Contact plans too risky, say charities

Women’s Aid has criticised the green paper on children’s contact
with separated parents for not including adequate safeguards for
those affected by domestic violence.

The charity said risk assessments needed to be carried out before
contact orders are granted by courts in cases involving violence in
the home.

Allegations of abuse have been highlighted in around 30 per cent of
cases but courts refused contact in just 1 per cent, leaving
children at risk “especially with the current shortage of
supervised contact centres,” according to the charity, which wants
a change in the law so that contact is not awarded until it is
proved to be safe.

Barnardo’s has also criticised the bill, arguing its proposals are
not “child-centred” enough.

Principal policy officer Alan Coombe said that 25 per cent of
children whose parents had separated acrimoniously were never given
an explanation about why they were fighting.

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