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Sweeping reforms to keep victims of domestic abuse safe

Sweeping reforms to keep victims of domestic abuse safe

Survivors of domestic abuse and their children will receive greater protections after the government announced on 25 June an overhaul of how family courts deal with domestic violence, following concerns that the most vulnerable were being put at unnecessary risk.

The review, conducted by The Ministry of Justice in conjunction with an expert panel made up of representatives including charities, the judiciary, family law practitioners, academia and most significantly domestic abuse survivors, laid “bare many hard truths about long-standing failings.” The review concluded that a major overhaul of how victims of domestic abuse are dealt with in Family Courts was necessary to keep victims and their children safe.

Providing a safe environment

The reforms will protect victims and pursue perpetrators more than ever before. The three main changes to the current systems are:

  • Domestic Violence victims will have separate access to court buildings, and separate waiting rooms, to avoid having to cross paths with the alleged abuser
  • They will have use of protective screens to shield them from their alleged abuser during the court hearings
  • Judges will more easily be able to issue barring orders preventing abusive ex-partners from repeatedly dragging their victims back to court

In addition, a further review will be launched shortly into the presumption of ‘parental involvement’. This presumption encourages a child’s relationship with both parents, unless it is considered that the involvement of a parent would put the child at risk. The review will examine whether the right balance is being struck between the risk of harm to children and victims, and the right of the child to have a relationship with both parents.

Furthermore, a ground-breaking bill was passed in the House of Commons on 7 July to protect the lives of domestic abuse victims throughout the UK. A key recommendation of the Domestic Abuse Bill is to end the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by their alleged perpetrators, something which has been welcomed by campaigners.

Delivering change

Erica Kemp, Director and Head of Family Law, explains more. “We are delighted to see this report published in time to implement its recommendations through the Domestic Abuse Bill. We look forward to seeing the changes implemented quickly, so that the courts can deliver a system which to better protects the survivors of domestic abuse and their children.”

Erica continues. “The reforms will ensure a more investigative, problem-solving approach within family court proceedings with emphasis placed on getting to the root of an issue and ensuring all parties are safe and able to provide evidence on an equal footing – without the traumatic effects where victims are intimidated in court by an abusive ex-partner.”

Free initial meeting for support and advice

We have a vast amount of experience in both domestic abuse and family matters and offer a free 30-minute appointment where we can support and guide you in the right direction. And thanks to our network of offices covering Leamington, Coventry, Nuneaton and Southam we are very accessible too. For timely and quality advice, please contact Erica Kemp, Director and Head of Family Law at Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd on 01926 356045 or email erica.kemp@alsterskelley.com

 

 


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

With effect from Monday 15th June

We continue to remain open for business. Following recent updates to the Government guidelines, clients with effect from Monday 15th June will be able to attend our offices.

Please note this will be by appointment only and these must be booked in advance to ensure we are able to maintain social distancing measures.

To make an appointment please call any one of our offices: Leamington Spa 01926 356000, Coventry 02477 710200, Nuneaton 02477 710000 or Southam 01926 359355.

Alternatively, if you prefer then please email enquiries@alsterskelley.com

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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