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Save Kids From Violent Parents campaign victory as Government pledges to change law

The Government has pledged to change the law on child contact in a victory for the Sunday Mirror.

We launched our Save Kids From Violent Parents campaign last year after revealing 63 children had been killed by their own guardians in 16 years.

Current rules presume contact with both parents is in the best interests of a child. But our nine-month probe found scores of children suffered at the hands of parents known to be abusive.

In some cases, unsupervised contact had been ordered by family courts.

We also told how judges allow children to live with violent criminals including killers and paedos.

How the Sunday Mirror reported the story

Now a Ministry of Justice report has said: “We recommend that the presumption of parental involvement be reviewed urgently in order to address its detrimental effects.”

Changes could be via the upcoming Domestic Abuse Bill or by amending current laws.

The Mirror wants those with a history of violence, abuse or sex crimes to be presumed unsafe for unsupervised access.

Jess Phillips, shadow minister for safeguarding and domestic violence, said: “The presumption makes children and mothers unsafe and undoes safeguarding standards.”

Top news stories from Mirror Online

We told how a teenager was allowed to live with her dad, despite him being on licence for manslaughter.

He was later jailed for grabbing the girl by the throat in a drunken rage.

Our call for standardised training has also been answered, and there will be independent research into the most serious cases.

The MoJ report said: “There is a significant weakness in the knowledge and skills of social workers undertaking risk assessments where domestic abuse is alleged, suspected or known.”

Justice Minister Alex Chalk vowed “fundamental change to keep victims and children safe”.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of national domestic abuse charity Refuge said: “Refuge welcomes the Government’s announcement that it is launching a review into the presumption that child contact is always in the best interests of children in cases of domestic abuse, as part of an overhaul of the family courts.

“We are also incredibly grateful to The Sunday Mirror for its campaigning on this issue, which has helped bring about this review.

“Refuge has long advocated for this presumption to be overturned –  and, together with The Sunday Mirror – has been able to shine a spotlight on the dangers of child contact. 

“Through The Sunday Mirror’s determination to highlight this issue, we now have a real opportunity to ensure this review is concluded swiftly and that the law is changed, which will better protect children who are witnesses and victims of domestic abuse.”

  • Refuge runs the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline – call 0808 2000 247.

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