Almost 30 children have been killed by their fathers in the past
decade as a result of child contact and residence arrangements in
England and Wales, according to a report published today,
writes Clare Jerrom.
The 29 children were in 13 families and 10 of these children
were killed in the last two years. Contact was ordered by the court
with regards to five families.
“Women’s Aid believes all children have a right to
enjoy contact with both parents after separation, provided that it
is safe for all,” said Nicola Harwin, director of
Women’s Aid, which published the study
“However, it is vital that additional safeguards and
protection measures are in place to protect children from further
abuse,” she added.
The report, launched today at the All Party Parliamentary Group
on Domestic Violence AGM, highlights how dangerous contact with a
violent parent can be for children.
It also finds that:-
• Domestic violence was involved with 11 out of the 13
• Nine out of the 13 fathers who killed their children had
mental health problems
• In several cases, professionals did not talk directly to
the children to assess their needs
The charity is calling on government to improve child
protection, risk assessment and training with regard to domestic
violence, and to ensure that family court professionals are held
accountable for decisions which result in children being killed or
The report highlights that in other professions, where a person
makes a decision that results directly or indirectly in the death
of a child, there are usually ways of holding that person to
account. However judges are immune from prosecution with regard to
“We urgently need the government to address accountability
in the family justice system, radically improve safety and
protection, and ensure that no more children are put in
danger,” concluded Harwin.
Report:- Twenty nine child homicides: lessons still to be learnt
from domestic violence and child protection from www.womensaid.org.uk