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The delivery of family justice: Child arrangements orders and domestic abuse

21 May 2021 4:00PM

The University of Suffolk is concluding its two-month long series looking at issues connected to domestic abuse with a conference on how family justice is delivered.

The conference is being organised by the Domestic Abuse Research Network which was created just under two years ago to support knowledge exchange events, enable practitioners and academics to connect with current issues and research on domestic abuse in the East of England region and beyond. The Network comes under the Centre for Abuse Research at the University of Suffolk.

Dr Olumide Adisa is Head of the Centre for Abuse Research and said about the conference “The courts’ approach to the resolution of child arrangements disputes involving allegations of domestic abuse has attracted significant concern for many years. The Ministry of Justice's recently concluded expert review into the courts’ practice proposed wide-ranging reforms that have the potential to re-shape the delivery of family justice in the context of domestic abuse.” Our event will ask questions like ‘What would a reformed and ‘trauma aware’, approach look like in practice?’.”

Dr Jo Harwood, member of the Domestic Abuse Research Network and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Essex, will be presenting her research from a major socio-legal study conducted with judges, barristers, solicitors, Cafcass officers and representatives from organisations supporting women affected by domestic abuse. Dr Harwood said “The findings from the study highlight the challenges for the family courts in responding effectively to domestic abuse, particularly at a time of limited resources, and underline the importance of the Ministry of Justice’s expert review into the courts’ practice. This is a critical time in terms of re-thinking the approach taken to the resolution of cases involving domestic abuse, and conferences such as these are immensely valuable in sharing experiences and encouraging cross working.”

Naomi Wiseman and Artis Kakonge from Garden Court Chambers will be sharing their practical experience of the family courts while Min Grob, expert by experience campaigner, public speaker and creator of CCChat Magazine, the only online magazine on and around coercive control, will share her experiences.

The online event, taking place on 25 May from midday, has been supported by Suffolk County Council. To attend or for further information please visit


University of Suffolk Press Office