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Protecting children after Savile: is there a role for a specialist court?

Date:27 DEC 2012

Rosemary Thomas

Solicitor Straw and Pearce Loughborough:

In straitened times there is no more funding for court services and yet recent high profile coverage of issues of child protection in particular in cases of sexual abuse has highlighted a pressing need for reform in the interests of children.  The current processes potentially require the two different courts (criminal and family) to examine substantially similar material and to then apply the legal test relevant to the process to reach a conclusion.   There is no uniformity of personnel judicial continuity between the two cases and although the courts historically have urged greater communication the standardised disclosure processes and lack of understanding of what is necessary in each jurisdiction can lead to confusion and children going unprotected. The timescales are not joined up and crucial evidence is missed with the potential for child and vulnerable witnesses to have to give evidence twice.  In a unique case in our area the criminal case founded part one of the fact finding.  The care advocates were...

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