The justice secretary, Liz Truss, has set up an emergency review to discover the quickest way to prevent perpetrators of domestic abuse from directly cross-examining their victims within the family court system. The family courts currently lag behind the criminal courts where such practice is outlawed.
A senior Ministry of Justice source said: “This is a matter we are extremely concerned about and looking at as a matter of urgency.”
Research by the all-party parliamentary group on domestic violence found that 55% of women had no access to special measures in the family courts, where 70% of separation and child contact cases involve some form of domestic violence.
Women’s Aid have been campaigning on this issue for some time, and you can read their CEO, Polly Neate’s response to the review here. The Women’s Aid petition and campaign is still running. They are calling on the Government, all family courts professionals, and involved agencies to make the family court process safer for women and children survivors of domestic abuse. You can sign their petition here or use the hashtag #childfirst on social media to raise awareness.