A number of bodies have called for the law to be reformed so that alleged abusers cannot cross-examine women in family cases. Research by Women’s Aid and Queen Mary University of London found that 24% of victims surveyed have been cross examined by an abusive former partner in Contact Hearings.
The chief executive of Women’s Aid Katie Ghose has said “We know that perpetrators of domestic abuse are using the family courts to continue to control and abuse victims and the family courts’ failure consistently to safeguard survivors during the court process is enabling that abuse. Enough is enough.
It is a matter of urgency that government bans the unacceptable practice of the cross-examination of victims by abusers in the family courts.”
Penny Scott chair of the Law Society Family Law Committee says “It is unacceptable that our court system can be used to perpetuate abuse. We told the government that removing legal aid would result in survivors of unassisted in the family court, but this warning went unheeded.”
Phillip Scott of Resolution says “By not putting an end to the injustice, more victims are suffering needlessly each day.”
This type of questioning was to be banned under the Prison and Courts Bill but unfortunately, that bill was never enacted because of the 2017 general election.
No further legislation has been bought forward at this time.
Campions Solictors practicing Family Law in Nottingham and Family Law in Derby