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Family court

Northumbria Police works closely with the Family Court and those going through family proceedings to help ensure proceedings run smoothly and to make sure the Court has everything it needs to make decisions in relation to children and families.

There are two types of proceedings in the family court:-

  • Those brought by the Local Authority (called public law proceedings). These are usually where the Local Authority is making an application for a care order or supervision order. 
  • Those brought by a member of the public (called private law proceedings). These are usually where a couple wants to divorce or needs the court to make a decision about who should care for a child and what sort of contact should take place between the child and another person.

Sometimes information is held by Northumbria Police which is relevant to both types of proceedings.

In public law proceedings the Local Authority will request information from the police.  In private law proceedings a request can be made by those involved (usually the mother or father of the child and/or the husband or wife seeking a divorce).

Sometimes the application will be made by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) if the court would like a report from an independent person giving them some information about where a child should live or who the child should have contact with.

Before you get to the point of proceedings you might need to apply for legal aid.  You can speak to a solicitor about this and they will tell you what you might need to do to qualify.  If you have been the victim of domestic abuse then you are likely to qualify for legal aid but you will need some evidence to support your claim.

If you think that Northumbria Police has information that could be relevant to a case you are involved in that is being dealt with by the family court or you need evidence to support your legal aid application, then you can make a request for that information by contacting us by email at: disclosureppl@northumbria.pnn.police.uk

FAQ

The local authority has made an application to the family court for an order. Can I have police information to help me with this?

Usually the Local Authority will make an application for this information and any information that is provided to them by the police must be shared with the parties. If you have not seen this information you should speak to your solicitor who will show you what has been provided.  If you do not have a solicitor you should ask the Local Authority to let you see what has been provided to them.

The court has ordered Cafcass to do a report- what information will they get and can I see it?

CAFCASS stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.  They are often asked by the Court to provide a report especially where the court needs to make a decision about where a child should live or who they should have contact with or how much contact they should have. 

CAFCASS will usually ask the police to provide relevant information to help them with this.  The information that is given to CAFCASS is not given to the people involved with the case or the judge but you will get the report that they write that will include some information about what the police have provided. The information CAFCASS gets is any information held by the police about the people involved if it shows that there might be a risk to the child. 

They would usually get the previous convictions and cautions of the people involved too. If CAFCASS have been asked to write a report you do not need to make a separate application for disclosure if you do, you will be charged for that information.

I have heard something about my boyfriend that worries me. Somebody told me that he might have a history of domestic violence or sexual offences and I am worried. Can I have some information about that?

You can submit a request to Northumbria Police for information about a person you might have concerns about.  There are two ways of doing this:-

1) Clare’s Law – you can ask for information about somebody who is in a relationship with you or somebody else to find out whether they have a history of domestic abuse. 

Go here for more information about Clare’s Law

2) Sarah’s Law – you can ask for information about an individual who has access to or contact with a child to find out whether they have a history of child sexual abuse. 

Go here for more information about Sarah’s Law

Family court leaflet

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