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MP seeks ban on domestic abusers seeing their kids

Kate Kniveton
Kate Kniveton says she believes she was "dangerously close" to being let down by the legal system

The ex-wife of a former Conservative minister - who was found to have raped and physically abused her - has said she was "dangerously close" to being let down by the legal system.

Conservative MP for Burton Kate Kniveton is calling on the government to change the law to bring about a presumption of no contact between an abusive parent and their children.

There is currently no blanket ban on a domestic abuse perpetrator having contact with their children, which Ms Kniveton said puts children and victims at risk.

Ms Kniveton’s ex-husband, Andrew Griffiths, said he had a loving and meaningful relationship with their child and said court action brought by Ms Kniveton had badly let their child down.

Speaking in the Commons about her experience for the first time, Ms Kniveton said she was "traumatised" by the 10 years of abuse she suffered at the hands of ex-husband Andrew Griffiths.

She said: “Despite the court confirming that my child's father was abusive, a rapist, it was decided that contact should continue through a contact centre and that I should pay for 50% of the cost of that contact.

“I couldn't believe that anyone felt that my child, whom I'd been fighting to protect, would benefit from further contact with such an abusive and violent man, and that I, someone who had been subjected to that violent behaviour, should not only facilitate that contact, but also pay towards it.”

She added: “I stand in the chamber today as a supposed winner, congratulated on succeeding against my ex-husband, but I stand here quite frankly drained financially and emotionally.”

Andrew Griffiths
Former Tory minister Andrew Griffiths can only contact his child through letters

Justice minister Mike Freer confirmed a review into the presumption of parental involvement would be published by "late spring or early summer".

He said the "acts of abuse perpetrated by the ex-partner" of Ms Kniveton were "clearly and totally abhorrent".

Mr Freer added: "The government is very mindful of the need to ensure that where it is safe a child should benefit from the involvement of both parents in their lives, but I do stress, where it is safe."

In February, a High Court judge ruled that Mr Griffiths should have no direct contact with his child in the "reasonably short term".

Mr Griffiths, former MP for Burton, was previously found to have pressured Ms Kniveton into engaging in sexual activity as well as raping her multiple times.

In a 2021 ruling, Judge Elizabeth Williscroft also found he had assaulted and used "coercive and controlling behaviour" against Ms Kniveton, who is now the MP for the same constituency.

Mr Griffiths denies that he raped Ms Kniveton.

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