Many describe domestic abuse as a public health epidemic. According to the Office for National Statistics, two women every week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. This figure is said to have doubled during the lockdown period.These figures are staggering, and it is clearly important that those working with families in w...
The recent trialling of video links in the family courts has been so successful that it is set to be rolled out further across the country. This is great news for domestic abuse victims who desperately need to cut ties with a former partner but are currently forced to spend time with them to do so. Giving evidence in any court is undoubtedly a very...
The Family Court has issued new guidelines for dealing with cases issued under the Children Act 1989 concerning a child where there is an allegation of domestic harm and/or violence.
The phrase ‘domestic abuse’ is very widely defined and is not limited to physical abuse. It can include psychological, social, financial or emotional abuse and includes forced marriages or abandonment, coercive and/or controlling behaviour and ill treatment.
The Court will consider any form of domestic abuse as being potentially harmful to the child and/or where it puts a child at the risk of harm. This can include not only domestic violence directed at the child, but circumstances where the child witnesses one or both of their parents being violent or abusive to the other.
Children may also suffer direct physical or psychological and/or emotional harm living with parents who have a history of domestic abuse.
The Family Court will seek to identify any such issues at the outset of proceedings and ensure that any application made under the Children Act 1989 by a parent is conducted in such a manner as to ensure that a child is safe from exposure to such abuse.
The Court will typically not make any order before an initial ‘Welfare Report’ has been carried out. This is usually done by the reporter speaking to both parents and checking for any criminal record or past involvement of Social Services.