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Improving the family court response to domestic abuse

Date:16 DEC 2021
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The Domestic Abuse Commissioner has published proposals for mechanism, within the office of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, in partnership with the Victims' Commissioner, to monitor and report on domestic abuse in private law children proceedings.

The report says: "The mechanism will help to ensure that the family justice system has a culture of safety and protection from harm, where: children’s needs and the impact of domestic abuse are central considerations; survivors feel able to raise domestic abuse; and children and survivors of domestic abuse feel listened to and respected."

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The aims of the mechanism are as follows:

1. Increase understanding, transparency and accountability within the family court on how: allegations of domestic abuse, and children and survivors, are treated; and the longer-term impact on survivors and children.

2. Lead to more consistent and effective application of the key relevant Practice Directions and new Domestic Abuse Act measures, within each court area, and across all court areas.

3. Ensure children and survivors of domestic abuse can feed back on their experiences, and that this feedback is acted upon.

4. Ensure the particular barriers faced by Black and minority ethnic, Deaf and disabled and LGBTQ+ survivors are better understood and addressed, and achieve a better understanding of the different barriers male and female survivors face.

5. The findings and learning from the mechanism inform the private law reform programme, and emerging lessons learnt from the relevant family justice pilots are drawn out and shared.

6. The increased information and understanding from the mechanism, including dissemination of best practice, helps to ensure that all family court professionals have the training and support they need to make the safest possible decisions.

The full report can be read here.