Family courts ‘ignoring needs of domestic violence victims’

Date: 4th December 2012
Category: Equal protection from violence

Female victims of domestic violence in the UK are frequently put in unsafe and intimidating positions during family court proceedings, according to a new report by legal rights charity, Rights of Women.

Children's safety is compromised due to rulings that do not fully appreciate potential risks, according to the report.

The report finds that there is a lack of understanding of domestic violence among judges, in some cases with women advised "to be seen as being reasonable and not obstructive" about custody, with one domestic violence victim saying: "[t]hey [judges] think the offender is only a risk to the mother - but that's entirely misguided."

In response to the findings, Rights of Women issued a series of recommendations including:

  • the provision of better special facilities such as screens in court and separate waiting rooms;
  • more data recording on instances of domestic violence in the family courts;
  • the flagging of domestic abuse on family court databases; and
  • domestic violence training for all legal professionals including judges.
  • Read the full report here.