Picking up the pieces: domestic violence and child contact

The research on which this report is based examines child contact proceedings as a legal process, to identify if, how and when domestic violence was presented before the court and then factored into judicial decision making. Drawing on in-depth interviews with women who had recently completed, or were currently undergoing, proceedings and a survey of legal professionals, the project built on an existing rich body of knowledge about child contact to highlight specific points where private law Children Act proceedings can enable women to protect themselves and their children, or facilitate perpetrators' attempts to continue power and control.

The recommendations highlight where the current legal process could be revised in order to make a significant difference to women and children's safety and wellbeing. It also points to promising practices that could be integrated into systems and processes.

The report is structured through the journey of contact proceedings, beginning from histories of violence and separation and ending with the aftermath.