Last May, I called on the Government to launch an independent inquiry into the family courts to help ensure that survivors of abuse and their families are protected from further trauma. We know that family courts have previously granted violent, abusive fathers access to children and I have consistently argued that an inquiry is necessary for us to understand the scale of this problem.
The Ministry of Justice responded by implementing a review into how the family courts protect children and parents in cases of domestic abuse and other serious offences. I did have concerns about the scope and process of this review but, nevertheless, I submitted my own recommendations to the consultation, which you can read here.
In Parliament this week, I pressed the Government to ensure that the review prompts much-needed change in the family court system. I’ve now met with the Minister who has assured me that the panel is meeting on a regular basis. I pushed her to ensure that the review sits alongside the work on the Domestic Abuse Bill so we don’t miss this opportunity to enshrine some of the necessary changes in law and asked that their report and the summary of evidence be published as soon as possible.
Victims of abuse have been failed time and time again by the state and we need to ensure that they finally receive the protection and justice that they deserve.