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Monday, January 16, 2017

MP calls for new domestic violence law

Clwyd South Labour MP Susan Elan Jones MP has called on the Government to urgently bring in a law that would stop perpetrators of domestic abuse from directly cross-examining their victims within the family court system.

Questioning Minister of State for Courts and Justice Rt Hon Oliver Heald MP in the House of Commons Chamber recently, Ms Jones (pictured) said: "Everyone who has spoken today, including the Minister, has said the situation is urgent.

"In view of that and the fact that he said primary legislation will be needed, is there any reason why he cannot commit to the Government presenting that within three or four months?"

After her Commons exchange, Ms Jones said: "This dreadful practice is rightly banned in our criminal courts and it shouldn't be allowed within the family court system either.

"It needs to be stopped urgently. The Government has now committed to banning the practice, but there must be no further delay. It really isn't right how people can be directly confronted and questioned by those who have been violent and abusive towards them."

One possible solution was suggested by Justice Select Committee Chair, Robert Neill MP, who said the simplest answer would be to adopt the criminal provisions “lock, stock and barrel” and accept that the “modest” cost of a court-appointed advocate to undertake the cross-examination was necessary.

* The parliamentary exchange can be seen at:

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