Archive for May, 2011

May 30, 2011

Welcome to the new Leading Lights Services – Sheffield, Kent, Cardiff, Leicestershire and Southampton

We are really delighted that a further 5 specialist domestic abuse services have signed up for our coaching and accreditation programme – Leading Lights.  They are:

  • Vida in Sheffield
  • Cardiff Women’s Aid
  • Oasis Domestic Abuse Services in Kent
  • Women’s Aid Leicestershire
  • Southampton IDVA Service

They join 9 fully accredited services and about 30 others who are currently going through the programme. The CAADA Leading Lights programme recognises safe and consistent practice among IDVA services. The accreditation programme, which is based upon practical and effective policies and processes, offers a clear path towards consistent standards of care across the IDVA sector and has now been adopted by several commissioners around the country.  We are delighted about this as we believe that the Leading Lights framework represents a sound and high quality basis for commissioning.


May 26, 2011

Interesting new research on importance (or not) of shared parenting

This new research from Oxford University looks at the impact of shared parenting on the outcomes for children whose parents are separated.  It is important because there are two Private Members Bills before the House that are seeking to make the presumption of shared parenting the default position in contact cases.  The research stresses that it is the quality of the relationships rather than the absolute amount of time spent with a non-resident parent that is key – something which our wise former colleague, Dr Emma Howarth told me at weekly intervals….

Family Law.

May 25, 2011

So it has come to this? Life after Legal Aid?

Will this be the first in a long line of best sellers?  Go to to find what looks like the first ‘how-to’ guide on represent oneself in the Family Courts as a litigant in person.  Hmmm, however good any book like this is, it doesn’t feel like ‘access to justice’ to me.

May 23, 2011

Update from Home Office Meeting

I attended the stakeholders meeting on Friday. Headlines included 144 IDVA posts and 53 MARAC coordinator posts funded. Also the piloting of domestic violence protection orders will start this summer in West Mercia, Manchester and Wiltshire. The HO is also funding 87 ISVA posts.

May 22, 2011

Concessions expected in legal aid bill due next month

Watch this space on the 30th May.  Rumours that definition of domestic violence will be broadened.  Perhaps common sense will prevail.

Concessions expected in legal aid bill due next month | The Law Gazette.

May 21, 2011

Family Drug and Alcohol Court Evaluation

I was lucky to be able to visit the first Family Drug and Alcohol court a few months ago and was very impressed.  Now we have the first evaluation of its work.  The court combines intensive support for parents with substance misuse problems, with close liaison and very clear boundaries with the Family Justice system.  The results show that more children are able to stay safely with their parents than is normally the case and where they are unable to control their substance misuse safely, then decisions are taken more quickly about the long term care of their children.  And of course, the percentage of families who have experienced domestic abuse as well as substance misuse…..?  Almost 100%.

For more on the evaluation click below:

Family Law.

May 21, 2011

With all the noise about rape sentences – here are some facts

The Guardian very helpfully has sent out the breakdown of rape sentences – so perhaps we can all use some facts in this debate?


Factcheck: Was Ken Clarke right that rapists serve at least a year in jail? | Politics |

May 20, 2011

Criminalising Forced Marriage?

The Home Affairs Select Committee announced yesterday that it supported the criminalising of forced marriage while maintaining the civil offence.  This has some relevance to the EU convention on Violence Against Women which our Government has been cautious about endorsing.  The main reason for the caution I understand, is because the convention sees Forced Marriage as a criminal offence.   It is potentially very important for the wider policy and funding for VAW services if this convention is implemented here, so watch this space.

Family Law.

May 17, 2011

£3m package for women’s community justice services

Some good news at last….

Ministry of Justice

£3m package for women’s community projects

11 May 2011

Work to address women’s offending can continue at 26 community projects thanks to a one off £3.2m funding deal between the National Offender Management Service and the Corston Independent Funders’ Coalition.

Local projects to turn women away from crime and help them address their problems have been up and running for two years after receiving an initial grant from the Ministry of Justice. Following the additional funding announced today these projects will now work to establish funding through local partnerships.

This funding will mean women’s community services can continue to deliver approved programmes including drug and alcohol treatment whilst working in collaboration with probation, police and other agencies.

Minister for Prisons and Probation, Crispin Blunt, said:

‘I am delighted to see an example of local communities playing a fundamental role in criminal justice. This one-off funding package from National Offender Management Service (NOMS and the Corston Coalition will keep the doors to these centres open for 2011/12. However, it has always been the aim to embed the projects locally and going forward this will be a key focus for each centre.’

In 2012/13, it is a NOMS commitment to continue funding projects with a proven track record of tackling offending behaviour amongst women.

As part of the 2007 Corston Review, Baroness Corston made clear that women who do not pose a risk to the public, must be diverted from custody. Since then, considerable work has been done to rehabilitate women through intensive community punishment coupled with support and these projects are the driving force behind this work.

Peter Kilgarriff, Chief Executive of the LankellyChase Foundation, representing the Corston Coalition, said:

‘The Corston Coalition is delighted to be working with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that women’s community services remain an integral part of the criminal justice system. We are particularly pleased that NOMS have committed to commission effective services into the future from 2012. We look forward to more women getting a chance to change their lives and stop offending.’

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be publishing our response to the Green Paper consultation, Breaking the Cycle, which sets out our plan to overhaul the way offenders are punished and rehabilitated.

May 15, 2011

Fantastic CAADA runners!

We had a great team of CAADA runners who completed the Bristol 10k in record speed today, and a trusty band of supporters.  It was great to witness the sea of people taking part and our special CAADA t-shirts whizzing past.  Even those who had not be forecast to finish strongly proved the pundits wrong….no names mentioned!  We haven’t finished counting the total raised but it is a great effort – thank you.