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Enforcement of Contact Orders: Who Applies and What

1 May 2012 - 30 April 2013

PI/s in Exeter: Professor Liz Trinder

Funding awarded: £ 60,731

Sponsor(s): Nuffield Foundation

About the research

The Coalition Government is consulting on whether further sanctions should be available to courts in cases where non-compliance with a contact order is alleged. A Bill is likely to be presented to parliament in spring 2013 following the consultation. There is currently little research evidence on these enforcement cases to inform policy-makers and none at all about the use of new enforcement powers made available to the courts by the Children and Adoption Act 2006. This study is designed to make an evidence-based contribution to parliamentary debates on the Bill in spring 2013. The study will examine a national sample of Cafcass electronic case files and undertake a small number of interviews with family justice professionals in order to (a) build a profile of enforcement cases (b) explore how and why the court responds to applications and (c) to explore the actual and perceived effectiveness of current and any future powers. The findings will be disseminated to policy-makers in the form of a briefing document, a short report and at a stakeholder seminar.

Project final report