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The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently published a response to the independent review commissioned to evaluate how the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) supports users who are victims of domestic abuse. 

DWP have accepted 8 of the 10 recommendations within the review and promises to implement new measures to protect survivors from direct contact with abusers, make improvements to domestic abuse staff training and one to one support for survivors is to be trialled.
Survivors of domestic abuse will now be given the choice to allow the CMS to collect and make payments on their behalf, without the need for consent from an abusive ex-partner. This should prevent perpetrators from utilising child maintenance as an ongoing form of financial abuse and control – meaning victims will not have to have contact with their ex-partner if there is evidence of domestic abuse. 

A further measure is to ensure that all CMS users are asked if they have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse – if users believe that their claim will put them in danger they will be directed to support e.g. the National Domestic Violence Helpline and asked to contact the police. 

If a CMS user is in immediate danger the CMS will offer advice on contacting the police and if the individual is unable to do this, CMS staff will ask whether the customer is comfortable for CMS to make the call to the police on their behalf.

The changes come after the DWP commissioned Dr Samantha Callan, a leading expert on domestic abuse, in the autumn of 2021 to review CMS support for parents who had experienced domestic abuse in setting up a child maintenance arrangement.

It is encouraging to note that positive changes are being made following the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 in addition to the government publishing its Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan containing £230 million of investments to assist in reducing acts of Domestic Abuseclair. 

It will be interesting to see whether the government provides any further preventative strategies to reduce Domestic Abuse and whether the CMS’s new recommendations provides reassurance and assistance to victims across the UK. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse and requires assistance and advice with regards to your rights and protections, our experienced family team are here to assist. 

If you wish to make an enquiry please call 01484 821500 or alternatively, you can email me at or submit any questions via our online enquiry form.