Women’s Aid ‘Child First’ campaign article banner image

Women’s Aid have launched a major new campaign calling for children’s safety to be at the heart of any decisions made by the Family Court. In support of the campaign it has published a report entitled “19 Child Homicides” which details cases of 19 children who were intentionally killed by a parent, who was also a perpetrator of domestic abuse.

Polly Neate, the Children’s Executive of Women’s Aid, commented: “There is a misguided belief within the Family Court’s and amongst Judges, because a relationship has ended, so has the domestic abuse. Survivors frequently report to us that they and their children are re-victimised and traumatised by their abusers, even after separation, through the Family Court process. This trauma makes it extremely difficult for the non abusive parent to advocate clearly and effectively for the safety of their child.”

In response to the report, Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Division, replied that it is a report that he would need to consider carefully and raised an important issue that must be taken seriously. He commented that “I will consider the report with the care it deserves and identify the lessons that the judiciary can learn from it.”

Such a campaign must be welcomed. In dealing with any domestic violence and abuse, the Court is sensitive to the needs of the children which is at the very heart of its decision making process.

If you have suffered or know anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse we are in a position to assist. We have specialist solicitors accredited by Resolution; the specialist solicitors organisation in areas of domestic abuse and also in dealing with issues relating to children.


Philippa Leaity is a paralegal in the family team, based in Exeter. If you would like to contact Philippa, please call 01392 210700 or email family.exeter@stephens-scown.co.uk.