Much more needs to be done to safeguard children in domestic violence cases, writes Christina Blacklaws, president of the Law Society of England and Wales
As a former family law solicitor, your recent article on how the family courts treat victims of domestic abuse and their children (15 May) struck a chord with me. As you point out, research by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme found that four children have been killed in the past five years by parents with a history of domestic violence who were given access to them by the courts.
These tragic figures highlight a failure in the system. While the government’s draft domestic abuse bill marks an important step in the right direction, much more needs to be done to safeguard children in domestic violence cases.
The government’s cuts to legal aid in 2012 have left many victims of abuse unrepresented in court, often unable to argue their case. Updating the legal aid means test and reinstating legal aid for early advice will help to ensure that domestic abuse is identified at the earliest possible point and both victims and their children receive the access to justice they deserve.
President, The Law Society of England and Wales
Original Article available here: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/may/28/victims-of-domestic-abuse-need-legal-aid