The Family Justice System has been piloting a new scheme in which parental disputes are dealt with over arrangements for children and abuse victims in family cases. The aim of the pilot is to develop an investigative approach to children disputes. This means that methods to promote out of court resolutions as well as the implementation of the Child Impact Statement with CAFCASS. This would then result in parents seeing first-hand the impact the proceedings could be having on their children. Whilst emotions are high for all parties during such difficult circumstances, it is important to take a view on how this is affecting the children and to put measures in place to avoid any emotional and mental strain on the children.
The idea is to create a Family Hub. This means there will be a greater focus on having lots of support from local agencies around the family and any organisations who may be able to assist in making the separation process easier on the children and then in turn on the family as a whole.
The government identified the need to better support victims and ensure their voices are heard too.
How will this work?
There will be an initial assessment by a team made up of a number of agents, whereby the family could be referred to a number of support services. This could be for support for the following:
- Domestic or sexual abuse
- Mental health
- Substance abuse/misuse
There are a great number of agencies already working alongside the Family Justice System, and this will be further enforced upon the success of the pilot. It is important that all aspects of a family matter are dealt with rather than just the sole disputes themselves. The justice system understands the importance and the effects any separation or dispute a family can have on all parties and in many different ways.
The biggest and main concern for the courts is the children in family disputes. This is why there has been such great emphasis on supporting the children in any disputes/separation as the wellbeing of the children involved is of paramount importance. It was identified that extra supports were needed to be put in place, hence the birth of the Family Hub!
This scheme gives a voice to the children, meaning that they are listened to and their thoughts and opinions are taken into account when decisions are made about their futures. In turn, this allows for the courts to listen to what is being said by the children and respect their wishes.
Not only does this pilot scheme aim to assist children in proceedings but also to support domestic abuse victims. This sets out new methods to improve the way in which information is shared, meaning that victims can then avoid reciting very traumatic experiences. This is a strong position from the governments approach to tackling domestic abuse and further supporting the victims. Local domestic abuse professionals, police and the local authority, under the pilot will have access to the information which saves the victims from having to relive their trauma and assist in their healing. The government identified the need to better support victims and ensure their voices are heard too.
One of the biggest worries for victims in speaking out on their abuse was the cross examination they would face in court. Therefore, a triumphant moment for victims is that there is now a ban on perpetrators cross examining their victims as well as measures being put in place to prevent them from repeatedly bringing their ex-partners to court, which in some ways could be continuing as a form of abuse.
How will this help?
The pilots allow for information and documentation to be sent to the judges prior to any hearings, this avoids any heated debates in the court rooms and attempt to relieve any animosity. This means that the court proceedings will be less of a blame game and more of an investigatory process addressing issues at hand.
A key part in the pilot, is that between three months to a year of any rulings made, the courts and any involved agencies will review as to the progress on any matters and ensure that the decisions made for the parties are working well. This is key for all parties as it would also indicate whether the court orders are being followed as they should be. It was found during investigations that adversarial processes were often worsening the conflicts between parents and this had a damaging impact on the children and victims involved in the case.
It’s crucial that those who are most vulnerable have their voices heard in family cases. No voice is too small to be heard.
If you would like advice on a postnuptial agreement or a prenuptial agreement or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced family law team at Bond Adams LLP Solicitors. You can contact us on 0116 285 8080 or email us at email@example.com.