Women’s Aid responds to Ministry of Justice reversal of plans on making mediation in family courts compulsory


Lucy Hadley, head of policy at Women’s Aid, comments:

“Women’s Aid had warned that proposals to make mediation mandatory in family courts would put the safety of survivors of domestic abuse at risk so a reversal of plans on this dangerous policy is very welcome. Abuse does not end when the relationship ends and separation is an intensely dangerous time for women and children. For many survivors, domestic abuse escalates within the family courts and compulsory mediation would have given perpetrators increased power and tools to abuse. 

“The Ministry of Justice’s own Harm Panel report found that mediation can increase unequal power relations and cause psychological harm to survivors of domestic abuse, so we are pleased to hear that the government is reversing this plan. 

“We continue to call for the government to deliver the full recommendations set out in the Harm Panel report, which found that systemic changes are needed within the family justice system’s response to domestic abuse. The expansion of the pathfinder pilots announced today is a positive step forward, as are pilots for early legal advice for families in child contact cases. But we continue to call urgently for system wide reform –  including robust training on domestic abuse for all judges, magistrates and professionals in the family courts and access to legal aid for all parties within domestic abuse cases – to deliver a safe, trauma informed family court system for survivors and children.” 


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