Sign Melanie Brown MBE's Family Courts Petition

The family courts are not safe for survivors of domestic abuse – judges need training now from experts working with abused women and children like Women’s Aid.

“Women tell Women’s Aid going to the family courts can be as bad as the abuse itself”

“Women who are scared for their children’s lives – knowing that abusers can and do harm and even kill their children on contact visits”

We know that around 60% of child arrangement cases in England and Wales feature domestic abuse – yet many judges don’t understand and call it ‘parental conflict’. Women who are scared for their children’s lives – knowing that abusers can and do harm and even kill their children on contact visits – are called troublemakers or accused of being manipulative when they try to protect them.  Orders are being made in the family court every day that force women and children into contact with dangerous abusers – women tell Women’s Aid going to the family courts can be as bad as the abuse itself.

Judges need to know what they are talking about when they make decisions, and to do this they need training – not training they have designed themselves, but training with domestic abuse experts like Women’s Aid.

On behalf of survivors of domestic abuse, I, Melanie Brown MBE, am calling for the Judicial College to commit to compulsory ongoing training that is designed and delivered with experts. I am also calling government to be accountable for this and taking forward the recommendations in the Harm Panel Report 2020, including an urgent change that where there is domestic abuse or serious harm, we do not presume there should be contact - children's safety always has to come first. Our research shows that survivors do not feel that they have been listened to or their concerns acted on – it is not good enough, and we cannot wait any longer.

At Women’s Aid we have written two reports on the family courts – 29 Child Homicides and 19 Child Homicides, which all explain how children were killed because of unsafe contact decisions. Support this petition now and help us save children’s lives.

  • Natalie 22.06.2024 15:00
  • Paula 22.06.2024 14:40
  • Brooke 22.06.2024 14:17
  • Christine 22.06.2024 14:09
  • Kelly 22.06.2024 14:08
  • Sian 22.06.2024 13:46