I have been directly involved with the domestic abuse consultation. I have attended meetings with the Home Office and Ministry of Justice about the draft bill.
There are serious failings, not least of all the fact that the bill in its current form does not legislate to prevent litigant in person perpetrators cross examining their victims in family law proceedings. In this respect the family justice system is decades behind the criminal justice system which does not permit victims to be cross examined by their perpetrators in person. I will continue to lobby for the bill to be amended to include this provision.
Another failure which I have highlighted both through Resolution and through the Law Society Access to Justice Committee is the failure to legislate for the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. This Convention covers all provision of services for victims of violence including refuge services, legal aid and a range of holistic services and rights including the setting up of a compensation scheme from central government where a victim cannot be compensated from any other source.
Blog by Cris McCurley, Partner