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Where children may have experienced neglect, physical or sexual abuse, or the death of their parent(s), or are unaccompanied minors, family courts are tasked with identifying the individual needs of the children and matching them with appropriate custody arrangements. Within this process, the courts may appoint an expert witness to offer expertise in considering the individual and collective psychological profiles of different family members. Expert witnesses must provide responses to key issues highlighted by the court, involving identification of

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Embedding a crisis intervention approach within family justice, education and mental health policy
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After years of research and reflection on the work of the interdisciplinary family justice system Mervyn Murch offers a fresh approach to supporting the thousands of children every year who experience a complex form of bereavement following parental separation and divorce. This stressful family change, combined with the loss of support due to austerity cuts, can damage their education, well-being, mental health and long-term life chances.

Murch argues for early preventative intervention which responds to children’s worries when they first present them, without waiting until things have gone badly wrong. His radical proposals for reform involve a much more coordinated and joined up approach by schools, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

This book encourages practitioners and academics to look outside their professional silos and to see the world through the eyes of children in crisis to enable services to offer direct support in a manner and at a time when it is most needed.

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Concepts, Realities and Aspirations

Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence

Effective participation in court and tribunal hearings is regarded as essential to justice, yet many barriers limit the capacity of defendants, parties and witnesses to participate.

Featuring policy analysis, courtroom observations and practitioners’ voices, this significant study reveals how participation is supported in the courts and tribunals of England and Wales. Including reflections on changes to the justice system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it also details the socio-structural, environmental, procedural, cultural and personal factors which constrain participation.

This is an invaluable resource that makes a compelling case for a principled, explicit commitment to supporting participation across the justice system of England and Wales and beyond.

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The need for change
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Current family policy approaches emphasise the significance of paternal involvement in children’s lives, yet there has been a silence on violent and abusive fathering in these discourses. This is the first UK book to specifically focus on violent fathering discussing original research in the context of domestic violence and emerging practice literature to address this problem.

The book examines fathers’ perceptions of their domestic violence and its impact on children, their relationships with children and their parenting practices. It will be of interest to academics and professionals in family and child welfare policy, socio-legal studies, social work, criminology and other disciplines with an interest in domestic violence and child protection.

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Assessing the impact of reform
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Originally introduced as a form of social welfare with near-universal eligibility, legal aid in the UK is now framed as a benefit external to the legal system and understood in primarily economic terms. This book is the first to evaluate the recent reforms of UK legal aid from a social policy perspective and assess their impact on family law courts and advocacy.

Written by experts in the field, it focuses on the rise in people representing their own legal case and argues that the reforms effectively ‘delawyerise’ disputes, producing a more inquisitorial justice system and impacting the litigants, court system, staff and process.

Arguing for a more holistic concept of the reforms, the book will be of relevance to students, academics, policy-makers, judges, campaigners and social workers, not just in England and Wales, but in other jurisdictions instituting cuts to their legal aid budgets, such as Australia, Scotland, France, and the Netherlands.

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Reflections from young adults

Using innovative, participatory research methods, this book offers new insights into the issues surrounding parental separation or divorce from the unique perspective, and retrospectives, of young adults. As they look back on their childhood, their views provide valuable insights into how children experience and accommodate their parents’ separation.

Drawing on the qualitative research findings, Kay-Flowers develops a new framework to provide a useful analytical tool for academics and practitioners working with children and families to make sense of young people’s experiences and puts forward suggestions for improving support for children in the future.

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Status, Similarities and Solutions

Cohabiting couples and those entering religious-only marriages all too often end up with inadequate legal protection when the relationship ends. Yet, despite this shared experience, the linkages and overlaps between these two groups have largely been ignored in the legal literature.

Based on wide-ranging empirical studies, this timely book brings together scholars working in both areas to explore the complexities of the law, the different ways in which individuals experience and navigate the existing legal framework and the potential solutions for reform.

Illuminating pressing implications for social policy, this is an invaluable resource for policy makers, practitioners, researchers and students of family law.

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This book offers an analysis and summary of the uses, abuses and limitations of attachment theory in contemporary child welfare practice.

Analysing the primary science and drawing on the authors’ original empirical work, the book shows how attachment theory can distort and influence decision-making. It argues that the dominant view of attachment theory may promote a problematic diagnostic mindset, whilst undervaluing the enduring relationships between children and adults.

The book concludes that attachment theory can still play an important role in child welfare practice, but the balance of the research agenda needs a radical shift towards a sophisticated understanding of the realities of human experience to inform ethical practice.

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Women and ‘Prevent’
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The UK’s ‘Prevent’ strategy aims to dissuade vulnerable groups from supporting terrorism, and women have been involved since its inception in 2006. Sam Andrews argues that women are still viewed within a traditional gendered framework as primarily peaceful and are mostly engaged as mothers, enlisted by Prevent to watch over and guide their families and communities.

Drawing on interviews and case studies, this book reveals how Prevent goes beyond simple counter-terrorism messaging to fund a diverse array of projects, from support for victims of domestic violence to parenting courses, shaping wider engagement with women in society.

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The challenge of violence against women should be recognised as an issue for the state, citizenship and the whole community. This book examines how responses by the state sanction violence against women and shape a woman’s citizenship long after she has escaped from a violent partner.

Drawing from a long-term study of women’s lives in Australia, including before and after a relationship with a violent partner, it investigates the effects of intimate partner violence on aspects of everyday life including housing, employment, mental health and social participation.

The book contributes to theoretical explanations of violence against women by reframing it through the lens of sexual politics. Finally, it offers critical insights for the development of social policy and practice.

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