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Archive for May, 2014

Emotional abuse cases ‘up by nearly 50% in a year’

The number of children reported to the police and children’s services by charity helplines has almost doubled in the space of year, the NSPCC has said today [30.05.14]. The children’s charity’s anonymous helpline assisted over 8,000 people last year.

Isn’t it ironic, evidence that emotional child abuse has increased by 50% and yet the number of care applications has reduced – should we not be questioning this?

National picture of care applications in England for 2013-14

Cafcass releases statistics for care applications for the 152 English local authorities – May 2014

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, show the number of care applications received per 10,000 child population – the rate of care applications – by each local authority (LA) in England with children’s services responsibilities. The numbers run from 2008-09, the year of the tragic Peter Connelly (known as “Baby Peter”) case in Haringey, to 2013-14. They show that over this period the rate of application rose from 5.9 in 2008-09 to 9.7 in 2012-13, a rise of 64%, but that it has dropped to 9.2 in 2013-14. This is lower than 2012-13 levels but is still higher than 2011-12 levels.

The rate of care application is significant as it helps identify trends in care proceedings independent of population growth.

Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive of Cafcass said:

“After year on year rises in applications it is not surprising to see that the rates have steadied – a cohort of children that were at risk have now been protected through the action of local authorities in bringing care proceedings. These children have also seen swifter justice, with remarkable reductions in the duration of these proceedings across the country. The fact that these reductions have been made in many cases ahead of the introduction of the 26 week limit set out in the Revised Public Law Outline, the Children and Family Act is even more remarkable and shows how well Cafcass, local authorities and judges are now working together. We will continue to meet with family justice colleagues to understand the differences in rates, to identify the best pockets of practice, and ensure that social work practice is developed to provide a sharp service that meets the needs of each individual child”.

Government changes to the  Family Justice system

On April 22nd 2014 the Family Justice underwent major reforms.  Such reforms include the need for anyone wishing to issue proceedings involving children and or finances usually to meet with a Mediator before being permitted to do so.  There is also the expectation that the “other party” will also meet with the same Mediator.  Once proceedings are issued, Judges now have the authority to require both parties to meet with a Mediator.

Venters Solicitors and Family Mediation are experienced Mediators as well as Solicitors.  We are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children and where this is possible, by agreement.

We are here to help you either as Mediators or as Solicitors.  For more details please refer to www.venters.co.uk or telephone to make an appointment on 01737 229 610.

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