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Cafcass publishes new Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement Plan

Cafcass has published its Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement Plan. The plan has been developed by Cafcass' Learning and Improvement Board which was established in September 2020 to improve Cafcass' work with children and families who have experienced domestic abuse.

Responding to the final report from the Ministry of Justice's Expert Panel on Harm in the Family Courts, the Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement Plan has drawn on the extensive knowledge of the Learning and Improvement Board which is independently chaired and includes members with lived experience alongside other agencies and professionals in the family justice system.

The new domestic abuse learning and development programme is based on the updated Cafcass Domestic Abuse Practice Pathway and guidance, which supports Family Court Advisers in working with children and families affected by domestic abuse. Both have been designed with feedback from partners including Women's Aid Federation England and SafeLives. Parents and young people with lived experience of domestic abuse have contributed to training workshops by recording their experiences and these will be shared directly with Family Court Advisers. The programme also draws on a baseline practice audit of 200 cases moderated by members of the Learning and Improvement Board.

The success and impact of the Cafcass Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement Plan will be monitored and evaluated by Cafcass' Learning and Improvement Board to understand the improvements and difference that is being made for children and families.

Commenting on the Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement plan, joint Independent Chairs Cathy Ashley and Angela Frazer-Wicks said:

"Children and families who have experienced domestic abuse and are involved in private family law proceedings need to feel confident that they are understood, respected and listened to. Cafcass is instrumental in ensuring this happens, and this improvement plan will help Cafcass to better achieve this.

"The Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement Plan has been developed with our Learning and Improvement Board members, including parents and young people with lived experience. The Board will now oversee the implementation of this plan and will regularly review the progress that is being made."

For the Domestic Abuse Learning and Improvement Plan, Cafcass Domestic Abuse Practice Pathway and guidance,click here and follow the links in the text.

18/6/21