“What about my right not to be abused?”
Domestic abuse, human rights and the family courts
This report, created in partnership with Queen Mary University of London, looks at domestic abuse and child contact proceedings in the family courts through the lens of human rights. It is based on the testimonies of 72 women survivors living in England. It uncovers a glaring gender gap in the way human rights are used and understood in the family courts. It also highlights a clear lack of understanding of the dynamics of domestic abuse, and new evidence of gender discrimination within the institutional culture of the courts.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
• An independent inquiry into the handling of domestic abuse by the family courts.
• Improved education and awareness raising on domestic abuse, human rights, theories of ‘parental alienation’ and equality for all professionals involved in child contact cases.
• Ban cross-examination in family courts of survivors by their abusive former partners.
• Guarantee special measures for survivors of domestic abuse in the family courts.
• Better, empowering support for survivors of domestic abuse.
• Take a safer approach to unsupervised contact.