IMPROVEMENTS to the family court system have been put forward to the Government following a report ordered by North Yorkshire’s Crime Commissioner.

It is estimated that more than seven in ten cases before the family courts have domestic abuse as a factor and now organisations from across North Yorkshire are coming together to ensure survivors, and their children, are treated more fairly by a system which is meant to support them.

Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PCC) published a report in March which examined what could be done to improve the situation for those in need of help.

It has now been sent to the Justice Minister, Alex Chalk MP, with a request for urgent action to address the points raised.

Last month, proposed reforms to the family court were set out by the government but Julia Mulligan wants to ensure these meet the challenges posed by this report.

A meeting to discuss the study and the proposals, which was postponed due to lockdown, is to take place as a virtual event on Tuesday, July 21.

It will focus on the next steps following the report, which will be particularly important due to the impact of the lockdown on families at risk.

Ms Mulligan said: “I welcome the government’s proposed reforms of the family courts so we can better protect victims and survivors of domestic abuse and their children, but I want to ensure they fully address the situation we face here in North Yorkshire and York.

“The report on the challenges here makes for stark reading and it is right that now the organisations and partners who can make a difference come together to discuss what it found and what can be done to improve the support offered in the future.

“I look forward to an open and constructive conversation about how we can collectively get better – here in North Yorkshire as well as more widely.”

The research was carried out by the Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS), the largest specialist domestic abuse service in Yorkshire.

It found that while there are good people with good intentions working hard to help survivors, all too often the system causes trauma and stress and forces them back into close proximity with their abusers, after they have taken the difficult and brave step of leaving them.