NACCC is promoting an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill, currently in Parliament, to ensure universal accreditation for all Child Contact Centres, to drive up standards and guarantee the effective safeguarding of children against domestic abuse.
Our amendment proposes to ensure ‘all Child Contact Centres and organisations that offer facilities or services for child contact to be accredited in England and Wales, to ensure domestic abuse and safeguarding protections for children and families.’
The intention is to protect the child’s interests during divorce and separation, to ensure where necessary they are protected against domestic abuse, but where appropriate they retain a meaningful relationship with their non-resident parent. The amendment will also address the concerns of the APPG on Domestic Abuse’s report, ‘Domestic Abuse, Child Contact and the Family Courts’, around domestic abuse and child contact. It will ensure;
- Child contact is not used as a tool to continue to perpetrate coercive and controlling behaviour, where children can be at risk of further emotional or physical harm through contact.
- Very unsafe or inappropriate contact does not take place.
- All volunteers and staff have up-to-date specialist domestic violence training to ensure the protection of women and children.
The former President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, is supporting our call for the amendment, as it will ensure that “every child can experience the same high level of care and safeguarding where circumstances have necessitated their involvement with the family justice system and Child Contact Centres or Services”.
The amendment will reduce the risk of a postcode lottery of standards in the provision of Child Contact Centres and Services, and the potential of risks around domestic abuse, safeguarding and quality of services. It will achieve the strengthening and levelling of standards for child contact across England and Wales, so that children are provided with the opportunity to effectively and safely maintain relationships with their non-resident parent and wider family.
A link to our submission to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee can be found via the link below: