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Protecting Domestic Violence Victims Second Time Around

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Our Family Lawyer, Nameeta Gujral, commented on the recent announcement by the Lord Chancellor for proposals on cross-examination in Family Court abuse cases. The announcement was part of a raft of changes to Family Court work that is contained in the Prisons and Courts Bill that will come before Parliament in the next few months. Nameeta commented:

“Prevention of cross examination of domestic abuse victims by their abusers in the Family Court is one step closer to becoming a reality. The ministry published a factsheet suggesting that the use of virtual hearings will be extended, so proceedings will not involve victims having to face the perpetrator. It is really about time these changes were put in place, as there is already an automatic ban of direct cross-examination which is the case when Criminal Courts hear allegations of sexual abuse. In the Family Court, even if a party has been convicted of domestic abuse offences against the other party, there is potential that the unrepresented perpetrator can question their victim. Until the Bill is passed, victims must continually look to rely on the presiding judge to prevent direct questioning, whilst ensuring the questioning party’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.”

For more information regarding the above proposal, check out the Law Society Gazette here: