Archive for April, 2011

April 29, 2011

Inequality and Homicide – the links?

Maybe everyone else knows this stuff already but it was new to me.  This research from the Equality Trust highlights international research about inequalities in income being linked to homicide rates – perhaps something to be alert to in the coming years as there is a clear risk that these will increase?  Click on the link to read the full article:

Research Digest: Violent Crime | The Equality Trust.

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April 23, 2011

Privacy and paedophilia: who should get to know?

In another really thought provoking post from the UK Human Rights Blog, Isabel McArdle sets out the findings from the Court of Appeal judgement (H and L v A City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 403) about the disclosures made by local authority to other organisations about a person’s conviction for a sex offence against a child.  The Court found that a blanket approach to disclosure was not lawful and that the parties concerned should have been given the opportunity to make representations on the matter before a decision to disclose was made.

Privacy and paedophilia: who should get to know? « UK Human Rights Blog.

On a more modest note, we had a query this week about whether it is lawful to make disclosures from MARAC minutes as part of a CRB check.  Our advice has always been that disclosures need to be proportionate and there needs to be a pressing need to disclose.  We need to balance the impact of disclosure with the benefits it might bring in the context of the risks posed.  So once again, good judgement is essential.

April 23, 2011

News for Practitioners – Getting Pt IV FLA injunctions

In addition to the changes to the Family Procedure Rules noted earlier this month with regard to mediation, there are also some important practical changes about applying for injunctions under Pt IV of the Family Law Act 1996.  These are explained succinctly by Steve Connor from the NCDV on a You Tube video which you can find here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cc9p1SBzVU

The key points include s10.2 which means that applicants will no longer provide a sworn affidavit but rather a ‘statement of truth’ which does not need to be sworn by the Court staff or a relevant barrister or solicitor, but does need to be signed by the applicant.  S10.6 clarifies some of the confusion which arose after the implementation of the DVCVA about whether or not injunctions had to be served in person, or whether they could be served by text message for example.  The new procedures make it clear that they do have to be served in person.

Please take note as the feedback we are getting is that literally hundreds of injunctions are being prepared according to the old rules and thus cannot be implemented.

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April 17, 2011

EU Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against women and domestic violence

Perhaps not the catchiest title, but despite reservations from a number of countries including the UK, the committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a new convention against Violence against women.

It foresees creating a legal framework to prevent violence and to protect victims. It will need ratification by the government which I guess might not happen quickly. We are trying to understand what the Government’s caution is about ratifying convention, and when we have the answer we will let you know!

April 17, 2011

The Voice of the Child…or the Deafness of Adults?

Ofsted has just published a report entitled “The voice of the child: learning lessons from serious case reviews” which looks at the themes coming out of 67 serious case reviews for a total of 93 children held between April and September 2010.  The messages that come out are very familiar by now and make one wonder why these same points come up again and again?

Children were not seen frequently enough or asked about their views and feelings.  Agencies didn’t listen to the adults who tried to speak on behalf of the child.  Parents and carers prevented professionals from seeing the child and focused too much on the needs of the parents.  Agencies failed to interpret their findings well enough to protect the child.

When one goes into the detail a few other things come out.  There is a really broad responsibility to identify children at risk and then to refer to specialists- one review asks how they can engage the general public in safeguarding- an ambitious task perhaps?  The invisibility of fathers and male partners both as a risk and as a potential safeguard is highlighted.  Shockingly, the report reminds us that if practitioners feel concerned for their own safety going to a home they should ‘consider the implications of risk to children’  How can we forget this?

For me the report underlines two things.  Firstly, the need for good training and supervision for all practitioners working with children and those working with adults who live with domestic abuse, substance misuse, mental health problems and homelessness.  There are many cases where the professionals didn’t listen enough, a few where they listened ‘too much’.  Every case has its own unique features.  We need professionals with the confidence to use their own judgement- let’s hope our CPD programme with its focus on safeguarding children living with domestic abuse helps to address this.  (http://www.caada.org.uk/Training/CPD_safeguarding%20children_about%20the%20course.htm)

The second message is the need for Children’s Services and LSCBs to link in with MARACs and use this forum as an existing means to access additional information and support for children.  The report underlines again the need for multi agency work.  In practice, we know that many areas are struggling to get consistent engagement from Children’s Services with their MARAC.

The report from Ofsted can be found at http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/Ofsted-home/Publications-and-research/Browse-all-by/Documents-by-type/Thematic-reports/The-voice-of-the-child-learning-lessons-from-serious-case-reviews

April 10, 2011

New Family Procedure Rules from April 6th

The new Family Procedure rules mean that anyone seeking an order in relation to their children or in relation to money when getting a divorce will be obliged to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting where their suitability for mediation will be assessed.  Over 90% of cases are resolved out of court, so this does raise the risk that mediation is offered where it is not appropriate, and also means that couples may have to use unregulated mediators who may not bring the skill and training of qualified mediators or solicitors.  To find out more click here  Family Law.

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April 6, 2011

Major changes to the Family Justice System proposed – we would like to hear your thoughts

We had news yesterday of the feedback from the Family Justice Review which proposes some MAJOR changes to the way that the Family Justice system is organised including the creation of a single Family Justice Board and the integration of the work of Cafcass as part of a new Family Justice service.  There is now an opportunity to comment on the recommendations of the Family Justice Review and we would love to hear your thoughts as we prepare our response.

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April 1, 2011

Finally….after quite a wait..

The Home Office has announced that Domestic Homicide Reviews will be implemented (as set out originally in the DVC&VA 2004) from 13th April.  Guidance on their implementation can be downloaded from the Home Office website as well as an online training tool and leaflets on the review process for friends, family members and colleagues.  Click below for more info

Conducting domestic homicide reviews | Home Office.