Child contact and safety

31 AUG 2007

Barbara Wilson, Mediator and Professional Practice Consultant. No one involved in working with conflicted parents can read of the 29 children who were murdered by their fathers on contact visits (see the Women's Aid report Twenty-Nine Child Homicides: Lessons still to be learnt on Domestic Violence and Child Protection (2004)) without experiencing a profound sense of sorrow and anxiety. If those child homicides occurred after solicitors, CAFCASS and the judiciary were involved and had given their considerable attention to the circumstances of each case, no one is safe from the possibility of being a professional agent who might unwittingly facilitate a similar terrible outcome. Mediators are trained to recognise the dangers of domestic abuse, but there is a lack of sufficient time, money and resources devoted to children's welfare where violence is a parental issue. For Barbara Wilson's full article on this important issue, including an outline of the training mediators receive to prepare them for these cases, and new proposals for revising their approach to cases involving domestic abuse and children, see August [2007] Fam Law.

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