In the year following the introduction of social distancing measures in March 2020, applications for non-molestation orders in England and Wales increased by up to 27% whilst applications for occupation orders increased in by up to 22%. The heightened need for recourse to the family courts during this time supports a more general concern that rates of domestic abuse have increased during the pandemic. This paper presents the findings of in-depth interviews conducted with professionals in the North East of England who have represented or otherwise supported victims of domestic abuse in the family courts since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The aims of this article are not to ‘name and shame’ any particular court, but rather to evaluate the capacity of the remote family court to provide a safe and fair process for victims of domestic abuse. Where appropriate, the authors will also make recommendations for improving practitioner and litigants’ experiences within the current restrictions.
|Journal||Child and Family Law Quarterly|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 18 May 2021|