An expert review of how the family courts currently handle domestic abuse has raised concerns that victims and children are being placed at unnecessary risk. The review has identified that the adversarial approach of the Court can increase conflict and expose parties and children to the risk of further trauma.
The government has, therefore, announced an overhaul of the system as part of a series of steps and ongoing reviews aimed at protecting the most vulnerable. Special protections will be more widely available in court. There will be separate entrances, waiting rooms and protective screens to shield victims from abusers at Court. There will also be stronger powers for judges to prevent abusers repeatedly bringing a victim back to court.
The reforms also include a new approach to how the courts hear cases, through a new investigative approach – rather than the existing adversarial approach. This means that the Court focuses on getting to the root of the problem and making sure everyone is safe and evidence is given on an equal footing. This is going to be trialled in the Integrated Domestic Abuse Courts pilot, which consider family and criminal matters together to provide more consistent support for victims.
If you need advice about domestic abuse, divorce, dissolution, or separation, give Celia or Sam a call on 01752 222211.