Women’s Aid responds: prohibition of cross-examination in family courts


Today, the government has enacted new provisions of the Domestic Abuse Act which prohibits cross-examination of a victim by a perpetrator in the family and civil courts. However, the provisions only apply to cases which start from today and onwards.

Isabelle Younane, head of policy, campaigns and public affairs at Women’s Aid said:

“For far too long, survivors have endured continued abuse in family courts, including through the traumatic experience of cross-examination by their perpetrators.  While we welcome that the changes promised in the Domestic Abuse Act are finally being enacted, we are disappointed that the many survivors who are already engaged in family proceedings will not benefit from the provisions brought in today.

“We know from our research that around a quarter of survivors have been cross-examined by their perpetrator, leaving them traumatised, with their access to justice undermined. Limiting the provision to cases starting from today will be a devastating blow for survivors who, throughout the passage of the Domestic Abuse Act through parliament, were promised that these provisions would be a key step in making the family courts safer and more just spaces.

“We cannot truly prioritise the safety of women and children, unless we protect all survivors.  At Women’s Aid, we will not stop campaigning until all women and children are safe.”

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