Calling for a public inquiry into the Family Court

Calling for a public inquiry into the Family Court

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Becky Flont started this petition to Claude Davis

In April 2020 a mother of 5 children killed herself whilst waiting for the Oxford Family Court to decide whether the man who raped her should have access to her children.  In the same month I was waiting for the verdict in a similar case at the same Court.

Despite the success of the #Me Too Movement which has encouraged more women to speak out about violence, our justice systems are not fit for purpose.

If you have children with the perpetrator, and even if you are one of the few who manage to get a conviction in the Criminal Court, you can still lose your child to the perpetrator in the Family Court.  For here is one place you will find equal parenting, equal parenting used as a weapon to take children, sometimes even babies, away from abused mothers and put them in the care of their abusers.

In the Family Court the fact that you have reported a father for domestic violence is used as evidence that you can't co-parent with him.  Of course you can't.  You should never be expected to but in the Family Court this makes you the bad parent, even the abusive parent.

In June 2020, a few months after the mother, whose name I do not know, killed herself, the Ministry of Justice published a report which cited pages of evidence of the systemic and widespread practices that minimise abuse, ranging from children’s voices not being heard, allegations being ignored, dismissed or disbelieved, to inadequate assessment of risk, traumatic court processes, perceived unsafe child arrangements, and abusers exercising continued control through repeat litigation and the threat of repeat litigation. https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/assessing-harm-private-family-law-proceedings/results/assessing-risk-harm-children-parents-pl-childrens-cases-report.pdf

Whilst the Ministry of Justice puts forward a range of proposed changes to the Family Court in order to address their findings, by focusing the report on the ‘risk of harm’ rather than the ‘actual harm’ the Ministry of Justice is able to absolve itself of any responsibility for the malpractice of the Family Court.  Once again the message is loud and clear – abuse women and there are no consequences either to the men or the systems that perpetrate it.

I lost my case.  My son will live with his father until he is 18 years old.  I am allowed to see him for four hours a week.  

We cannot build an equal and fair society without an equal and fair justice system.  We need to bring the Family Court to account and the only way to do this is a Public Enquiry.

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