I often receive inquiries from fathers and some mothers regarding proceedings after the Child Arrangements Hearing. Cafcass typically recommends the Respect Accredited Course, formerly known as the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Program. However, the government's cancellation of this program during Covid-19 has left many without a clear path forward.
In the absence of the DAPP course, the government introduced the Respect Accredited Course through Cafcass as an alternative. However, this option comes with its own set of challenges. Firstly, it requires payment, and acceptance is limited to residents of specific areas. Moreover, the overwhelmed nature of most Respect Course providers, coupled with the lengthy six-month duration of each course, exacerbates the issue. Additionally, the scarcity of centres offering these courses further compounds the problem, with some charging fees of up to £2000.
Ultimately, it is the children who suffer the consequences of these shortcomings. The long-term impact on their mental health as they transition into adulthood is concerning. It begs the question: when will the government address these systemic issues and prioritize the welfare of children in family court proceedings?