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Family Resolution Research Report

Date:20 MAR 2006

The research report following the Family Resolution Pilot Project (FRPP )was published in March 2006. The FRPP ran between September 2004 and August 2005 in Brighton, Inner London and Sunderland. It was designed as a pilot scheme to assist parties involved in court proceedings about contact after separation or divorce. The main aim of the pilot was to help parents to reach an agreement about contact arrangements, and more broadly, to try to improve parental relationships. Domestic violence cases were not eligible for referral. The pilot had to be a voluntary scheme as it was not possible, within existing law, for courts to make compulsory referrals to the project. The scheme incorporated three components: an initial risk assessment at court, parent education groups led by Relate and parent planning meetings with Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) officers. Where appropriate, children could also be involved in the parent planning process. The aims of the study were to identify:

  • what were the outputs and outcomes of the pilot;
  • what, if anything, the pilot added over and above existing interventions;
  • what features of the pilot could, or should, be developed or generalised.

  • The number of referrals to the pilot was low, with only 62 referrals over the course of the year in the three areas. The gross referral rate, including all domestic violence cases, was 15%. The net referral rate, excluding ineligible domestic violence cases, rose to 20% of all applications. The analysis suggests that there was potentially scope to double the number of referrals if referral could have been mandatory. However, even with mandatory referrals, the overall number would remain small as a significant number of cases would have been unsuitable for referral .Only half of the referred cases completed the programme. See May [2006] Fam Law 412 for the full news article.