5 Oct 2004
|May: Plan for action|
Theresa May has said a Conservative government would reform the way in which families are treated by the courts system.
The shadow secretary of state for the family pledged she would abolish the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.
In an acknowledgement of the grievances felt by groups like Fathers 4 Justice, which has used a series of publicity stunt to raise its concerns, she said the body has contributed to denying access to both parents.
The former Conservative chairman told her party’s conference that CAFCASS had been a "disaster from day one".
As part of the Tory’s "timetable for action", May told delegates she would publish proposals to kill off the service within a week of coming to office in a bid to "restore justice and accountability to the family court service".
She told the conference that although she could not condone the tactics of Fathers 4 Justice, responsible for the flour bomb attack on the prime minister in parliament, they did have a "legitimate grievance".
"Can any parent, hand on heart, imagine anything more terrible than losing their children? What would you do to see them? We’re going to build a proper system of justice," she said.
May opened her speech with an attack on the government saying: "Labour promised to make the struggle for hard working families better. But the reality after seven years is that every year 70,000 children and their parents are trapped in the misery of the family courts.
She went on: "There are no guidelines about proper contact for both parents to be involved in the upbringing of their children.
"Our country deserves a better system of family justice that is open, fair and accountable; that protects children and respects parents, above all one that recognises that the best parent is both parents."
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