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Grants given to support victims of domestic abuse in family courts

Personal Support Unit and Citizens Advice Witness Service share £900K

The government has awarded £900,000 to organisations based in some family courts to provide in-court support to victims of domestic abuse.

In the draft Domestic Abuse Bill and consultation response published on 21 January 2019, government announced its intention to improve support for victims of domestic abuse who are going through family court proceedings.
The Ministry of Justice has now announced that it has awarded a grant of just under £900,000 to two organisations who provide in-court support to vulnerable victims: the Personal Support Unit (PSU) and the Citizens Advice Witness Service.

PSU has been supporting litigants in person in family courts since 2001 and Citizens Advice has been supporting witnesses in criminal court proceedings since 2015. They both have extensive front-line experience of helping victims and witnesses navigate court processes and feel safe at court.

Citizens Advice will be using the funding to extend their current Witness Service to selected family courts to provide information and practical and emotional support to victims before, during and after the day of the hearing. PSU will be using the funding to invest in further training of their staff and volunteers and to share learnings on best practice with a range of family justice stakeholders.

The funding runs from January 2019 to 31 March 2020, and will allow Citizens Advice to provide these services in up to twelve family courts across England and PSU in twenty-four courts across England and Wales.