A petition created by “I Want My Mummy” (IWMM), a not for profit organisation providing support for vulnerable people and survivors of abuse is calling on the government to open up the Family Courts.
Often accused of being shrouded in secrecy, the Family Courts have been heavily criticised over the last decade for its failure to strike the right balance between protecting families’ and children’s rights as they go through these courts, and the appropriate level of accountability for poor practice and wrongdoing inside the system.
IWMM’s Executive Director Zoe Dronfield set up the petition, which has garnered nearly 3,000 signatures. The petition sets out ten recommendations which it invites the government to take up:
Recommendation 1: Open the civil family court to scrutiny and allow an independent third party ombudsman to investigate claims of unjust rulings.
Recommendation 2: Family court to be evidential to include a domestic violence or victim advocate for survivors including child survivors.
Recommendation 3: The Government to ensure that there is independent follow-up after a court ruling to ensure that it was successful. To be measured by improved experiences for the family.
Recommendation 4: The Government to consider linking criminal and family court proceedings for unified working.
Recommendation 5: The Government to consider creating a new Serial Perpetrator Register which can be accessed by family court for history of domestic abuses.
Recommendation 6: The Government and Ministry of Justice to ensure the adherence to clear and consistent procedure for applications brought to the family court.
Recommendation 7: The Government and Ministry of Justice to ensure DBS checks for all applicants and to be properly considered at the initial and closing stages of applications before the family court.
Recommendation 8: Perjury in the family court to be thoroughly investigated and consistently treated as a criminal offence.
Recommendation 9: The Government to consider that gagging orders do not resolve lack of safe transparency and scrutiny. They often silence the victim of injustice.
Recommendation 10: CAFCASS reporters and officials, social workers and other court-appointed experts be held accountable for errors and misleading information.
IWMM has Researching Reform’s full support on this petition, and the recommendations it sets out. If you’d like to sign the petition, you can do so here.
Many thanks to Zoe for getting in touch and sharing the petition with us.