rights of people in poverty.


This is an emergency

Years of austerity and cuts to public services have caused poverty rates to spiral. The latest figures show an alarming 27% rise in rough sleeping. There is a cost-of-living emergency and those in power are failing to do the basics – making sure everyone has a decent home and enough to live on.

Authorities should address the root causes of poverty – like low pay, insecure housing, and a lack of crucial support. But instead, they are trying to hide their failures by attacking people for seeking help and violating their human rights.

We don’t want this, and this isn’t who we are. 

We need to stop these horrendous measures and demand a society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.


How we fight back

We’re fighting hard to protect the rights of people experiencing poverty and homelessness:

  • fighting the Criminal Justice Bill and seeking to remove its very worst proposals
  • taking legal action against police and local authorities when they use powers to criminalise homelessness
  • empowering individuals, communities and frontline organisations to challenge powers like CPNs
  • producing detailed guidance in print, online and by telephone to give people the knowledge they need to resist the criminalisation of poverty.

We know that we can win.

A mass public campaign forced the Government to denounce the cruel ‘Vagrancy Act’ in 2022. And Liberty has a strong track record of stopping police and councils when they use powers to target people experiencing homelessness.

Together, we will stop their cruelty and address the root causes of poverty.

But this work takes time and money. Here’s how your donation could help:

  • If 25 people give £20, we can print 500 ‘bust cards’ with crucial information for those at risk of being targeted by police and local authorities
  • If 10 people give £30, we can produce a written briefing for MPs and Peers on the dangers of the Government’s Criminal Justice Bill
  • If 20 people give £50, we can hold an in-person event in Parliament to build support for our campaign.

Every single donation, of any size, helps to resist the criminalisation of poverty across the UK – donate now and help us win this fight.

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