Government responds to Domestic Abuse and the Family Court report

In July 2023, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner published a report into the Family Court’s response to domestic abuse. The government has now responded to the recommendations within this report. It is important to note that the report applies to England and Wales.

Section 8 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 gives the Domestic Abuse Commissioner the power to report on any matter relating to domestic abuse. The Government must publish a response to any such report.

The report published in July 2023 saw the Domestic Abuse Commissioner make 10 recommendations. The government response addresses the following topics in relation to the Family Court and has provided a response to each recommendation.

  • monitoring and oversight
  • best practice
  • training and transparency
  • the voice of the child
  • legal aid
  • qualified legal representatives
  • the regulation of experts

The report states that the family courts deal with some of the most vulnerable people in our society and make crucial decisions about the lives of children. The Government has a clear responsibility to protect those using the courts and to ensure that they have confidence in how the court operates as well as the decisions that are made.

This response incorporates feedback from partners across the family justice system, such
as Cafcass and HMCTS. Although the duty to respond to a report by the Commissioner
does not apply to the Welsh Government, we recognise that the family justice system
operates across both England and Wales, therefore the response incorporates the views
of Cafcass Cymru. Although the duty to respond does not apply to the judiciary (s7(6)
Domestic Abuse Act 2021), we have sought their views where this response may impact
their work.

The response outlines work being undertaken by the government in this area and makes commitments to further reform.

Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s report: The Family Court and domestic abuse: achieving cultural change

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