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Domestic Violence

Process servers

This is to set out clearly an agreed protocol for the service of non-molestation orders and injunctions made by the courts to protect people from violence and harrassment

MARAC Guidance December 2011

Mutli- agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) are a recent development in addressing the highest risk cases of domestic abuse. there are regular MARAC meetings held in most local authority areas in England and wales that collate information about high risk casesof domestic abuse with a view to co-ordinated safety plan for the victim and children (if any)

Twenty-nine child homicides – FJC response

In 2004 the Womens Aid Federation of England (WAFE) published a report which described the cases of twenty nine children from thirteen families who were murdered by their fathers during contact. Children in five of the thirteen families were murdered during the course of contact ordered by the court. In each of these five cases domestic violence had been alleged.

In 2005 Sir Nicholas Wall, then a Lord Justice of Appeal, examined all available court files for the cases in which there had been court involvement. In his subsequent report of February 2006 to the then President of the Family Division, Sir Nicholas Wall examined in detail each of the five cases where the courts were involved and provided his opinion as to how each matter was conducted by the courts. The report includes Sir Nicholas Wall’s conclusions and recommendations.

One of the concerns raised in the report by Sir Nicholas Wall was in relation to two cases where contact orders were made by consent. The then President of the Family Division asked the FJC to report on the approach the courts should adopt to proposed consent orders in cases where domestic violence is an issue. The Children in Families Committee of the FJC consulted representatives of interested organisations including, The Family Law Bar Association, Resolution, The Law Society’s Family Law Committee, Families Need Fathers, Women’s Aid, Refuge, CAFCASS and The Judicial Studies Board.

Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for reviewing cases of domestic violence and deciding whether, or not, there should be a prosecution. In 2008 the CPS revised its policy statement which is designed to assist those working with victims of domestic violence to understand how cases are prosecuted and what victims can expect from the CPS. The CPS launched a consultation on the revised policy statement which the FJC responded to.

Forced Marriage

The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 provided for government to issue statutory guidance setting out the responsibilities of all agencies dealing with forced marriage issues.

Prior to the act coming into force, in November 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Home Office published a joint consultation on the statutory guidance. The FJC responded in October 2008.

In November 2009 the Ministry of Justice published a policy paper examining the impact the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 had in its first year.

Marriage to Partners from Overseas

In December 2007 the Home Office published a consultation regarding marriage to partners from overseas. The proposals outlined in the consultation were largely aimed at providing protection from forced marriage. The FJC responded to the consultation in March 2008.

Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry

In July 2007 the Home Affairs Select Committee announced it would be conducting a broad ranging inquiry into domestic violence, including so called “honour” killings. The House of Commons website contains further information relating to the Inquiry, including it’s report which was published on 20 May 2008.

Residence and Contact Orders

In January 2009 the Practice Direction regarding residence and contact orders in cases where domestic violence is alleged was reissued following a decision by the House of Lords that a fact finding hearing should be held to investigate allegations of domestic violence before residence and contact orders are made.

Guidance for Professionals

In 2003, the Ministry of Justice published guidance for professionals and service providers who advise victims of domestic violence on their options for effective protection for them and their families. The guide was updated in March 2007 to reflect the changes in legislation and other progress that has been made in tackling domestic violence. The FJC has copies of the guide available in various languages.

Domestic Violence – Practical Advice

The FJC has compiled some practical information designed to assist those at risk from domestic violence, for more information please visit the domestic violence page of our website.