UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Child Friendly Family Courts: The Way Forward

11 November 2023, 10:00 am–5:00 pm

Statue of Justice on a domed roof

An exciting opportunity to explore and overcome barriers in achieving child and adult abuse victims' safety and wellbeing in family court.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson – UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Jeffery Hall
Institute of Education, UCL
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

Survivor Family Network, UCL and Brunel University London invite you to a conference hosted by UCL to explore the barriers to achieving the safety and wellbeing of child and adult survivors of domestic abuse involved in family court proceedings and how these can be overcome.

The prevalence of domestic abuse in private law family court proceedings involving disputes between divorcing or separating couples over post-separation arrangements for their children is considerably higher than in the general population. Annually, up to an estimated 32,400 child arrangements cases in England and Wales involve domestic abuse. A substantial body of research shows that child contact arrangements can be the key site for continued, more serious abuse. In the international context, latest statistics show that 88% of ‘taking’ parents involved in proceedings under the 1980 Hague Convention are primary carers, the vast majority of whom are mothers, and it is estimated that 75% of Hague Convention cases involve allegations of domestic abuse.

This full-day conference aims to assist professionals in developing a deeper understanding of current issues for child and adult survivors of domestic abuse involved in family court and Hague Convention proceedings, and how law and practice could be transformed to develop a trauma-informed family justice system that prioritises their needs and welfare and amplifies the voice of the child. It will provide a valuable opportunity to build new connections and learn from others, with refreshments throughout the day and lunch.


10:00 – 10:30 Registration

10:30 – 11:15 Keynote speakers

11:15 – 11:30 Refreshments

11:30 – 12:30 Lawfare and post-separation abuse

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch (provided)

13:30 – 14:45 Child removal and experts

14:45 – 15:45 The 1980 Hague Convention and migrant women

16:00 – 17:00 Drinks reception and networking


Keynote speakers

  • High level legal representative 
  • Professor Rosemary Hunter, Kent University
  • Danielle Pollack, National Family Violence Law Center at GW, Washington, D.C
  • Dr. Charlotte Proudman, Right to Equality

Panel 1: Lawfare and post-separation abuse

  • Chair: Natalie Page, Survivor Family Network
  • Katie Spearman, John Hopkins School of Nursing 
  • Dr Aleisha Ebrahimi, UCL Faculty of Laws and Senior Policy Advisor, Domestic Abuse Commissioner   
  • Dr Emma Katz, Associate Professor, Durham University

Panel 2: Child removal and experts

  • Chair: Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, Associate Professor, UCL
  • Dr Rachael Grey, CEO Founder Project Lighthouse 
  • Survivors 

Panel 3: Hague Abduction Convention and migration

  • Chair: Kim Fawcett, Lecturer, Brunel University London 
  • Dr Adrienne Barnett, Reader, Brunel University London   
  • Anita Gera, Hague Mothers
  • Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson, Associate Professor, UCL

Accessibility information

There is step-free access to the room from the reception in Bedford Way and accessible toilets on the same floor.

Please find full information about the venue on the Accessable website:

How to get here