Domestic Abuse can have a devastating impact on children and young people. There is consensus amongst medical experts, child psychologists and welfare organisations that exposure to domestic violence has an effect on a child’s emotional, behavioral and cognitive state. As a result, courts take the ‘Potential for Harm’ to children extremely seriously.
A pattern of abuse does not automatically disqualify a parent from having contact with a child- It does however indicate who is best placed to care for the child. With **62% of children living with domestic abuse being directly harmed by the perpetrator of the abuse, the Courts do not expect a parent to place their children at risk by facilitating contact.
If an offending parent wishes to re-establish contact with a child, the court will need to consider the following in the Child Arrangement Orders:
- The impact of domestic abuse on the child
- Reason for wanting to making contact
- If the offending parent is making a conscious effort to change their behavior.
When there is a history of domestic abuse, it is important that relevant safeguarding measures be put in place. A few examples of safeguarding measures with an offending parent include-
- Supervised contact
- Monitored indirect contact
- Therapy for individual or family as a whole
At NLS Solicitors, we understand the effects of domestic abuse on children, and when domestic abuse is present; contact with children may have to be specially considered. Our advice is clear and based on many years’ experience of children, families and the law.
Anyone concerned about domestic abuse and its effect on his or her children should seek expert legal advice. If you or your child or children have been victims of domestic abuse, you may be entitled to legal aid. For more information, please call us on 0203 601 5051
**Caada (2014), In Plain Sight: Effective help for children exposed to domestic abuse. Bristol: Caada.