Government rejects calls for law on child contact arrangements

    The government has rejected calls by campaigners to introduce a
    law that would prevent separated parents being granted contact with
    their children until it is proven to be safe, writes
    Sally Gillen.

    Campaigners, including Women’s Aid, had called for the
    change in submissions to the green paper on parental separation,
    published last July.

    But in the follow-up document published today, the government
    says it will not make the change.

    Instead it will introduce a gateway form that will allow courts
    to be informed about allegations of domestic violence at the
    beginning of a case, and an integrated domestic violence court will
    be set up.

    Extra funding for contact centres was also announced by
    education secretary Ruth Kelly, which will see funding increased by
    £3 million in 2006/07 and £5 million in 2007/08.

    A bill will be published within a fortnight setting out new
    powers for courts to use in ensuring contact orders are properly
    enforced, which are likely to include fines and unpaid work within
    the community.

    Parental separation: Children’s Needs and Parents’
    Responsibilities  www.tso.co.uk/bookshop

     

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