Coventry mum nearly killed by violent ex-partner calls for shake-up of courts system

Coventry mum nearly killed by violent ex-partner calls for shake-up of courts system

10 December 2015

Originally published in The Coventry Telegraph 

Sam Dimmer

A domestic abuse survivor who was nearly killed by her violent ex-boyfriend has called for a shake up of the court system.

 

Following the brutal attack by Jason Smith in her Coventry home in February 2014, Zoe Dronfield had to appear in a several different courts on numerous occasions to sort out criminal and family issues arising from the incident.

 

It left the 39-year-old having to deal with simultaneous court cases – with different judges ruling on different aspects of her life.

 

“What you need is one specialist court which would get a full holistic view of everything,” she said.

 

“I was summonsed to two court hearings on the same day.

 

“Obviously Jason needed to get sent down for what he did to me but the other matter was more important.

 

“The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.

 

“There was no continuity whatsoever and because of that half of the time I found myself doing the courts’ job for them.

 

“You need to have one judge in one court overseeing it but you also need one administrator pulling everything together.

 

“Specialist domestic violence courts would mean that cases are dealt with by one judge rather than everyone being dragged through civil criminal and family.

 

“It’s all a waste of time money and emotionally damaging to the victim.”

 

Miss Dronfield spoke out after justice secretary Michael Gove said he was impressed by US style “problem-solving” courts that sees one judge dealing with criminal and civil aspects of a case.

 

A report published earlier this week supported the introduction of specialist domestic abuse courts which could deal with criminal, civil and family aspects of cases.

 

Zoe was stabbed in the neck by Smith – who is currently serving a ten-year sentence for the vicious attack.

 

He punched, kicked and stabbed her in a “sustained attack” which left her with stab wounds, bleeding to the brain, a broken nose and right wrist, and cuts and bruises to her face and shoulder.

 

Since the attack Zoe has reinvented herself as a campaigner on domestic violence and stalking issues, joining national calls for a stalking register to be introduced.

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