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Family Law

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15 MAY 2007

CARE PROCEEDINGS: Re C (Supervision Order) [2007] EWCA Civ 576

(Court of Appeal; Thorpe, Gage and Toulson LJJ; 15 May 2007)

The mother had been a victim of domestic violence. She reported to the police that the father had shaken the child, a five-week old baby, although the child was unharmed when police officers attended. The father pleaded guilty to common assault. In subsequent care proceedings the judge did not find the allegation that the baby had been shaken to be proved but on evidence of a history of domestic violence made an interim supervision order under s 31 Children Act 1989. The father was excluded from the family home and his contact with the baby restricted to a weekly one hour supervised visit. Both parents appealed the decision and argued that the incidents found proved by the judge were inadequate to amount to the crossing of the threshold under s 31 Children Act 1989, as the judge had not found that the baby had been shaken and as such there was nothing that could justify state intervention in family life.

There was documented evidence of a history of domestic violence between the mother and father and clear indications that the parents were challenged by the demands of a young baby and that there was a risk of violent incidents occurring in future. On this basis the judge had been fully entitled to find as he did. The appeals would be dismissed.

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