Child First: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives

Child First: Safe child contact saves lives

Help us stop avoidable child deaths and make sure children are put first in the family courts.


We have had a major success – the first ever parliamentary debate on the Child First Campaign has been secured and takes place in the House of Commons on Thursday 15 September 2016.

This will be a crucial opportunity to press the government to ensure there are no further avoidable child deaths as a result of unsafe child contact, and to make the courts a safe place for all children and survivors of domestic abuse.

Claire Throssell’s MP, Angela Smith, will lead the debate. The stories of Claire’s two sons, Jack, 12 and Paul, 9, who were both killed by their father, a known perpetrator of domestic abuse, will be told in Parliament for the very first time.

Please write to your MP to ask them to attend to attend and speak in the debate at 11.30am on Thursday 15 September. Find out who your MP is here.

What are we calling for?

We are calling on the Government, all family courts professionals, and involved agencies to make the family court process safer for women and children survivors of domestic abuse.

Join our the Child First campaign today and help us to ensure that children are always put at the heart of contact decisions made by the family courts.

Sign the petition below and use #ChildFirst to help us spread the word. Together we can put an end to unsafe child contact.

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Sign the petition

Call on the Secretary of State for Justice and district judges to take action.

Child First report cover web

Download report

“In another ten years, we must not yet again be repeating the same investigation, with the same findings.” Polly Neate

Houses of Parliament

Contact your MP

Ask your MP to pledge their support for the Child First campaign.

Why now?

We have launched the Child First campaign to stop avoidable child deaths as a result of unsafe child contact with dangerous perpetrators of domestic violence.

Survivors of domestic abuse frequently tell us that they can be re-victimised and traumatised by their abusers, even after separation, through the family court process.

“The family court was an arena for him to continue his abuse on a much more damaging scale. I wasn’t heard or listened too. My children have suffered drastically as a result.” – Survivor

Our campaign report, Nineteen Child Homicides, highlights the tragic stories of 19 children and 2 women in 12 families that were killed by perpetrators of domestic abuse in circumstances related to unsafe child contact within a ten year period. It’s possible that these deaths could have been prevented if the domestic abuse had been considered as an ongoing risk factor.

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Research & key statistics

View and share our infographics that support the campaign.

Survivor Claire Throssell with her two sons

Read Claire’s story

Survivor Claire Throssell’s two sons were both killed by their father, a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.

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Children & the law

The Rights for Women website has information on children and the law and the family court process.

Claire’s story

Survivor Claire Throssell with her two sonsSurvivor Claire Throssell’s two sons, Jack, 12, and Paul, 9, were both killed by their father, a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.

“There are many reasons why I have decided to support this worthy campaign. Having experienced the judicial process and its protocols, the tragic outcome that occurred whilst court proceedings were still ongoing highlights and expose flaws and malpractice within family law. This malpractice ultimately can and does destroy people’s lives.”

“Attending court is an emotional, frightening and at times a traumatic experience which nobody decides to initiate lightly – but does so to protect their children’s physical and emotional wellbeing.”

“No parent should have to hold their children and comfort them as they die or be told that their child has been harmed in an act of revenge or rage.  There are often many facets to one family’s breakdown, and all too often children’s voices are not heard or acted upon.”

Claire Throssell on bbc breakfastChild First Media Coverage

Read the latest articles, interviews, blogs, press releases and tweets from the campaign.

Learn more

Further information & support

Whilst the cases featured in Nineteen Child Homicides are truly shocking, it is important to note that these extreme cases are very rare, and that there is advice and support out there for anyone wishing to leave an abusive relationship or anyone who has concerns around child contact.

If you have any concerns about your safety, or that of anyone you know, please contact the police on 999 in an emergency or call the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership with Refuge): 0808 2000 247

Learn more about our campaigning work

Contact our press office

© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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