Read the full speech from Basildon's own Ellie Yarrow-Sanders, who spoke at Parliament Square last week as part of a protest by The Court Said.

Ellie was thrust into the spotlight in December last year when she took her three-year-old son Ollie and fled family court litigation with her ex-partner.

Since returning months later her court case has resumed in private, but she has thrown her backing to campaigns for the system to be changed.

Since 2017 I have experienced the family court system. Before, I was of the naïve opinion that if a mother was with her child, then there was obviously something wrong with her, she was a danger, or a bad mother.

I can’t believe how wrong I was, I’m ashamed, especially now I know how many people supported me whilst I was away. I will be forever grateful for that.

People do know what goes on; if people look, they will find the dark truth.

The media, like us, are gagged from reporting the truth. They are legally bound to report on cases the way the court want the story told, with little detail and findings are kept secret. The truth is lost leaving the victims feeling silenced and ridiculed. This is what is wrong.

We do not have transparency and do not have open justice in family court.

I cannot speak about my case as it is still ongoing, but I will say that it has been the worst experience of my and my family’s lives.

Thurrock Gazette:

The system is clearly open to manipulation, especially for victims of domestic abuse.

The laws and practices within the family court system are absurd, and confusing to normal people. And are rarely followed diligently unless it is challenged, and unless you have the right legal team to help you and the right judge to listen.

It’s inherently flawed, and without the input of all different survivors of domestic abuse and the education of those most integral to the system, be that judges, barristers, social workers, right down to the clerk, nothing will change and further abuse of victims and their children will continue.

I will work towards there being a law that any safeguarding professional will be legally bound to report any abusive behaviour if they witness it.

It isn’t just moral obligation, but it is imperative in ensuring that no more lives are negatively affected by a perpetrator, meaning that the right solutions are in force.

Thurrock Gazette:

The legal definition of abuse should be known to all safeguarding professionals; training and code of conduct and practice needs to be in place. If this isn’t in place then there is no capability of safeguarding, meaning vulnerable victims are failed again.

When I’ve mentioned this to any legal professionals I have been answered with ‘we wouldn’t be able to represent our clients if we had to report that sort of behaviour, it’s a conflict of interest’.

To me, that’s just appalling. The perpetrator’s rights to representation are being put above victim safety and justice. This needs to be rectified and soon.

In theory, if anyone were to witness an act of abuse, we would have to report what we see, but again people turn a blind eye and accept that abuse is an everyday occurrence, it’s normalised. And if we do report more times than not, we’re branded as liars and alienators.

This sadly says a lot about our society and our inability to protect victims and understand the situations they experience whilst dramatizing perpetrators and hear they are known as ‘nice’ to others.

This is why we need a specific law; we need to stop victim blaming. What I have experienced in family court is not isolated, we are dismissed as people who need to move passed our abuse and just accept what happened without any accountability of behalf of our abusers.

We are left lost in a system we are told will protect us and listen to us, to understand the trauma that we have been through, only to be told to get over it and co parent without any issues.

I’m trying to rebuild my faith in the system and trying to trust that all victims will be protected. I will try until this is achieved.

Thurrock Gazette: