Thursday, October 27, 2011

News Brief: A consultation, two reports and a manifesto

Not an awful lot of family law news to report at the moment, but here are the 'highlights':

Home Secretary Theresa "and I am not making this up" May is launching a consultation on how a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme might work in practice. Under such a scheme - known as "Clare's Law" after Clare Wood, who was strangled by a man she met through Facebook - people would be given the power to find out from the police if a new partner has a history of domestic violence. The idea has provoked considerable discussion on the TV and radio, but I am unconvinced. Do they think that everyone will routinely check their new partner whenever they enter a relationship? Of course they won't. They'll only check if they have serious doubts about them, in which case...

Yesterday Ofsted published two reports on the protection of vulnerable babies and young people. The report Ages of concern: learning lessons from serious case reviews "highlights key lessons learnt over the last four years from reviews of serious incidents involving either babies under one year old or children over 14", and the report Edging away from care – how services successfully prevent young people entering care "looks at the good practice of 11 local authorities who are taking measures to help ensure that only those young people who need to, do come into care". You can also find summaries of the reports here and here.

Lastly, as I have mentioned here before (albeit not entirely seriously): "An alliance of organisations which represents the rights and needs of women, children, families and victims of domestic abuse and/or are engaged in the administration of family justice, has published a Manifesto for Family Justice, ahead of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill moving into Report Stage in the House of Commons", as reported by Family Law Week. The Manifesto calls upon the Government to:
  • Protect vulnerable women and children
  • Listen to the experienced practitioners who work in family justice and who understand that mediation, whilst beneficial in many cases, will not resolve many others, and
  • Consider with care whether the decision to remove legal aid from private family law cases will save the Government money or, in fact, cost more and lead to poor outcomes.
I suppose hope springs eternal, even against all the odds...

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