McKenzie Friend – specialists at supporting women affected by domestic abuse at Swindon Family Court

A devastating study involving 45 women who accused their partners of domestic abuse has highlighted serious health problems they have suffered as a result, they say, of biased family court proceedings. The research was led by Manchester university researches in partnership with others.

While the study is qualitative and self-reported and so not generalisable to the wider population, the women’s experiences now indicate a need for further research.

Led by University of Manchester researchers in partnership with members of SHERA Research Group and The Survivor Family Network, the UKRI funded study of the women and their 77 children will be published in the journal of family trauma, child custody and child development in the coming weeks.

The women told the researchers they attributed psychological conditions including  suicide ideation, memory loss, depression and flash backs on what they were going through in court.

They also said physical symptoms such as Crohn’s Disease , cancer, psoriasis, heart palpitations and miscarriage were either exacerbated by or directly associated with the court proceedings.

One respondent told how her mother had a heart attack in court and another how she lost her father to a heart attack also while proceedings were ongoing.

And a respondent told the research team how an acquaintance of hers had killed herself during court proceedings involving allegations of so-called ’parental alienation’.

Preparing for and attending Swindon Family Court can be a daunting and stressful experience, especially if you are a survivor of domestic abuse, coercive control, post separation control, harassment and stalking.

Women’s McKenzie Friend specialises in assisting women in child arrangements orders where there are safeguarding concerns. We understand risk, the dynamics of domestic abuse and how children are caught up in an abusive partner’s attempts to continue to control, punish and sabotage a mother’s attempts to protect themselves and their children from harm.

In many instances the family courts become a tool and are used as a weapon by the abusive parent and the whole court proceedings can create fear, apprehension, anxiety, stress, and overwhelm


We have two Women’s McKenzie Friends who cover the Swindon Magistrates and Combined Courts – Gemma and Mary – and we are here to offer assistance – you are not alone!

The family courts can be intimidating places for a number of reasons. You may be concerned about the following. We can help.

  • You may be unfamiliar with the court environment and process when attending court for the first time.
  • We understand you may feel stressed and anxious about what happens in the court room
  • You may have concerns that without support you will be unable to present your position as clear and focused as you would like and perhaps feel scared of making mistakes.
  • Many women say they feel scared of going blank, losing concentration, freezing under pressure or experiencing symptoms of panic and anxiety.
  • You may feel frightened of being in the same room as an ex-partner and are concerned about seeing and hearing them in court.
  • The thought of going to court with an abusive ex-partner can bring about unwanted memories, flashbacks and a sense of dread. The thought of being alone in the court room may feel overwhelming and you may decide a trusted, reassuring professional will make all the difference.
  • Alternatively you may have felt overwhelmed or frightened during a previous court hearing where you represented yourself and have now decided that having support on the day would greatly help you.
  • You may have felt let down by the courts and legal professionals where proceedings have commenced and where a fresh approach is sought.
  • You may have made a decision to be a Litigant in Person but who would like support in attending court on the day.

The court has a wide range of options available to it and no one can predict outcomes. However you should have every confidence that our support at court will place you front and centre: understanding your fears, anxiety and concerns. Our framework and foundation is to assist, support and respond in a calm reassuring manner with a professionally balanced and proportionate approach to all situations within court hearings.

Swindon Combined Court Address

The Law Courts Islington Street

Hours: 08.30 am to 5.00 pm

Swindon Combined Court Phone Numbers

Enquiries: 01793 690500

Swindon Combined Court Email

Emails Family queries:  basingstoke.court.enquiries@justice.gov.uk

“It was a huge relief to reach out and ask for support, which I had always thought was unaffordable and off limits.” Quote from a client

Please EMAIL us with details for a free half an hour call to discuss your court support needs.

Mary and Gemma