December 2021 saw a landmark decision made by the Court of Appeal when it gave permission for the press to publish findings made in family proceedings in relation to the physical abuse, emotional abuse, rape and coercive behaviour that Kate Griffiths, MP for Burton upon Trent and Uttoxeter, experienced at the hands of her ex-husband Andrew Griffiths.
On Thursday, 20 January the latest Court of Appeal judgment was handed down stating that Ms Griffiths will not have to make a financial contribution towards supervised contact between the child she shares with Mr Griffiths.
Speaking after the judgment, Ms Griffiths said: “I am pleased that the judge has set aside the order in my appeal. Following this, there is now a strong presumption against victims paying the perpetrator’s costs of contact.
“The judge has also set aside an interim order for direct contact between my child and my rapist. I have long been a supporter of changing the presumption of a right of contact with children for a perpetrator of domestic abuse. I know from my work with constituents and victims of domestic abuse that all forms of abuse are insidious and corrosive and can have a long-lasting impact.”
This is another very important decision that will no doubt be influential for other cases and, hopefully, inspire victims of abuse to come forward, assert their legal rights and have their voices heard.
I am honoured to be the solicitor for such an inspiring woman who has continued to speak out against her abuser and instigate even more change. Her commitment to get this onto the statute books is heartening to each and every victim of abuse sitting at home, suffering in silence while appearing to have the perfect life.
I am advising a number of women, just like Kate Griffiths, across the country and together we are seeing some great results. The courts take abuse seriously and it is no longer brushed under the carpet.
It should never be the case that a victim of rape or domestic abuse is forced to contribute towards the costs of contact, which enables the abuser to see the children the victim is trying to protect, and it is important that the courts properly assess the serious risk of harm caused to children and victims from contact orders.
I’m glad that the court has acknowledged this, for both Kate Griffiths and her child, and hope that this judgment goes towards protecting other individuals who are going through a similar experience to that of Ms Griffiths.
The findings are set out in the judgment that can be found here.
About Melanie Bridgen
Melanie is a leading Partner in our expert Family Law team. She is a fearless, powerful solicitor who strives to empower and achieve the best outcome for her clients.
Melanie also acts for influential, prominent individuals and ex-patriates in complex cases including divorce, child arrangements orders, international relocation, child abduction, domestic abuse, parental alienation, care proceedings, adoption placement breakdown, deprivation of liberty and habitual residence jurisdiction.