Charlotte Leslie – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Charlotte Leslie on 2016-03-07.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the performance of the Cafcass in (a) domestic abuse cases and (b) other private law cases.

Caroline Dinenage

The Government has made no specific assessment of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service’s (Cafcass) performance in cases where domestic violence or abuse is alleged or admitted. However, in 2014, Ofsted inspected Cafcass as a national organisation. It judged that as a minimum all children, young people and families receive a service where the quality and effectiveness of Cafcass private law practice is ‘good’. The protective measures of a non-molestation order or occupation order available from the family court for an adult party in cases of domestic violence or abuse do not involve Cafcass.

In relation to other private law cases involving children, Cafcass is most often involved in proceedings for a child arrangements order where parents are in dispute. In every case where a child arrangements order is sought, Cafcass undertakes safeguarding checks with the police and local authority. Relevant matters are communicated to the court prior to the first hearing via a safeguarding letter. In this way, Cafcass provides judges with the information they need to ensure that any decisions made are safe for the child and adult parties.