Domestic violence victims at risk of losing children says charity

By Lenore Rice

The Family Rights Group has carried out new research that suggests and increase in the number of domestic violence victims at risk of losing their children as a result of inquiries by social workers.

Cathy Ashley, chief executive of the Family Rights Group, says that the charity has seen a dramatic increase in calls from families who are the subject of a child protection inquiry by social workers due to domestic abuse. The number of calls has rocketed over the past 5 years, with a 1,100 per cent increase between 2007/8 and 2012/13.

In an online article for ITV Ms Ashley says that victims of domestic violence can feel they are being abused by both their partner/perpetrator of the abuse, and by the child protection system which tells them they are not adequately protecting their child. The charity's research suggest that social workers often only assess the mother when a child is deemed to be at risk. Domestic violence victims are often too afraid to report future instances of abuse in case it is used to strengthen the case for removing the child, but at the same time they then face the risk of being accused of collusion to harm their child.

To read information about legal advice and assistance in respect of domestic violence in Northern Ireland click here.

Or if you would like to speak to a family law solicitor specialising in domestic violence contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 1363.