All-Party Parliamentary Group 2016 Report: Domestic Abuse, Child Contact and the Family Courts. In April 2016, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Domestic Violence launched its report highlighting the urgent need for an end to cross-examination of survivors of domestic abuse by their abuser in the family court. The report is the result of a Parliamentary Hearing in January 2016 about the treatment of cases involving domestic abuse in the family courts. The APPG launched the inquiry after becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of women and child survivors of domestic abuse within the family courts.
The report concluded the APPG’s Inquiry into domestic and sexual violence service provision, which received both written and oral evidence from over 60 organisations and more than 100 survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The report highlightskey areas of concern relating to the experiences of survivors of domestic abuse in the family courts:
- A need to ensure safe child contact, not contact ‘at any cost’.
- Access to Legal Aid and Litigants in Person.
- A lack of access to special measures in family courts.
- Implementing Practice Direction 12J – Child Arrangements and Contact Orders: Domestic Violence and Harm.
- Understanding the impact of domestic abuse on children.
- Specialist domestic violence training throughout the family court judiciary.
- The role of child contact centres in supervised and non-supervised contact.
- A presumption that the father is competent to provide safe and appropriate care and parenting despite their abusive behaviour and assessing the risk a perpetrator of domestic abuse poses to their child.