Death by Suicide within Family Proceedings: Awareness and support


To investigate the risk and resilience factors for suicide and self-harm and to consider what training would be helpful to support the judiciary and court participants.


Colette Dutton (Chair)
DJ Judith Crisp
Maud Davis
Fiona Straw
Jaime Craig
Rebecca Cobbin
Matthew Pinnell
Bernadette MacQueen
Annie Bertram – Parent with lived experience
Helen Jones JP – Magistrate
Siobhan Kelly – (ALC)


Best practice guidance and training and support for litigants and judiciary.

Outputs published by this working group

At Risk of Suicide: Information for professionals working within the court system (PDF).

Terms of Reference


The family justice council has approved a proposal to set up a working group to investigate and report on the issue of suicide in the context of family proceedings. Whilst it recognises that self-harm is an important issue, this group is focussing on death by suicide.


To investigate what measures and mitigation should be in place within the Family Court to manage situations where there is a risk of suicide.’

The remit for the working group being as follows:

  • To investigate the current research and the support available for litigants and the judiciary.
  • Liaison with the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) re research into the sequalae of family court proceedings and the potentially heightened risk of suicide on participants.
  • Consultation with any interested groups eg Family Rights Group/Zero Suicide Alliance on identification of risk and protocols on suicide prevention.
  • Consultation with the Judicial College in regard to specific training on trauma arising out of court proceedings, general awareness of risk factors and steps which can be taken to ameliorate self-harm and suicide.
  • Research and identification of literature which is available at court, either in person or remotely, to signpost and identify services available for participants.
  • Consideration of the impact of confidentiality of proceedings and barriers to notifying relevant agencies re risk of harm.
  • Investigation of the availability of professional support for participants and the judiciary when a party has died by suicide.
  • The working group to prepare an initial report for the FJC by September 2022 with a view to a final report three months later.
  • The preparation of best practice guidance.