Ministry of Justice Launches Call for Evidence from Domestic Abuse Survivors

If you read our recent blog post, you’ll already be aware of the enormous difficulties the women that we help face in the family courts after leaving their abusive partner. The system often leaves these survivors feeling the effects of abuse twice over, both from their ex partners and from the people who are supposed to protect them.

MIN recognised that this had to be changed, and now the Ministry of Justice has, too.

A government call for evidence was launched in July as the first step in investigating the safeguarding of children where there is a risk of domestic abuse. This comes off the back of the Government’s Domestic Abuse Consultation where concerns were raised particularly in regards to the use of ‘barring orders’- “court orders which can prevent abusive parents from making further court applications that often serve to simply re-traumatise their victims”, according to the government website.

This call for evidence will be crucial to ensuring that the voices of families, who have suffered incomparably through the ignorance and mismanagement surrounding their cases, will be heard. This presents a real opportunity for change.

Justice Minister Paul Maynard commented:

“Domestic abuse destroys lives, which is why survivors and their children must have every confidence that they will be protected in the family courts. Just this week we introduced legislation that will ban abusers from cross-examining their victims in the family courts, and throughout our review we will be engaging with victims across the country to make sure we are doing all we can to protect them further.”

This shows promise for change, but also brings attention to the powerful injustices so many have already faced. How much trauma has already been caused in the family courts through the cross-examination of victims by their abusive partners? How is this only being changed now?

This review will also specifically focus on looking to better understand the range of strategies used in coercive control, and the government’s new Domestic Abuse Bill will also introduce the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse, which will include economic abuse. This is a massive step in acknowledging coercive control and the many factors associated with it. MIN hopes that this will help to raise awareness and understanding around emotional abuse so that more people can recognise themselves in the dangerous situation of a non-physical abusive relationship, and seek the help that they need.

The call for evidence will close on 26th August. To find out more, go to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/domestic-abuse-survivors-invited-to-shape-future-of-family-court