Domestic Violence, Contact, and the ECHR

Shazia Choudhry

in Law and Childhood Studies

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652501
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739217 | DOI:

Series: Current Legal Issues

Domestic Violence, Contact, and the ECHR

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The effect of domestic violence upon children has become an issue of serious concern. Research has demonstrated that children can experience domestic violence not only as direct victims but also as witnesses. The impact of the research on the effects of witnessing or experiencing violence on children has not been confined to so-called ‘intact’ families. It has also led to an increased awareness of the continued risks posed to child victims during post separation contact with the abusive parent. The concern is such that it has led to a number of calls for a legal presumption against contact in such cases, such as that adopted in New Zealand. Facilitating post separation contact between a child and a parent has generally been viewed as being in the best interests of the child and as a result is very rarely entirely refused. This chapter assesses the current legal response to the issue within the context of the relevant provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the implementation of a legal presumption against contact in cases involving domestic violence would represent a breach of those provisions.

Keywords: domestic violence; child abuse; parental contact; Human Rights Act 1998; European Convention on Human Rights

Chapter.  11546 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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