Social work warned on unsafe contact

Social work practitioners should not “collude” with child contact arrangements that could endanger children, a Community Care conference on domestic violence heard last week.

Jane Booth, corporate director and lead on domestic violence at the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, said children’s safety could be compromised if contact arrangements were made under pressure.

She referred to a 2004 report from Women’s Aid that said 29 children in England and Wales were killed between 1994 and 2004 as a result of contact arrangements.

Booth also warned that new local safeguarding children boards might be “excluded” from domestic violence planning because it “tends to be police focused”.

The conference also heard claims that the needs of women affected by both domestic violence and substance misuse were not being met.

Sarah Galvani, social work lecturer at Birmingham University, said victims had to choose between “safety or sobriety” because very few agencies catered for such complex needs.

Women’s Aid research from

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