Further Reading

Erin Pizzey’s “Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear”

The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it’s Broken
Macmillan, 2018
Focuses on criminal law, but exposes the myth used to justify severe cuts to legal aid that we have ‘the most expensive legal aid system in the world’

Fake Law: The truth about Justice in an age of Lies
Picador 2020
Includes further debunking of government and media spin.

Domestic Abuse: Law and Practice, 5th Edition
Bird, Roger
Family Law, 2006
Expresses practitioners’ ‘puzzlement’ at the DVCVA’s provisions , with its ‘obvious gaps and inconsistencies.’

Domestic Abuse: Law and Practice, 7th Edition
Bird, Roger
Family Law, 2018
Contains useful forms for civil and criminal protective orders. This edition is uncharacteristically apocalyptic in tone for a law text book. Domestic abuse is now decried as ‘a scourge’ and part of ‘human nature.’

In Your Defence : Stories of Life and Law
Langland, Sarah
Doubleday, 2018
A young barrister describes, among other horrors, a nail-biting  ‘Finding of Fact’ hearing, no longer a rarity, before magistrates in a child residency case.

Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights
Lewis, Helen
Cape 2019
Interviews Erin Pizzey. Also describes Harriet Harman’s work for women’s rights. Omits her championing of the DVCVA although this headed her cv in her winning bid for Labour’s Deputy Leadership in July 2007.

Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear
Pizzey, Erin
Penguin 1978
Part sociology, part memoir, how the plight of vulnerable women and children came to authorities’ attention, leading to the first civil law to protect them as they separated from violent partners.

The English Legal System 16th Edition
Slapper, G & Kelly, D
Routledge 2015
A respected Open University professor, the late Gary Slapper describes the ‘feminist’ ideology underpinning the DVCVA.


Prosecuting Domestic Violence 
Byron James, Barrister
Family Law, May 2007
Skilfully and succinctly demonstrates the extreme difficulties facing prosecutors and victims, and questions ‘the utility of the criminal law in assisting victims of domestic violence.’

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims, Act, Part 1: Is it Working? 
His Honour Judge John Platt
Family Law, July 2997
A survey a year after its implementation.

Victim or Criminal: The Interplay Between the ‘Failure to Protect’ Offence and Domestic Violence
Georgina Vallance-Webb
Faimly Law, May 2008
How abused women, typically underestimating the risk posed to their children by violent partners, face long custodial terms in addition to bereavement.

More Harm than Good
District Judge Edwina Millward
The Law Society Gazette, 3rd April 2008
Also reported in The Times. The then Chair of the District Judges Association supports the DVCVA’s repeal, in typical judicial understatement.


Specialist Domestic Violence Courts- how special are they?’
Baird, Vera
The former PCC for Northumbria studies some 220 criminal court cases in 2018, where she deplores cases collapsing from ‘no shows’ by complainants, suggesting courts should convict regardless. It contains the telling observation, ‘One half of all domestic murders occur after separation or following a victim’s decision to seek help by, for instance, calling the police and agreeing to testify.’

Is it fair then, I would say, to expect them to undergo criminal proceedings which could compound their personal difficulties and even cost their lives?

Women at risk failed by new domestic violence law, say judges
Gibb,F and Ford, R
The Times lead report, 14 April 2008
The MoJ ignored their plea. Is there a Times journalist willing to do a follow-up 12 years on?

Ofer, Nogah
51 page report, Centre for Women’s Justice, 19th March 2019
Shows how few police protective orders are made in contrast to numbers of civil non-molestation orders, despite enforcement problems caused by the DVCVA. Describes the criminal justice system ‘not fit for purpose.’

Domestic Abuse and Family Court Report
York IDAS: , March 2020
How local domestic abuse advisers are working with judges, solicitors and other professionals to help users of the family court without legal aid navigate the system.

Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Cases
MoJ, June 2020
A devastating report of a system under strain from lack of legal aid and ‘silo-ing.’  Claims a culture that too easily favours child contact with an allegedly abusive parent, yet where multiple ‘finding of fact’ hearings clog the system and are hard to list.

Note: Where a family court suspects abusive ex partners are pursuing child contact as a means of continuing their abuse against the mother, an order for supervised contact, an order for a child to be taken to a contact centre by a third party, is a good way of testing their good faith. ‘Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves/ Let them put their money where their mouth is,’ is a pragmatic alternative to a Finding of Fact hearing. Judges may, as a precaution, make a supervised contact order to follow such a hearing whether or not there is finding of abuse. We need more contact centres!

Miscellaneous Literature

Illuminating the psychology of domestic abuse, also useful for discussion with adults and young adult groups.

The Woman Who Walked into Doors
Boyle, Danny
Vintage, 1998
Gritty fictional portrayal of abused Irishwoman Paula Spencer, her third child ‘born by a fist,’ – a heroine who eventually triumphs.

Once in a House on Fire
Levy, Andrea
Picador, 1998
A daughter’s memoir of growing up with a mother seemingly addicted to abuse.

Cartwright, Jim
Methuen Modern Plays, 1994
Contains a tragic-comic cameo of brave but hapless young mum Lesley whose abusive partner subjects her to humiliating interrogation after graciously allowing her to visit the pub loo. 

Glaspell, Susan
A gem of a one-act play, written in 1916 so free to download online. Based on a murder Glaspell reported on as a young Iowan journalist.  A woman is in custody after her rancher husband is found bludgeoned to death in their bed, a noose bizarrely placed round his neck. While the Sheriff and District Attorney barge about seeking a motive, their wives notice the little clues or ‘trifles’ that pin the murder on her – but choose to conceal them.

My Last Duchess
Browning, Robert
Poem as dramatic monologue, the speaker a violently jealous Italian aristocrat showing a visitor pictures in his gallery, including one of his late wife, whose ready smiles had to be stopped.

I only lie to save my life
Williams, Jan
A short dramatic monologue set on the top deck of a Number 36 bus from Harrogate to Leeds. Emailed free on request (contact Jan).