Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s Child Protection Project

Posted on May 29th, 2012

Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s Child Protection Project

Coram Children’s Legal Centre has launched a new service for frontline professionals working with children and families. The Child Protection Project is a CCLC project funded by a grant from the Department of Education’s Improving Outcomes for Children, Young People and Families’ fund and has been endorsed by a number of national organisations including ADCS and LGA. The CPP is aimed at providing all frontline practitioners with advice and information on the law in respect of child protection and safeguarding.

The Child Protection Project comprises free telephone advice line, an interactive website at and online and in-person training packages.

Our national telephone line can provide free information and advice on the law provided. Advice is provided by an experienced family law solicitor who can answer both general queries and also talk through individual cases on a confidential basis.

The website offers information on a broad range of child protection and safeguarding topics, including LA obligations towards children leaving care, the impact of domestic violence, substance misuse and parental mental health on children and current issues in the news, together with a useful interactive map of the child protection system and information on practical skills such as how to write a statement for Court and how to make a good child protection referral.

Access to the website is currently FREE to registered users until October 2012.

In-person training programmes and CPD accredited online training programmes are also available to organisations (single and multi-agency) and cover subjects such as understanding children’s rights, information sharing and legal frameworks for children and young people.

Advice line: 0207 636 1245 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm)

For more information about the CPP email at:


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Mr Punch the Perpetrator

Posted on May 8th, 2012

Tomorrow is 9 May and this day is seen by some as Mr Punch’s (as in Punch and Judy) British birthday.  Mr Punch was popular with famous writers such as Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens.   The show was originally focused at an adult audience and when children became the main recipients of this entertainment show some characters were dropped.   The Devil or Mr Punch’s mistress Pretty Polly is now seldom used which is an interesting contention to protecting the innocence of the child viewer.

I recall from my childhood that Mr Punch would hit Mrs Punch, the baby and the Police Officer.  It is reported that Mr Punch no longer hits the baby but will sit on it as a pun for ‘babysitter’.  The show’s attempt at humour still allows the baby to be sat on, dropped or threatened with being put through the sausage machine.  And it is still considered that Mr Punch can hit Judy with a stick whilst she holds the baby.  The show is deemed to be modelled on traditional behaviour.  However, would it be allowed today on British’s children’s television? The plot might be some children’s and adults’ only contact with domestic violence so could the puppet show be used to explain the inappropriateness of violence within the family unit.

The impact of domestic violence on men, women and children has lasting physical and emotional effects.  The assessment of risk is important for safeguarding children, to ensure they are not placed in immediate danger of physical harm.  Children witnessing aggressive assaults within the home often have no safe place to escape.  The acts of violence are usually perpetrated by men towards women and children, although domestic violence involving women as perpetrators is increasing.

The situation needs to be assessed with an open, transparent manner so that all parties are aware of what is acceptable and what is not.  Perpetrators need to own their behaviour and not blame other members of the family unit for their actions.  There is no excuse for an adult to punch another adult whilst the children watch and/or listen.

Avocet undertakes parenting and risk assessments in situations where physical and verbal aggression and emotional abuse are issues that impacts on children’s daily lives.


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