In January 2021 I live tweeted the first conjoined domestic abuse appeal in twenty years. It was related to how the Family Court handles allegations of domestic abuse. My attendance was funded thanks to a crowdfunder organised by Scutiny. The background shared was as follows:
Increasingly fierce criticism of the way the family justice system deals with domestic abuse is now being being voiced in parliament, in the press and in public demonstrations.
Parents alleging domestic abuse and seeking the protection of the court protest that family judges dismiss their evidence of violence and rape, fail to grasp the dynamics or dangers of coercive control, and even when abuse is proved, regularly order contact with a risky ex-partner that puts young children in harm’s way.
Meanwhile, the parents who find themselves accused of domestic abuse are not entitled to legal aid, and many struggle to afford legal representation to put their case and fight for a relationship with their children.
On 19 January 2021, for the very first time, four private family law cases in which women say their allegations of domestic abuse were dealt with both unlawfully and appallingly by family judges will link their cases together in a joint challenge in the Court of Appeal.
This linked appeal is a chance for the country’s most senior judges to consider whether our laws and guidance on how domestic abuse should be recognised and dealt with in terms safe contact is in fact being applied in family courts up and down the land.
You can read my reflections on the experience in the blog below. You can find links straight to the relevant tweet threads in the links section at the bottom.