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Family Law

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27 DEC 2012

Mind the gap: parent education programmes and the family justice system [2012] CFLQ 428

Keywords: parenting disputes; conflict; PIP; contact; parent education programme; family justice

A recent evaluation of the Separated Parent Information Programme (PIP), the first nationally-available court-ordered parent education programme to be used in the UK in private law cases, found that the programme has a limited impact on the amount of contact taking place but no discernable impact on the levels of conflict between parents. In this article, two of the researchers involved in the evaluation explore the significance of the findings by examining them in the light of psychological research and in the context of general trends in the family justice system. The article notes that there is a significant gap between the needs of families in conflict and the ability of the PIP to address them. It is argued that this gap can be attributed to certain systemic, longstanding trends in the delivery of family justice which, unless addressed, will continue to stymie progress towards better outcomes for children.

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