This book presents papers from an International Symposium on Contact Disputes and Allegations of Domestic Violence: Identifying Best Practices, held in London in May 2017.
The editors invited a group of international experts to explain the approaches taken in their jurisdictions to allegations of domestic violence in child contact cases, with a view to identifying international best practices in such cases. The book includes contributions from England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Sweden and Spain, as well as information presented at the symposium from New Zealand and Australia. The chapters include attention to particular issues such as specialist domestic violence courts, judicial training and hearing children’s voices. Collectively, the chapters identify a set of common problems experienced across all of the jurisdictions, including an overwhelming emphasis on the value of children’s ongoing contact with non-resident parents and the consequent minimisation of domestic violence and the muting of the voices of children who do not wish to have contact with abusive parents. Best practices in taking domestic violence seriously and providing adequate protection from further abuse for children and non-abusive parents were less in evidence. However, the concluding chapter draws together details of several initiatives and approaches which offer promising ways forward.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.
Introduction: contact and domestic abuse
Rosemary Hunter, Adrienne Barnett and Felicity Kaganas
1. National self-image as an obstacle to ensuring children’s rights in the context of domestic violence and family law – the case of Sweden
2. Contact disputes and allegations of gender violence in Spain
3. A voice or a choice? Children’s views on participating in decisions about post-separation contact with domestically abusive fathers
4. The approach in Scotland to child contact disputes involving allegations of domestic abuse
Kirsteen M Mackay
5. Enhancing judicial skills in domestic violence cases: the development, implementation, and preliminary evaluation of a model US programme
Peter G Jaffe, Claire V Crooks, Maureen Reid, Jennifer White, Danielle Pugh-Markie and Linda Baker
6. Specialised domestic violence courts in Canada and the United States: key factors in prioritising safety for women and children
7. Specialist domestic violence courts for child arrangement cases: safer courtrooms and safer outcomes?
Conclusion: international best practices
Rosemary Hunter and Shazia Choudhry