Voice4Victims welcomes the announcement today that the Government will be legislating to stop victims of domestic violence being cross examined by their abusers in Family Court.
In July 2016, Voice4Victims held the #AbuseofProcess conference which looked at different ways abusers exploit their rights to access legal platforms in order to continue unwanted contact with their victims and abuse them further. One of the areas highlighted was the Family Courts and Jess Phillips attended the conference to share findings from her campaigning with Women’s Aid.
In December 2016, the Guardian newspaper ran a series of articles based on Women’s Aid #childfirst report and Voice4Victims #abuseofprocess report which highlighted abusers cross examining their victims. Today the Government has responded and announced that they will be addressing this high risk and re-victimising procedure.
Voice4Victims will continue to campaign on Abuse of Process as they hope the Government will widen their legislation to include the civil courts, where many victims of stalking ,harassment and domestic violence are being cross examined by their abusers.
‘We are seeing too many victims forced into vexatious legal proceedings so their abusers can see them, harass them and harm them further. It is vital that the Government recognise all forms of abuse of process in all legal platforms in order to safeguard victims’ says Claire Waxman, Founder of Voice4Victims.
The government also announced today that they will be reviewing the use of sexual histories during cross examination of rape victims. This also comes on the back of another Voice4Victims’ campaign after they have drafted a Rape Shield Bill with Liz Saville Roberts, which was introduced as a ten minute rule bill on Wednesday February 8th 2017.
Again, through Voice4Victims’ campaigning, the impact of this brutal cross examination on victims is being recognised and hopefully will be restricted in the future in order to protect victims.
Harry Fletcher, Co-director of Voice4Victims said ‘The impact of cross examining a person about their sexual history is intended to undermine the credibility of the victim and humiliate them. It’s welcome that the government is looking to change the law in this area’.
Voice4Victims was set up to ensure that the voices of victims are heard and as evidenced today, their ground breaking campaigns play a vital role in influencing future policies, services and legislations to protect victims of crime.