Health-related experiences of family court and domestic abuse in England: A looming public health crisis (Dalgarno et al., February 2024)

Domestic abuse is known to be harmful to victim-survivor mothers’ well-being, and women are disadvantaged by gender-biased systems in England. Less is known, however, about victims’ experiences with family court specifically in relation to their mental and physical health. Interviews with 45 mothers were conducted to explore these experiences.

Un-heard: Lived Experience in a Hostile System (APPG Report, December 2023)

The APPG was set up as a forum to work with representatives to prioritise the voice of the child in family courts. This report makes recommendations to create a safer environment for victims of domestic abuse.

Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases – AKA the ‘Harm Report’ (Ministry of Justice, June 2020)

This final report provides an understanding of how effectively the family courts identify and respond to allegations of domestic abuse and other serious offences, in cases involving disputes between parents about the arrangements for their children, known as ‘private law children proceedings’.

Domestic Abuse and Child Contact: The Interface Between Criminal and Civil Proceedings (Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, February 2023)

This report presents the findings of the Domestic Abuse and Child Contact: The Interface Between Criminal and Civil Proceedings research project, funded by the Scottish Government.

The Family Court and domestic abuse: achieving cultural change (Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, July 2023)

Report from the Domestic Abuse Commissioner highlighting ongoing concerns about the traumatising experience of the Family Court for victims and survivors of domestic abuse, and outlining plans for wholesale change in the Family Court process.

Research into Safeguarding Processes in Child Contact Centres in England (Ministry of Justice, 2023)

This report presents research into safeguarding processes in child contact centres in England, conducted by Cordis Bright and commissioned by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Parental involvement: a discretionary presumption (Felicity Kaganas, 2018)

Section 1(2A) of the Children Act 1989 establishes a statutory presumption that ‘involvement’ of both parents in their children’s lives after divorce or separation is in children’s best interests. This paper sets out to examine what effect this had had. The aim of the legislation was to improve the transparency and clarity of judges’ reasoning. This would help to reduce the numbers of parents litigating and would placate fathers’ rights groups who were damaging confidence in the family justice system. Drawing on a sample of reported cases, this paper concludes that, at the higher levels, courts are not implementing the presumption. Nor has the presumption succeeded in placating fathers’ rights groups or significantly reducing the number of cases coming to court. It appears that the presumption has had little impact and the government’s aims have not been realised. However, where it is having some impact, the presumption may be putting mothers and children at risk.