advice to parents suspected of child abuse to flee the country, rather than face justice in the family courts. I am a little reluctant to do so, as it does appear that it may be little more than a publicity stunt, rather than serious advice. Notwithstanding this, others have responded vociferously. Perhaps my favourite such response came from Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group who said in a press release: "This is crass, ignorant and potentially dangerous advice. It could seriously backfire on any parent who follows it. It could put a child at risk in serious danger." I don't think I could better that.
Elsewhere, mediation is in the news with the Law Society Gazette revealing that: "Ministry of Justice figures show that since private family cases were largely taken out of scope for legal aid, the take-up of public funding for advice to support mediation has been non-existent in many parts of the country." The figures must make pretty sobering reading for our new Justice Minister:
"Of 82,432 family claims made in England and Wales between April and October 2013, just 20 included help with mediation claims. By contrast, in the preceding 12 months lawyers made 62,390 ‘funding code’ referrals to publicly funded mediation."Ouch. So much for the Government's policy of using mediation to patch up the mess left by the abolition of legal aid. Also in the Gazette, Eduardo Reyes likens the policy to an airplane with failed engines, heading towards terra firma at alarming speed. Whatever your views on mediation, it does seem that disaster will only be averted by some serious piloting skills or, better still, a complete change of direction. Of course, there are already hundreds of victims, even before the crash has occurred - they are having to fend for themselves in the family courts.
On the subject of disaster, I shall finish with this piece of excellent advice, found on Twitter:
Best fire-safety poster yet? Definitely useful in this day and age RT @Slate via @AnneOsterrieder pic.twitter.com/FrxLEnkmkB
— Cat Vicente (@CatCVicente) January 10, 2014