In preparation for the coming into force of the Domestic Abuse Act 2023, and as part of HM Government of Gibraltar’s commitment to tacking domestic abuse, the Minister for Justice, Samantha Sacramento MP, organised the delivery of two days of training, one day to the Judiciary and the other to the Royal Gibraltar Police and members of the Bar.
The training was commissioned from the Judicial College of England and Wales and was delivered by two of their judicial trainers, one of whom attended in person and the other remotely.
Her Honour Judge Sue Williscroft, the Designated Family Judge for Derbyshire whose work includes hearing some of the most complex family cases involving allegations of abuse and managing some of the most vulnerable witnesses focussed on the family law implications of the new Act. Judge Williscroft also spoke on the impact of trauma on the giving of evidence and how measures could be put in place to protect the most vulnerable witnesses in such cases.
Judge Hina Rai, a District Judge who sits in crime, Immigration and Extradition, and former Crown Prosecutor attended in person and focussed on the new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour, the definition of domestic abuse and the impact of the new law on criminal proceedings.
The training sessions were attended by all of Gibraltar’s Supreme Court Judiciary, the Stipendiary Magistrate, other judicial officers, Justices of the Peace, police officers who deal with domestic abuse cases and over 30 members of the local bar who practice mainly in family and criminal law. These workshops build upon the Ministry of Justice’s Strategic Group on Domestic Abuse’s work with a number of key stake-holders to prepare for the new Act.
Minister for Justice, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP, said, “I am very happy to have organised these two days of training where different groups of stakeholders were able to receive bespoke training from experienced UK Judges who are experts in the area of dealing with domestic abuse in the courts. My sincere thanks go to the Judicial College of England and Wales, Judge Rai and Her Honour Judge Williscroft for sharing their valuable knowledge and insight with us. I would also like to thank the Chief Justice and the CEO of the Gibraltar Court Service MS Hazel Cumbo MBE for the use of the courts during these two days as well as all the stakeholders whose attendance acknowledges the importance that they give to being a part of breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.”
The Chief Justice Anthony Dudley, said, “I would like to thank the Minister for Justice for organising judicial training on this important area. Both Judge Rai and Judge Williscroft were able to provide our judges and magistrates with practical examples of their experiences with the new law and best practice in dealing with witnesses in such cases. The training was very well received by our judiciary and I am sure it will prove to be of great use once the new legislation is commenced.”