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Domestic Abuse in Child Cases

Revised Practice Direction to strengthen the Court’s focus

on domestic abuse in children cases

Katherine Wright, Solicitor

On 2nd October 2017 a revised Practice Direction came into force which applies to any family proceedings where the Court is asked to consider: (a) where a child should live; and/or (b) the contact arrangements between a child and their parent.

Where domestic abuse is alleged to be perpetrated by one party to another and a child has suffered harm or is at risk of harm as a result, the Court will now be required to take certain mandatory steps to assess the effect of this problem in any particular case and the available remedies to address it if it is found to exist.

There is also now going to be a wider definition of domestic abuse in all its forms, in contrast to the previous terminology.

This stems from a growing understanding in modern society of the effect of domestic abuse on parents, both men and women, where their parenting capacity can be compromised so as to lead their children to suffer harm indirectly. Children can also be victims of domestic abuse directly as well.

The Court has to establish quickly whether any domestic abuse is relevant to the issues in dispute, which means contested factual and welfare issues having to be determined as soon as possible fairly and proportionately.

Whether there are any admissions or evidence of domestic abuse, the Court must be satisfied that any contact or arrangements for the children are in their best interests by applying the welfare checklist and that therefore there is no risk of exposure to harm for them or their parent.

The Court will normally presume that the involvement of a parent in a child’s life will further the child’s welfare but, where domestic abuse is evident, this may overturn that statutory presumption.

These are very difficult issues but the revised Practice Direction will now ensure they are not overlooked or minimised, and the Courts can be held to account by the parties using them to ensure that this is always the case.

At Crosse + Crosse, we have solicitors specialising in children cases who are experienced at dealing with these types of issues.

Please feel free to contact us on 01392 258451 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange an appointment or discuss matters further.


Read more: Domestic Abuse in Child Cases

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Domestic Violence Evidence Requirement Removed

Five Year Time Limit Removed

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that, after reviewing current evidence arrangements for accessing legal aid in private family cases, the current five-year, time limit will be removed completely.

The types of evidence that can be accepted will also be 'significantly broadened'.  In future, the ministry says evidence will be accepted from domestic violence support organisations, removing difficulties faced by victims in acquiring evidence.

The news was welcomed by campaigners who, with the support of Chancery Lane, fought rules introduced in April 2013 that required victims of domestic violence to provide a prescribed form of evidence to apply for family law legal aid.

If you think that you could now be eligible for legal aid or if you would like to seek advice in relation to divorce, children or domestic violence, our team of legal experts would be happy to help and can be contacted on 01392 258451.

 View Law Society Gazette Article Here





Crosse and Crosse secure top accolade from national Law Society

CROSSE + CROSSE SOLICITORS LLP secures top accolade from national Law Society

Crosse + Crosse Solicitors in Exeter has secured the national Law Society’s legal practice quality mark, Lexcel.

Lexcel is developed specifically for the legal profession. It is an optional, recognised accreditation schme for law firms and in-house legal departments which gives assurance that a practice meets high client care and business management standards.

To gain and retain Lexcel accreditation, practice must undergo a rigorous initial then annual application and assessment process. This includes conducting background checks and an on-site visit from an independent experienced trained Lexcel assessor.

Richard Stevinson, Partner said “While we are proud to have secured Lexcel, it is our clients and staff who are the main beneficiaries. They can be assured that the way we manage the practice has their interests at heart and runs efficiently. There is a lot of choice in the legal services market, but being Lexcel accredited demonstrates our commitment to client care and best practice.”

Robert Bourns, President of the Law Society of England and Wales, said: “Delivering good client care and maintaining a strong client relationship are essential for solicitors and those gaining and maintaining Lexcel show their dedication to go above and beyond. Committing to high standards in customer service and practice management is fundamentally important in today’s evermore competitive legal services market.

By undergoing an independently assessed Lexcel accreditation, firms can demonstrate their commitment and consistent determination to exceed client expectations, improve overall satisfaction and assist regulatory compliance.

The quality mark is an objective and external assurance for clients and potential clients alike.”

Crosse + Crosse Solicitors LLP joins more than 1700 other legal practices in England & Wales with Lexcel accreditation. The practice management accolade has also gone international, with firms in Scotland, the Middle East, Poland and the Republic of Ireland having gained accreditation.

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