V is for Voices not Vendetta

Julie Ann Richards
2 min readJun 26, 2020

2020 has been one of the bleakest of years and it is still only June.

However, on Thursday, 25th June, there was a rare ray of sunshine and a moment to celebrate for survivors of domestic abuse, following the Ministry of Justice for England and Wales announcing sweeping new reforms of Family Courts in England and Wales.

This follows an expert led review into how the family courts handle domestic abuse and other serious offences, The panel included representatives from charities, the judiciary, family law practitioners, academia, organisations and most importantly the experts by experience — the survivors of domestic abuse.

V is for Voices not Vendetta

In Wales the Welsh Government’s approach to tackling domestic abuse is inclusive and survivors share their stories with the Cross-Party Group for Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence at the Senedd, the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance and police forces throughout Wales regularly invite survivors to contribute to round table discussions and events. However, England has been slow to catch up and realise the true value and impact of survivors voices on shaping policy.

As an Ask Me Ambassador for Welsh Women’s Aid most of the survivors contact me post-separation and enquire about support or are just glad to talk to someone who understands the unjust and unsafe Family Court process and lack of empathy and understanding by solicitors, Cafcass Officers, social workers and judges.

The reforms of Family Court includes:

  • more victims to receive special protections in court
  • stronger powers for judges to prevent abusers repeatedly dragging a victim back to court
  • new investigative court process trialled to reduce conflict

These reforms will protect Mothers and children from continued financial and emotional abuse post-separation and weaken the powers of fathers’ rights groups who have influenced policy with their misogynistic values and vendettas.

Our voices have been heard. Our voices have made a difference.

V is also for Victory!

With thanks to everyone who contributed to the review.

If you or anyone you know is suffering domestic abuse and/or sexual violence you can call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0800 80 10 800 or Bawso (BME) on 0800 731 8147.

  • These helplines are for residents in Wales only.



Julie Ann Richards

Radical Feminist, Mam, Cymraes, heart always rules head, Trustee — Fair Treatment of Women in Wales, domestic abuse survivor — views are my own