Mel B’s family court petition for domestic violence training has reached almost 25,000 signatures

A family court petition filed by pop star Melanie Brown, calling on judges to take part in mandatory domestic violence training designed and conducted with experts, is approaching its target of 25,000 signatures.

Brown, a member of the Spice Girls, claims in her petition that family courts are unsafe for survivors of domestic violence and that judges now need training from experts working with women and children who have experienced violence, such as Women’s Aid. Brown has been a patron of Women’s Aid since 2018.

The petition says: ‘We know that around 60% of child arrangement cases in England and Wales involve domestic abuse, yet many judges do not understand this and call it ‘parental conflict.’ Women who fear for their children’s lives – knowing that their perpetrators could harm or even kill them during contact visits – are called troublemakers or accused of manipulation when they try to protect them. Every day, family court orders are made forcing women and children into contact with dangerous abusers – women tell Women’s Aid turning to family courts can be as bad as the violence itself.

“On behalf of victims of domestic abuse, I, Melanie Brown MBE, call on the Judicial College to engage in mandatory continuing education training, designed and led by experts. I also call on the Government to take responsibility for this and continue the recommendations made in the 2020 Harm Panel report, including the urgent change to say that in cases of domestic violence or serious harm we do not assume there should be contact – the safety of children must always Come first. “Our research shows that survivors don’t feel like they’re being heard or that their concerns are being addressed – it’s not good enough and we can’t wait any longer.”

To date, almost 21,000 people have signed the petition.

The Judicial Office stated: “The training of judicial staff is the responsibility of the College of Judges. All family judges and justices of the peace must undergo induction training before hearing any case, followed by regular follow-up training. Both include domestic violence training.