Comment: MoJ Expert Panel’s report on harm in family courts

Commenting on the Ministry of Justice Expert Panel’s report on Harm in the Family Courts Sara Tough, Chair of the ADCS Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, said:

“Children and families who have experienced or live with domestic abuse both need and deserve proper protection and support. This report provides important insights into the family courts and the systemic issues that can mean child and adult victims of domestic abuse are not always protected from further harm, in private law proceedings. While the Panel heard evidence of some good practice and positive outcomes, it also found a system under increased pressure, lacking the resources it needs to effectively identify and respond to domestic abuse. Other issues include children’s voices going unheard, allegations being minimised or ignored and victims being retraumatised through cross examination or repeatedly being taken back to court by perpetrators.

“The report places a welcome spotlight on domestic abuse and the experiences of victims, and the Panel suggests ways to improve the system. Amongst the recommendations for change is a call for additional investment in perpetrator programmes and specialist support services which will benefit children experiencing domestic abuse and their families.

“Domestic abuse affects millions of men and women each year and it remains the most common reason children and families come to the attention of children’s social care. It can have a devastating and long-term impact on children’s lives and outcomes. ADCS is concerned that the Domestic Abuse Bill in its current form does not reflect the scale, reach and severity of this issue and the funding package on offer falls far short of what is needed to turn the tide on this epidemic. There needs to be greater focus on children’s rights and needs and early support for victims and perpetrators to prevent domestic abuse occurring in the first place. Covid-19 is exacerbating issues many children and families face, such as parental conflict and domestic abuse, therefore, tackling this issue has never been more important or urgent.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
CORONAVIRUS 46 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE 24

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