The full report comprises some 262 pages, but a 9-page 'Briefing Note' can be found here. The main element in the research was a detailed analysis of court files in 308 cases with a contact application in 2004, drawn from eleven courts. The applicants were almost all (289; 77%) non-resident parents, typically fathers (265). Key findings of the report included the following:
- Outcomes were typically agreed. It was rare for the court to have to make a final ruling.
- Most cases ended with face to face contact.
- Non-resident parents were largely successful in getting direct contact where there had been none and in getting the type of contact sought.
- Non-resident parents were almost twice as likely to succeed in getting the type of contact they wanted as resident parents who initially opposed staying, unsupervised contact or any contact.
- There was no evidence that non resident parents as a group are systematically unreasonably treated by the family courts. On the contrary, the courts start from the position that contact is generally in the interests of the child, they make great efforts to achieve this and in most instances they are successful.
[Thanks to the ever-vigilant Current Awareness for bringing this to my attention.]