Family justice review

Published on 28 September 2010

Summary

Gingerbread is a founding member of the ‘Kids in the Middle’ coalition along with Relate, the Fatherhood Institute and Families Need Fathers and is committed to seeking to improve the support given to separating and post-separated parents and children to reduce conflict and improve children’s lives.

Gingerbread welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Family Justice Review. As part of our response to the Review, we have consulted Gingerbread’s members via an electronic survey. To help inform our evidence and recommendations we asked members about their experiences of seeking to resolve disputes over contact and residence. The results from Gingerbread’s survey tell us that parents find family court proceedings long, difficult and expensive.

Key findings

Gingerbread strongly supports the active encouragement of cooperative parenting where it is safe. A highly conflicted environment risks undermining the focus on the best interests of the child, which should remain paramount at all times

Drawing from evidence from leading academic institutions, government reports, Gingerbread’s own research and the experience of Gingerbread’s members, key recommendations include:

  • Develop an integrated approach in terms of resources and strategy across government departments and agencies at both national and local level, to strengthen family relationships and to support parents who separate to do so in a manner that puts the best interest of their child first and where possible enables cooperative parenting.
  • To create genuine alternatives to the legal process conduct a robust cost/benefit analysis of different interventions intended to improve child outcomes, reduce parental conflict and reduce the use of the courts, drawing on evidence from the UK and elsewhere.