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Special domestic abuse courts where criminal offences are heard alongside family law cases will be set up under a £5 million trial, with more details to be shortly announced by the Ministry of Justice.
The additional funding will be used to trial specialist courts in England and Wales allowing criminal and family matters to be considered together. The Treasury believes the plan will offer victims better support.
The plan includes hiring independent advisers trained to help complainants navigate the criminal system, speed-up charging decisions and provide better online resources.
The MoJ said of the scheme, ‘Integrated domestic abuse courts have real potential to reduce the trauma of court and improve outcomes for victims. We will announce more detailed proposals on the pilot shortly.’
Phil Bowen, director of the Centre for Justice Innovation, said, ‘It is vital for the courts to ensure that their response to domestic abuse is coordinated and integrated across criminal, family and civil matters, and that the courts ensure that victims of domestic abuse are kept safe and given fairer access to justice and that perpetrators are held to account.’
Sources: lawgazette.co.uk, 23 March 2020, ‘Solicitors cautiously welcome new abuse courts’.