Research Output
Domestic abuse and child contact in Scotland: the perspectives of family law practitioners
  It is now well-established that children are adversely affected by domestic abuse, and that domestic abuse does not always cease following parental separation. However, the issue of post-separation child contact in the context of domestic abuse remains contentious, with some commentators arguing that contact may not always be in the ‘best interests’ of the child. In Scotland, the nature and extent of child contact applications remain under-researched, and little is known about the processes of argument and adjudication in contact decisions. This article draws on a survey of family law practitioners in Scotland undertaken to examine how, if at all, developments in domestic abuse proceedings and changing definitions in the context of criminal law in Scotland, inform the handling of child contact cases in the civil courts. The findings reveal that, whilst most respondents were of the view that information about domestic abuse strengthens the position of the party against child contact, there is a clear absence of systematic ways to gather and make available information about domestic abuse where it has occurred (or is still occurring) in cases involving child contact. The practice and policy implications of this for determining the ‘best interests’ of the child are discussed.

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    25 October 2023

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  • Funders:

    Scottish Government


Burman, M., Friskney, R., Mair, J., & Whitecross, R. (2023). Domestic abuse and child contact in Scotland: the perspectives of family law practitioners. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 45(3), 234-248.



Child contact, domestic abuse, Scotland, family law

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