Welcome to another, slightly shorter, week.
A petition on Change.Org asking Prime Minister Theresa May to stop children being abused through the Family Court process, has gathered almost 77,000 signatures.
The petition anonymously details a case where two children were taken by force in the middle of the night, from their mother’s home, by the police, and forced to live against their wishes with their father. It alleges that the children have tried repeatedly to tell Cafcass that they wish to stay with their mother and have no contact with their father, however the petition suggests that Cafcass are not listening to the children, and that the father has used his financial advantage to hire specialist lawyers to remove the children from their mother’s care, as part of an ongoing series of controlling behaviours the petition alleges he has been exerting over the mother for some time.
The view outlined by the petition is that despite policy, guidelines, and legislation, which make it clear that the family courts should not be used to facilitate abusive behaviour or to place children in more situations where they could be emotionally or physically harmed, little in reality is being done to stop these practices. It also highlights the ongoing persecution parents face if they try to challenge the system’s decision making, or amplify the voices of their children if contrary to the court’s interpretation, or lack of interest in those voices.
As we cannot verify the contents of the case, this week’s question is not about the legitimacy of the claims themselves. Instead, we are asking you this: do you think the family courts and Cafcass have improved the way they listen to children?
Very many thanks to Evie, for alerting us to this petition.