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Navigating a Broken System: Support and Hope for Domestic Abuse Survivors Facing Court Battles

Empowering Victims and Advocating for Change in the Legal Process



(Part II 'Tips and strategies for Abused Women facing courtroom battles' is here) As a survivor of domestic abuse, you may feel alone, overwhelmed, and even frightened when facing the court system (divorce, CAFCASS, child arrangement orders etc). We understand the challenges you're going through, and we're here to tell you that there are people and organisations working tirelessly to make the system safer and more supportive for you and your children. This might not be a quick fix, but it is one way of connecting to a wider need, cause and realisation that you are not alone!


We also provide useful links at the bottom of this article, that may be of help.


In 2020, the Ministry of Justice's Harm Panel revealed that the family court system was failing domestic abuse survivors and their children, causing further harm and trauma.


Since then, progress has been made, but it's known to be not enough.



Women's Aid, a leading organisation advocating for the rights and protection of survivors, is pushing for the implementation of the Harm Panel's recommendations to transform the family court system.


Here's what it might ease you to know about the current situation and what is being done to help you:


  1. The family court system is still failing domestic abuse survivors: Despite the enactment of the Domestic Abuse Act in 2021, the system remains under-resourced, leading to delays, cancellations, and postponements. Survivors like you continue to face challenges in court, such as being scrutinised as a parent and not being heard or believed.

  2. Women's Aid is advocating for change: Women's Aid is determined to make the family court process safer for survivors of domestic abuse. They are working closely with the government, family courts professionals, and involved agencies to ensure the Harm Panel's recommendations are implemented as soon as possible.

  3. There is support available: Women's Aid, along with other organisations like the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, Mankind and Rights of Women, offers advice and support to help you navigate the legal process. They provide resources to help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and seek professional help during this challenging time. See our links section below.

  4. Survivors' voices are being heard: Women's Aid is working with domestic abuse survivors to create vlogs that share personal experiences, research, and advice on surviving the legal process. These vlogs aim to empower you and provide guidance on how to manage the stress and trauma associated with court proceedings.

  5. Progress may be slow, but change is happening: While the road to a transformed family court system is long, every effort is being made to ensure that the rights and well-being of domestic abuse survivors and their children are protected.

As a survivor, you deserve to be heard, believed, and supported. Know that there are people and organisations, like Women's Aid, fighting for you and working to create a safer and fairer family court system.


(Part II 'Tips and strategies for Abused Women facing courtroom battles' is here)


Resources

Here are some resources we think might help you:


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