20,000 signatures reached
To: Minister for Justice Liz Truss MP, Minister for Education Justine Greening MP & District Judges
Child First: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives
We are calling on the Government and family courts to ensure there are no further avoidable child deaths as a result of unsafe child contact with a perpetrator of domestic abuse.
In order for this to happen the family courts must not allow known abusers to continue their abuse either in family courts or through decisions taken by family courts that put children and women's lives in danger.
Why is this important?
"No parent should have to hold their children and comfort them as they die, or be told that their child has been harmed in an act of revenge or rage. There are often many facets to one family's breakdown, and all too often children’s voices are not heard or acted upon" (Claire Throssell, mother of Jack and Paul who were killed in October 2014 by their father after he was granted unsupervised contact with them by the family court).
Over the last 10 years, 19 children and 2 women have died as a result of unsafe child contact, formal or informal, with a parent who is also a perpetrator of domestic abuse. These deaths were avoidable. To protect children, the family courts must put children's safety at the heart of any decisions they make about contact with a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.
Women’s Aid’s Child First: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives campaign is calling on the Government and the family courts to protect the children that it has been set up to keep safe. Whilst only a minority of child contact cases, after the parents have separated, are taken to the family courts many of these cases involving domestic abuse result in contact decisions which do not put the children's safety and best interests first. This can leave them, and their non-abusive, parent in considerable danger.
Visit the Women’s Aid website to find out more about this campaign: http://www.womensaid.org.uk/childfirst.