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To: HM government UK

Trauma informed support in family court

Trauma informed support in family court

SANE SISTAS (Stronger And Now Empowered SISTAS) want to hold an event on coercive controls impact on mental health. As part of this event we want to share real life stories of women who have been through the family court process. In order to highlight the impact this is having on mental health and wellbeing.
Many victims are undergoing trauma responses due to their past abuse. Many have a diagnosis of PTSD and some undiagnosed due to fear of this being used against them.
We propose to host an event in 2020 and we want the law commissioners to attend.
Our main focus is
• Women who have fled coercive abuse
• Women who have a mental health diagnosis

Why is this important?

SANE SISTAS want to hold a coercive control impact on mental health event. As part of this event we want to share real life stories of women who have been through the family court process. In order to highlight the impact this is having on mental health.
Many victims are undergoing trauma responses due to their past abuse. Many have a diagnosis of PTSD and some undiagnosed due to fear of this being used against them.
We propose to host an event in 2020 and we want the law commissioners to attend.
Our focus is
• Women who have fled coercive abuse
• Women who have a mental health diagnosis

Why is this important?
“Crisis” was the word used by the previous Head of the Family Division, Sir James Munby. His successor Sir Andrew McFarlane has suggested that the word “crisis” may not be helpful, but also he too remains in no doubt that there are serious issues that need to be addressed. There has been much talk in recent times of our criminal justice system being in turmoil, if not crisis. Much of this has been fueled by the cuts made to legal aid provision. How is this impacting?

• Greater numbers of defendants having to represent themselves. At hearings. As well as this being perceived as a diminution of the rights of defendants to a fair trial and the disposal of effective justice it can also have a deleterious impact. Cross examination by perpetrators has since been restricted however the impact is still present. Many are actively coerced throughout due the lack of education of coercive control.

• Higher numbers of Domestic related applications. In 2017 new cases Domestic abuse was an issue in at least 70% of cases in the family courts. This is not accounting for the cases that are regularly taken back time and time again.
• Increase in applications: in the period April to June this year over sixty eight thousand cases started in family courts, a seven percent increase from a similar period last year.
• More calls to social services and CAFCAS, increasing pressures.
A back log of cases in family court.

The victim experience
A victim can attend a criminal trial in relation to abuse one week and have extra support, with no direct contact with their perpetrator. However could attend family court the next day and share the same waiting room as them.
Why should this be so? To appear in any court as a victim of domestic abuse should require continuing protection and the need to feel safe as it is just as traumatic, potentially, as giving evidence in a criminal trial. Yet as things stand little if anything is available. Cross examination has been stopped, but the trauma that is inflicted has not.
In fact I myself spent a whole year unable to access NHS support for my PTSD due to "not being out of the trauma". The impact of which on many occasions sent my PTSD into crisis, in which I had to be visited weekly by a crisis nurse. No one told me I would have to share a room with my perpetrator, attend sometimes for 10 minutes when I had spent months preparing, that I would be drowning in debt, that my abuse or diagnosis could be used as a weapon against me or that I would need more therapy then I needed when I first left. But I am not alone; women all over the UK are having mental health diagnosis used against them in family court, despite the impact of the process being a significant factor in the restrictions of recovery and an abuse free life. Many of these women only have a diagnosis due to the trauma they endured, how and why can this be then used against them? Worse so is, women are not accessing treatment intentionally out of fear their mental health will be held against them.

Trauma informed support is long overdue in the family courts. Appearing at family court can be a hugely stressful experience and more support is needed to help navigate through this complex system so survivors can recover. This could not only change the lives of survivors and children but also the court throughput process, easing pressure on services. Until we make this change, more women will take their lives, mental health waiting lists will add up, children will be adversely affected and the future of survivors all over is not safe.

Support us by
• Sign and share our petition – share with local Cllrs and MPs in your area
• Purchase our merchandise and tag us on social media to show your support. Profits support survivor’s meets and campaigns.
• Send us your experience’s to add to our case studies. All names will be anonymous but this helps us build evidence of the impact on mental health. We will support you with this if you email
• Fill in our survey
• Become an ally – Write a 200 word statement as to why this is important to you and share it with your local MPs and councillors.
• Add us on our face book page, Instagram and twitter.
• Book a speaker or workshop on the impact of coercive control to help fund materials for peer sessions and other campaign materials.
• Add our #moresupportinfamilycourt #traumainformedsupportinfamilycourt

Join us
• To join our support group please drop us a message via our social media or email and we will provide details.
• Protests – We have group protests plans for 2020. In the mean time we have activists who will be handing out flyers, chalking and making small statements of solidarity. We are also supporters of the #THECOURTSAID campaign and will attend the protest at parliament square on October 26th. Please join us in solidarity.

Our end goal is:

-Not to share rooms with our perpetrators. This allow perpetrators to intimidate and coerce further.
-To have clear understanding of the court process and the support we can access.
-A bursary or funds to access therapy (not 8 weeks of CBT). Not to be denied therapy as "its counter productive" or because perpetrators can access health records.
- Health records visible to courts not perpetrators

How it will be delivered

Please submit any stories you have to the below email. We are collecting case studies for press release and research. If you would like to be named please state.

[email protected]

Category


Reasons for signing

  • I’m going though he’ll with my ex at family court for 2 year he’s uses the court to bully me I have ptsd and high anxiety I struggled to get help are understand why he’s allowed to do this I feel mentally drowned to point courts are black and whit rand feel while they do the best to safe guard you physically they don’t meantally and they don’t care they can’t

Updates

2019-10-05 20:52:09 +0100

100 signatures reached

2019-09-22 17:06:18 +0100

50 signatures reached

2019-09-21 13:57:56 +0100

WE JUST HEARD NEWS WE WILL BE SUPPORTED WITH OUR RESEARCH TO PROVE COURTS IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH....

But we need more data and case studies !

Please submit your stories to [email protected]

2019-09-19 22:09:11 +0100

Thank you so much guys ! Please let's try and keep up the momentum! Share the page again, try emailing it to your local councillor or MP !

LOVE AND LIGHT,

KEEP UP THE FIGHT 💜

2019-09-19 14:49:31 +0100

25 signatures reached

2019-09-19 08:12:56 +0100

10 signatures reached