Issue No. 1 - Supporting the health of survivors of family violence in family law proceedings

February 2021

This brief provides an overview of current challenges confronting various legal professionals, mental health researchers, and family violence advocates who engage with family courts to support survivors who are navigating the system. While all sectors aim to achieve justice and healing, the institutional contexts in which they operate often lead to different problems when addressing family conflicts creating a sense of unfairness and frustration, and potential harm and/or re-traumatization for survivors of violence.  

Important insights and considerations from these perspectives are provided to deepen our collective understanding of the issues. This includes how the growing call for “trauma-informed” court proceedings might be met with the “trauma- and violence-informed” approaches developed within the gender-based violence and health sectors. In recognition of the fact that women and children are statistically overrepresented as victims of family violence, the brief discusses how a gendered, intersectional lens may help to contextualize the experiences of survivors who are engaged in the family court system. Lastly, the brief outlines the objectives of the Supporting the Health and Well- Being of Survivors of Family Violence in Family Law Proceedings project, and explains how a Community of Practice can provide fruitful opportunities for further cross-sector knowledge mobilization.

Click here to view the brief Issue No. 1