The Ministry of Justice (‘MoJ’) has released its latest statistics on the work of the Family Court, for July to September 2019. Some of the highlights of the report include:
- On average, care proceedings took longer with fewer disposals within 26 weeks
The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 33 weeks in July to September 2019, up three weeks from the same quarter in 2018. 42% of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down nearly 10 % compared with the same period for 2018.
- General upward trend in the number of forced marriage protection orders and female genital mutilation protection orders
In July to September 2019 there were 101 applications for Forced Marriages, of which 69% of applicants were aged 17 and under. Over the same period, there were 140 orders made, almost double the number of orders made in the same period from the previous year. The increase in the number of orders does not necessarily represent an increase in the prevalence of forced marriage, but a greater awareness of forced marriage being a crime.
The number of applications and orders made for female genital mutilation protection orders (FGMPOs) is very small, with only 33 applications and 71 orders made respectively in July to September 2019. In total, there have been 408 applications and 489 orders made up to the end of September 2019, since their introduction in July 2015.
- Increase in the number of domestic violence orders made
There were 8,839 domestic violence orders made in July to September 2019, up 18% from the same period last year, also representing the highest number since the beginning of the time series in 2009. 93% were non-molestation orders and 7% were occupation orders, with non-molestation orders up 19% and occupation orders up 9% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2018.
The increase in orders may be linked to changes in legislation which were introduced in January 2018 – this included expanding the scope of existing evidence and completely removing the time limit from all forms of evidence for domestic abuse.
To review the latest family court statistics, click here.