Using Social Media to Expose The UK Family Court Scandal


The halls of justice are meant to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. But for too many victims of domestic abuse in the UK, the family courts have utterly failed to deliver justice.

A damning 2020 Ministry of Justice report laid bare how frequently victims – mostly women and children – are being betrayed by a court system that seems structurally unable to recognise the insidious nature of coercive control. As one victim’s advocate told the report’s authors: “The family court process re-traumatises victims and fails to keep children and victims safe.”

Harm Compounded

The MoJ report found clear evidence that victims of domestic abuse often feel re-victimised by family court processes that consistently fail to comprehend the dynamics of abuse. Too often, child contact arrangements ordered by the courts force victims back into close proximity with controlling, manipulative and potentially violent ex-partners.

To truly influence the policy agenda around family courts, the voices of domestic abuse survivors need amplification. Share posts calling for reform under hashtags like #FamilyCourt and tag relevant MPs such as @AlexChalkChelt Share on X

For children, these decisions can mean ongoing exposure to harm and abuse from one parent against the other. As the report states, “In some of the most serious cases, children were knowingly placed in situations of harm by the family courts.” Far too often, contact with abusive parents is prioritised over child safety.

Ignoring the Coercion

Experts say family courts lack awareness of the nature of coercive control, instead viewing domestic abuse through a narrow lens focused on discrete incidents of physical violence. The MoJ report found an institutional failure to probe allegations of domestic abuse, with victims pressured to agree to child contact arrangements without proper scrutiny of abuse claims.

As one interviewee said: “There’s no investigation into the violence, it’s as if it never happened, so the victims end up so discredited. The process is abusive.” The result, inevitably, is that arrangements made by the court facilitate ongoing abuse and expose victims and children to further trauma.

Where Social Media Comes In

While court processes occur behind closed doors, social media platforms give abuse survivors and their advocates a public platform to highlight systemic failings. The power of social media is its ability to share stories, spark debate and ultimately drive reform.

The more victims speak out online about their traumatic experiences of the family courts system, the harder it becomes for justice agencies to ignore calls for reform. Social media allows ordinary citizens to apply pressure to powerful institutions. By raising public awareness of injustice, social media users can force change.

Turn Up the Volume

To truly influence the policy agenda around family courts, the voices of survivors need amplification. A few actions by social media users can help achieve this:

  • Share posts calling for reform under hashtags like #FamilyCourt and #FamilyLaw. This pushes content into the social media feeds of thousands of users, including media, law-makers and justice agencies.
  • Tag relevant MPs such as @AlexChalkChelt, family lawyers and domestic abuse charities in posts about the issue. This draws influential figures into the conversation.
  • Link individual stories of family court failings to wider calls for reform. Highlighting human impact gives the issue urgency.
  • Respond to news stories about family court cases with comments calling for systemic reform. This links the issue to mainstream media narratives.
  • Start social media chats or threads focused on family court injustices. This provides a platform for victims to share their stories.

By using social media strategically, campaigners can force domestic abuse and the family courts onto political agendas. The louder public outcry grows online, the harder it becomes for injustice to be ignored.

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