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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 17:02 GMT
Children focus in violence curbs
Domestic violence is a continuing problem
A third of women attending accident units had faced domestic violence
The effect on children of witnessing domestic violence will be considered in family court cases under new plans.

The change would allow family courts to examine more than just the harm a child suffers directly from violence in contact and custody cases.

The measure is being added to the Domestic Violence Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

There would also be new forms, filled in by lawyers to ensure violence claims are raised at the outset of cases.

Getting all the facts

Government officials say judges currently make decisions and then discover later that there is a violence problem.

Family Courts Minister Lord Filkin said the government wanted to encourage contact between children and both parents following divorce or separation.

"These new provisions will ensure better protection for victims of domestic violence and their children," said Lord Filkin.

"They will reinforce the current best practice which aims to bring such allegations out into the public early rather than at a later stage in the proceedings and ensure that the courts make decisions in the light of all the facts."

The minister said the government was developing proposals to ensure that cases about contact with children were settled away from the courts where there were no domestic violence claims or other "high conflict" issues.

The scale of abuse at home was revealed this month by a survey suggesting as many as one in three women who turn up for treatment in accident and emergency departments have a history of suffering domestic violence.




SEE ALSO:
Domestic violence rates 'high'
01 Mar 04  |  Health
Domestic abusers face crackdown
03 Dec 03  |  Politics


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