Lack of representation risks undermining credibility of review of presumption of parental involvement
Leading women’s groups, including Rights of Women, have today written to Alex Chalk MP to raise concerns about the lack of diverse representation on the panel advising the review of the presumption of parental involvement.
The Ministry of Justice announced they would review the presumption of parental involvement on 9th November 2020. The review is the result of the Harm report published in June 2020 that found evidence that suggested the presumption can reinforce the pro-contact culture in the Family Court and recommended a review of the presumption to consider it’s impact.
Organisations concerned about the membership of the advisory panel to the review have written to the Minister to raise these concerns. in particular:
- there is no continuity between the membership of the panel that prepared the Harm report and the panel informing the review despite the Harm report panel having already considered a significant amount of evidence on the issue.
- there is no representation from domestic abuse/sexual violence support services, domestic abuse/sexual violence specialist lawyers or academics. Survivors from minoritised backgrounds, deaf and disabled mothers and those holding other protected characteristics are not directly represented despite the obvious need to include their voices and ensure their specific needs and experience of marginalisation are at the heart of the review.
- there is no representation from a group representing the views of mothers despite them being significantly impacted by the outcome of the review.
The letter can be found here
Alex Chalk MP responded to our letter on 23 Nov 2020. Read his response here.
Dissatisfied that the Minister has failed to address two of the points we raised in our letter, we have responded asking him to re-consider. Our response can be read here.