Family Courts: Domestic Violence

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 18th January 2017.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the contribution of 9 January 2017, Official Report, column 27, what plans her Department has to consult with (a) Women's Aid and (b) survivors of domestic abuse on the ancillary measures required to implement a ban on perpetrators of domestic abuse from directly cross-examining their victims within the family court.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Government has listened to Women’s Aid and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence who have raised their concerns about this practice. As I made clear in the House of Commons on 9 January, we are determined to improve the family justice response to vulnerable witnesses, and victims of domestic abuse in particular. Family judges have a range of powers to make sure difficult courtroom situations are handled sensitively for vulnerable witnesses, and we continue to work with the judiciary to consider what additional protections may be necessary. We are particularly concerned about the fact that unrepresented alleged perpetrators of abuse can directly cross-examine their alleged victims in family proceedings. The Justice Secretary is urgently considering how to put an end to this practice.

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