Charities applaud recognition of domestic violence in contact orders

Children’s charity the NSPCC has welcomed
amendments to the Children and Adoption Bill that will make courts
take into account the impact of domestic violence on a child when
making contact orders.

changes will apply to applications for contact and residence, and
also to all proceedings where the court applies the welfare
checklist under the Children Act 1989.

Margaret Moran, Labour MP for
Luton South, chairperson of the all-party select committee on
domestic violence, said she tabled the amendments so that the
presumption in future cases would be that contact with an abusive
parent is going to have an adverse effect.

the first time, domestic violence becomes a child protection issue,
and this is a major step forward in plugging a loophole in the law
that has placed children in jeopardy,” she said.

Earlier this year, the NSPCC,
Women’s Aid and a coalition of other children’s charities called on
the government to amend the Children Act to prevent unsupervised
contact with abusive parents. The coalition has welcomed the
amendments, which also have the effect of extending the legal
definition of “significant harm” under the act. However, it added
that the changes did not go far enough.

Atkinson, policy adviser at the NSPCC, said: “It is a major
breakthrough in protecting children to recognise that children do
suffer under situations of domestic violence, and domestic violence
is often an indicator that children are at risk of abuse

“However, these amendments do not
go far enough to protect children from potentially harmful
situations. Urgent amendments are needed to protect children being
abused during unsupervised contact visits with parents, in private

NSPCC, Women’s Aid and the coalition of children’s charities have
pledged to continue to lobby for these changes to the law so that
courts are required to ensure that arrangements for children are

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