Unintended Consequences – Domestic Abusers To Be Banned From Contacting Own Children

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The Law of Unintended Consequences is one of those that we’re never going to be able to repeal. Meaning that we do have to examine any proposal for what it will cause, not just what we hope or intend it will. So it is with this idea that domestic abusers should be banned and barred from contact with their own children. What will happen is that allegations of domestic abuse will rise.

Abusive partners could be banned from seeing their children as MoJ launches inquiry into family courts Now note what is being said there.

Abusive partners could be banned from seeing their children, as the government launches an inquiry into “secretive” family courts. Legal experts and children’s charities welcomed the announcement yesterday [TUES] saying that an inquiry was “long overdue” and that for too long “the family courts have been shrouded in secrecy”. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) revealed that it will convene a panel of experts for a three-month consultation to review family courts, with those directly involved in relevant cases to be “imminently” called to give evidence. The inquiry will be “wide-ranging”, but The Telegraph understands that it will particularly assess where there is room for improvement or strengthening regarding parental access rights. Currently people conviction of domestic abuse crimes can apply to have access to see their children, children can request to see them. However child protection in the family courts regarding parental access will come under fresh scrutiny, with the result that abusive partners could be banned from having access to their children.

That those who abuse their children lose access to them seems fair enough. That children are not faced with having to meet their abusers repeatedly also seems fair enough. This isn’t what is being talked about.

Instead, those who abuse their partners can or will be banned from seeing the children they had with that partner they abused. The effect of this will be soaring claims of partner abuse. For there are those – a minority undoubtedly but not a number close to zero – who wish to punish ex-partners. And, given the strange manner in which parents often do love their own offspring that means that denial of access to them will be one such method of punishment.

So, what’s the easiest manner of gaining that? Allege a slap or two and Bingo!

Note that current domestic abuse law does not distinguish on gender grounds. Mothers can and will be banned under the same rules as fathers. In fact, get this new rule through and there will be a rush to be the first to allege abuse in any relationship break up. Not even to deny access to the other, but to protect against being denied.

Actually, it’s difficult to think of a legal change which would boost domestic abuse allegations more effectively than this.

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The Mole
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The Mole

Seems to be the complaint isn’t that abusive partners can’t already be stopped from seeing their children, but that they don’t think the courts are making the right decisions (probably as they can’t see the evidence). After-all the quote says those convicted can apply to see their children (and children apply to see their parents). Giving the wide ranging definitions of abuse and complexities of many situations a blanked ban would seem stupid, the presumption in the family courts is always what is in the best interest of the children.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

I don’t care what the law says, my stance is that it is *children* who have a right of access to *parents*, not the other way around, and custodians have a duty to enable that right. But, as with any right, a right is a choice to exercise, not a compulsion, if a child has no wish to excercise that right to access a parent, that is entirely their right and choice, and must not be breched.