“Is there a human being behind that?” Domestic abuse training for family lawyers

This evaluation report by SafeLives demonstrates the transformative impact of specialist domestic abuse training on family lawyers working with clients experiencing harm.

This report also details the current state of awareness, understanding and support for victims of domestic abuse across the family court system, putting survivors’ experiences at the heart of a series of recommendations.

Domestic abuse is a prominent feature of any family lawyer’s workload. It is crucial that family lawyers fully understand the dynamics of abuse, how experiences of domestic abuse can impact children at the heart of cases, and how trauma can impact a survivor’s ability to give best evidence.

We know from previous research with survivors of domestic abuse that many family lawyers lack this vital knowledge and, as a result, survivors are left feeling disbelieved or ignored by their legal representation, and traumatised by their time in the family courts.

SafeLives is calling on the Ministry of Justice to fund further training and put domestic abuse at the centre of its planned ‘reinvigoration’ of Local Family Justice Boards. The report also calls on law schools to ensure understanding of domestic abuse is a key feature of the family law curriculum, while encouraging solicitors’ firms, chambers, and Inns of Court to make domestic abuse training sessions available for all family lawyers.


Now that I have had the training it provides me with great insight and a better approach to helping and understanding clients.


    Of family lawyers who have undertaken SafeLives’ new specialist domestic abuse training:

  • 78%

    (over three-quarters) said it would have a profound impact on how they interact with clients.

  • 90%

    now feel equipped to take a trauma-informed approach in their work with victims, survivors, and their children.

Domestic abuse training for family lawyers

When developing our one-day training, we undertook discovery research with survivors of domestic abuse, family legal professionals, and domestic abuse practitioners.
Two people in suits walking towards a court door.

Training for family lawyers

Domestic abuse training for family lawyers empowers family lawyers to take a trauma-informed approach to representing survivors of domestic abuse, understand the dynamics of abuse, recognise the effect of trauma on clients’ presentation, explain the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people, and enable clients to achieve best evidence. Moreover, the course keeps learners up to date with recent statute and case law.