Family Courts: Domestic Violence

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th February 2018.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to tackle the use of the family courts system by perpetrators of domestic abuse as a tool for continuing their abuse.

Photo of Phillip Lee Phillip Lee The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

It is unacceptable for someone to use court processes to harass or abuse a former partner. The family court has wide powers to manage such situations.

New family court rules were introduced last November to make sure vulnerable court users get the support they need in the courtroom. Training for judges, on this and other matters, is the responsibility of the Lord Chief Justice and is carried out by the Judicial College. At the specific request of the President of the Family Division every family judge in England and Wales will have received training on how to address the challenges faced by vulnerable people in the courts by April 2018. Issues of domestic abuse are regularly addressed on an ongoing basis as part of the training for family judges.

The Government is also committed to legislating to give family courts the power to stop abusers from cross-examining their victims in person in family proceedings.

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