Charities demand law change to protect children of offending parents

Campaigners are demanding the government change the law to
prevent abusive parents, including schedule one sex offenders, from
having unsupervised contact with their children, writes
Alex Dobson
A coalition of children’s charities led by the NSPCC and
Women’s Aid are calling on the government to urgently amend
the Children Act 1989 to give greater protection to children.
Chris Atkinson, policy advisor for the NSPCC, said: “Urgent action
is required to address the risk children are being placed in when
the courts grant unsupervised contact with the parent who has
abused them. A man who has been convicted of a schedule one offence
would not be allowed to drive a school bus, but could be granted
unsupervised contact with the children he has abused.”

Since 1998, nine children have been killed by their fathers
during contact visits, and the charities say that children are
still being put in danger. They are pressing for an amendment to
the legislation that would mean that when violent parents apply for
contact or residence, the family courts have to look at all the
relevant evidence before assessing the risk and then take all
reasonable steps to protect the child.
* Margaret Moran MP, chairperson of the all party parliamentary
group on domestic violence, is to put down an amendment on the
issue to the standing committee on the Adoption and Children

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