Date: Tue 27 Nov 2018

Courts see more child neglect

Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the court of appeal is reported in the Times today as saying:

The number of cases involving abuse or neglect of children coming before the family courts has risen by 25 per cent since 2015, the most senior family judge in England and Wales has said in an article published in today’s Times

“The rise totalled more than 14,000 cases, Sir Andrew McFarlane told a conference of family lawyers. These were more likely to involve neglect than abuse and “parents whose ability to cope and provide adequate and safe parenting is compromised by drugs, alcohol, learning disability, domestic abuse or, more probably, a combination of each of these”.

Sir Andrew also expressed concern at whether the family courts system and its staff could continue working at this “high and unsustainable” level, warning of their long-term wellbeing.”

WITH THE WISDOM OF FORESIGHT AND THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT

In 2012 at the CILEX graduation ceremony June Venters QC made a speech whereby she referred to the swingeing reductions that were to be made to legal aid and which was fiercely opposed by law practitioners and senior members of the judiciary as well as many other professionals working alongside those clients who would be most affected. Kenneth Clarke was, at that time, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

June Venters expressed the view that there would be a “fall out” because of the then proposed reductions to legal aid in the field of family law. She warned that, in her opinion, we would find “a greater increase in domestic abuse and child abuse. If families cannot separate, because they cannot afford to do so, their problems are not going to go away, they are going to escalate.”

She warned that the legal aid reductions would provide short-term gain for long-term loss. She invited re-visiting this issue with Kenneth Clarke in the future when she foresaw her predictions would have come true. Whilst he is no longer the Lord Chancellor, she implores the government to re-visit the whole issue of legal aid and in particular the reductions in family law.

Sticking plasters over problems arising within family relationships are not the answer. Denying access to justice as an expedient to balancing the books is to ignore our responsibilities to society and creates a burden on other public sectors, in particular, Social Services and the National Health Service.

Children from neglectful and abusive relationships creates the likelihood of repetitive behaviour in generations to come as well as serious mental ill health in teenage and adult life.

Those professions involved in the area of family law, which includes legal practitioners, social services and the courts need to be properly funded because unless they are not only is access to justice being denied but the Rule of Law which is the backbone of our society is undermined.

The increase in child abuse coming before the courts is evidence that the situation is clearly deteriorating. The Family Justice system is under considerable pressure and its lack of resources is an obvious major contributory factor. The time has come for a serious review of the impact of legal aid reductions.

June Venters QC
Solicitor and Barrister at Law

Privacy and GDPR

How we use your contact information

Due to the new GDPR Law coming into effect in March 2018, we have changed the way we ask for your information.

Venters Solicitors records your contact information for one purpose: To respond to your enquiries and follow up potentially with legal advice

Venters Solicitors does not give this information to any third-party organisation. If you wish to have your information permanently deleted from our database, please email here. We reserve the right to make a small charge for this process.

If you are happy to for us to respond to you via email, simply click the slider to "yes" on the form. If you don’t do this you will not receive emails from us.

Cookie Policy

A cookie is a small data file containing a single number (and no personal information) this cookie is never re-used on this web site or by third parties. When you close your browser (Internet Explorer/Firefox/Safari etc), the cookie is destroyed.

We also use Google Analytics on our web sites to count traffic visiting the site and to give us information in how we can improve the visitor experience. This cookie does not know or record any of your personal information, it merely records which pages are visited.This site uses cookies. Cookies are small data tokens that are used to pass information from page to page as you visit a web site.

Contact Info
  • Address: 213 Camberwell Road, London SE5 0HG
  • Phone: 020 7277 0110
  • Email: Info@venters.co.uk