Women’s Aid responds to Ministry of Justice mediation proposals
Lucy Hadley, Head of Policy at Women’s Aid said:
“Too often, we hear that the family courts’ chronic misunderstanding and minimising of domestic abuse is the reason why survivors don’t feel confident to disclose abuse in the first place. Survivors frequently fear they will be accused of parental alienation – a tactic perpetrators often use to accuse women of attempting to drive an emotional wedge between them and their children – if they raise domestic abuse.
“This lack of disclosure means the proposed exclusion of domestic abuse cases from mediation will not always work, and we fear that women will be re-traumatised by mediation with their perpetrators.
“We already hear from women who have experienced abuse and are pushed down the mediation route – despite the fact they are experiencing post-separation abuse and control. If mediators don’t have a thorough understanding of domestic abuse – or even know abuse is a factor in a case – these processes will ignore unequal power dynamics, exacerbating the abuse women experience and putting them at further risk.
“We urgently need clarity on how the Ministry of Justice will ensure that all domestic abuse survivors will be kept safe, and allegations of abuse will be properly investigated through fact finding hearings.”