What happens when a domestically abusive parent asks for contact with their child following a separation or divorce in the family courts?
And is the family court in its current form the best place to process child contact requests in cases where there are allegations of domestic abuse, or where one parent has already been convicted of at least one violent offence?
This week, the Voice of the Child speaks with campaigners Sammy Woodhouse and Victoria Hudson about a new campaign they’ve launched, which proposes some radical changes to the family justice system in England and Wales, and why forcing children to have contact with parents who have been domestically abusive to the other parent is often harmful to them.
You can listen to the podcast here.
- Petition: Stop rapists from accessing children conceived through rape (petition with almost half a million signatures)
- Campaign to end injustice in the family court for domestic abuse survivors gains strength
Glossary of terms used in the podcast:
- Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
- Practice Direction 12J
- Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA)
- Section 20 agreement
Catch Victoria and Sammy on Twitter @victoria_hudson and @sammywoodhouse1. Social media users can talk about the campaign using the Forgotten Victims Of Family Court hashtag #forgottenvictimsOfFC
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or worried about someone who you think might be, Women’s Aid offers a number of ways you can get help and support.
I like how you have presented this topic in regards to stating, “when a domestically abusive parent”, when many in relation to this subject would only project the presumption that it’s only women who suffer from domestic abuse.👍
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Having been a NNEB 30 years.
Until the joy of parenting, is made compulsory in education.
Which encapsulates, training in ALL areas of family life, including the most stressful times under severe pressure.
Learning how to avoid physical/psychological/ verbal/emotional reactions.
Then we will read of these heartbreaking stories again and again.
Families need SUPPORT, FAMILIES, are our most precious asset in our country,
There should be ample avenues of support and help for families under pressure, whether 14 year old parents or forty year old parent.
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Your headline poses a question as though ‘domestic abuse’ is a simple, even singular matter. In reality, the term ‘domestic abuse’ covers everything from severe battery to the ‘financial abuse’ of denying a drug addict money to continue their harmful, illegal and dangerous habit.
Denying a child contact with both parents is a statistically proven harmful matter. Domestic abuse that does not directly involve the child should therefore not typically mean the child should be denied contact with either parent after a break-up, particularly as the major harm done to a child is witnessing the domestic abuse (which is why domestic abuse resolution that addresses only half the problem – women victims – is so damaging).
Since domestic abuse is most commonly initiated by women, denying the woman any contact at all would be a complete reversal of the current policy following partner break-up or divorce, where it is commonly the woman who is granted custody regardless of proven poor behaviour.
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