Anyone who has ever worked front line with victims and survivors of domestic abuse will know how soul destroying it is to support a client through the family courts or civil justice system whereby the alleged perpetrator of the abuse is legally representing themselves. To watch someone be cross examined by their abusive ex partner in a court of law and further abused and humiliated and the alleged perpetrator given permission to do this by the same system that is supposed to protect someone, has to be the most cruel miscarriage of justice I have ever witnessed and unfortunately I have witnessed it many times over the years.
I am, therefore, so happy to hear that on the 21st July 2022, sections 65 & 66 of The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, were put into force.
Section 65 – Prohibition of cross-examination in person in family proceedings
Section 66 – Prohibition of cross-examination in person on civil proceedings
They have transitional provisions which mean that these sections do not apply to proceedings which were started before today’s date – 21st July 2022. But I wanted to put this information ‘out there’ for victims and survivors to know about as quite often they are the people who are left in the dark when legislation changes. It has been prohibited in the criminal courts since 1999 when the practise was made illegal under the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act (1999).
The campaign to prohibit the same in the family and civil courts has been long and hard and I for one wondered if it would ever become a reality.
If you are interested to read the full legislation you can click on this link and scroll down to ‘Part 5’.
Congratulations to all the people, groups and organisations who have battled these archaic laws for so many years.
Collectively, we did it! Who says we can’t make a difference if we try hard enough?!
Head Of Partnerships & Development Of Domestic Abuse Services