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New domestic violence cases rose by 21 per cent last quarter

Total new family cases fell by 1 per cent in quarter

In 2019, 266,059 new cases started in family courts, up 1 per cent compared to 2018. The Ministry of Justice has revealed the figures for both the full year and the quarter from October to December 2019.

In October to December 2019, 64,285 new cases started in family courts, down by less than 1 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2018. This was due to an 11 per cent decrease in adoption cases started, along with decreases in matrimonial (5 per cent), Public law and financial remedy case starts (both 2 per cent) compared to the same period last year. However, there were increases in new Domestic violence (21 per cent) and private law (5 per cent) cases started.

There were 60,086 case disposals in October to December 2019, up 9 per cent on the equivalent quarter of 2018. This was due to increases in domestic violence (34 per cent), matrimonial (15 per cent), private law (3 per cent), and financial remedy (2 per cent) cases reaching a final disposal, while there were decreases in adoption (10 per cent) and public law (7 per cent) case disposals.

On average, care proceedings took longer with fewer disposals within 26 weeks. The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 34 weeks in October to December 2019, up 2 weeks from the same quarter in 2018. 40 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down 7 percentage points compared with the same period for 2018.

The average time to first disposal throughout 2019 was 33 weeks, up 3 weeks from 2018. 41 per cent of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks, down 8 percentage points from 2018.

The mean average time from petition to Decree Nisi was 34 weeks, and Decree Absolute was 57 weeks – up 4 weeks and 1 week respectively compared to the equivalent quarter in 2018. The median time to Decree Nisi was 26 weeks and 41 weeks to Decree Absolute.

Throughout 2019 the mean time from petition to Decree Nisi was 32 weeks and 56 weeks to Decree Absolute, up 3 and 2 weeks respectively.

There were 26,958 divorce petitions filed in October to December 2019, down 5 per cent on the equivalent quarter in 2018. 39 per cent of these were digital petitions.

There were 27,595 Decree Absolutes granted in October to December 2019, an increase of 15 per cent from the same period last year.

Annually, there were 116,612 divorce petitions filed and 105,101 Decree Absolutes granted throughout 2019, down 2 per cent and up 14 per cent respectively from 2018.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications increased by 21 per cent compared to the equivalent quarter in 2018, while the number of domestic violence remedy orders made increased by 15 per cent over the same period.

There were 29,877 applications and 33,671 orders made throughout 2019, up 19 per cent and 14 per cent respectively from 2018.

For the full figures, click here.

27/3/20