Norman Hartnell, Rebecca Giraud, Dr Damian McCann, Bob Greig, Sir James Munby, Elizabeth Coe, Sarah Parsons, Professor Tina Miller, Jo Edwards
Two hours was never going to be long enough. Despite the most efficient Chairing by Jo Edwards and with all the speakers keeping to their allotted times, the questions from the floor kept coming. Apologies to all those who were left with their points and questions unanswered.
We will be adding notes etc from the individual speakers and will keep the “comment” section open if you would like to offer us your reflections / questions. This method brings the ability to reach a much wider audience.
This “dialogue” concluded with the Chair asking all present for a show of hands in response to the following two questions:
Should we look to broaden the definition of “harm” in PD12J to include an unjustified withholding of contact to a NRP?
Should we aim to revise the court process in relation to ALL situations where “harm” is alleged to allow for a triage type hearing before a District Judge with a Cafcass officer present within 7 days of the application being filed?
Both questions were met with the vast majority present voting “yes”. There were no abstentions and a small handful of guests voted “no”. Rebecca and I counted three, maybe four.
Given the breadth of disciplines among the guests – mediators, social workers, representatives from grassroots organisations, solicitors and barristers, academics…this result is noteworthy. It isn’t just the numbers but the passion that lay behind the speeches and the questions that leads us to want to continue this debate.
In response to discussions after the event we are looking to hold a follow-up event in Spring 2018 where we can explore these two questions in greater depth. We will be posting up further details in due course so do keep on eye out for further information. Such an event will afford us the opportunity to offer a platform to those who voted against too. When the welfare of children and young people is at stake, it’s vital to listen and share all viewpoints.
Finally – those who were able to attend this event will have their own specific “moments” or memories of things said, responses made…
…we have two.
Elizabeth Coe, CEO of NACCC reminding the room that we have c1 million children totally estranged from one of their parents post-divorce/separation. For us, it was one of those “we can (must) all do better than this” moments.
The second came as the audience voted by raising their hands. There was a quiet but still audible “oooh” that went round the room as people looked round to see the results for themselves.
Thank you to all those who were able to come on the day. And please, if you want to add your thoughts the comments section is open to all.
If you would like to receive updates by e-mail please drop Rebecca a line. Rebecca@onlymums.org.