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‘Courts not following law and procedure in domestic violence child contact cases’

Unsupervised contact routinely given to abusive fathers, says Rights of Women

A research report recently published by Rights of Women and CWASUPicking up the pieces – explores the experiences of women and legal professionals in London of the law, policy and practice in child contact proceedings involving women and their violent ex-partners.

Rights of Women says that the research reveals negative experiences of the family justice system's response to domestic violence. These include failures by the courts to investigate allegations of domestic violence, the tendency of courts and other professionals to minimise the known harm domestic violence can have on children and a trend of court approved contact with violent fathers that is unsafe for children and their mothers.

The report found that:

The report makes the following recommendations:

o the presence and extent of domestic violence (rather than allegations of harm) in private family law proceedings;
o whether or not finding of fact hearings are held where there are allegations of domestic violence;
o reasons for not holding finding of fact hearings where there are allegations of domestic violence. 

The full report can be accessed here.