Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Domestic abuse victims will no longer be cross-examined by alleged perpetrators

Victims of domestic abuse will no longer have to face the trauma of being cross-examined by their alleged attackers in family and civil courts, the government has announced.

Woman in fear of domestic abuse

Instead, a court-appointed legal professional will carry out the cross-examination to ensure that justice continues to be done fairly for both sides. Hundreds of lawyers have already signed up to fulfil this important role.

The move, which is part of the government’s landmark Domestic Abuse Act, follows concerns that perpetrators were using the process as a means of extending their abuse, and victims were being retraumatised by their experiences in court.

Justice Minister, Tom Pursglove MP said: “Going to court about family issues can be a traumatic experience, so victims of domestic abuse shouldn’t face the extra torment of being cross-examined by their abuser.

“This is already banned in criminal trials and from today it will be banned in family and civil courts too - to protect victims, ease the stress and make sure they get a fair hearing.”

The measures in the Domestic Abuse Act (2021), which came into force in July, places a legal bar on parties cross-examining each other where there is evidence of abuse.

The ban will only be applied in cases where there is specified evidence of domestic abuse between those involved, or there is a conviction or protective injunction in place between the parties.

The move is part of the government’s efforts to reduce the trauma of appearing in court and ensure that victims are better supported. This includes introducing special measures in family and civil courts, such as screens and separate entrances, to minimise stress and help witnesses to give their best evidence.

Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said: “Refuge is pleased that today, Section 65 and Section 66 of the Domestic Abuse Act, have come into force. The Act, which was a result of many years work across the sector and across government, is a huge step forward in addressing domestic abuse.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of these sections, which prohibit cross examination in court of survivors, by their perpetrators, coming into force, and this change comes not a moment too soon. Unfortunately, this change is not retroactive, and cases that are already open will not benefit from this positive step forward

“We know that survivor’s confidence in the justice system is already woefully low, and that could only have been compounded by knowing that your abuser was formally able to cross examine you in court and ask you direct questions about the abuse you experienced.

“Refuge expects all survivors to be afforded special measures, so they do not have to face their perpetrators, and this move today to bring Sections 25 and 26 into force will hopefully mean survivors feel more confident that they will be able to get the protection they deserve,” she added.

The government also announced that victim support services will receive more than £460 million in grant funding over the next three years, helping to fund more than 1,000 Independent Sexual and Domestic Violence Advisors and a 24/7 rape crisis helpline.

Working Together For Children

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work, psychological, psychiatric, therapeutic and family support services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Sixty Second Interview with Diane Wills

12/08/2022

Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.

What three words best describe you?

Force. Of. Nature

If you were stuck on a desert island, and could take one person and one object, who and what would they be?

Well I suppose I should say my husband but I’m [...]

Read Full Story

Impact of cost-of-living on social workers

12/08/2022

Social workers are being hit by the cost-of-living crisis both professionally, and personally.

This week the British Association of Social Workers has warned that “the cost-of-living crisis is a crisis for social workers”.

While social workers frequently witness the impact of rising energy bills and increased living costs on the people they work with, they are [...]

Read Full Story

Lionesses victory: Opportunity for healthy role models and inspiration for girls

04/08/2022

Inspirational, positive role models, game-changing in terms of equality and raising expectations for young girls – these are just some of the accolades that have been lauded at England’s female football team since their Euro 2022 win on Sunday.

The sensational victory of the England women’s football team at Euro 2022 has inspired many young [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram