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Family and Criminal Barristers Deliver Domestic Abuse Conference


Trinity Barristers Chambers, in conjunction with Gateshead Council, delivered a Domestic Abuse conference on the morning of Saturday 23rd November 2013 at Northumbria University Law School.

The conference was attended by almost 100 delegates including criminal and family solicitors, local authority childrens and vulnerable adults services, community safety boards, social workers, GP's, health care professionals, Cafcass, Guardians, court staff, Crown Prosecution Service, Police, women's refuges and charities.

Feedback gathered from those who attended was excellent with many of the delegates giving this poignant event top marks. Some of the comments:-

“very informative and very well organised”

“Caroline Goodwin is an inspiration!”

“all speakers knew their subject extremely well”

“very informative and well organised”

“excellent variety of speakers”

“Caroline Goodwin delivered her speech with outstanding enthusiasm”

“really clear and well presented”

“excellent presentations confidently put together relevant to my field and of a very high standard”

“practical information about support from police and agencies, civil remedies and sentencing”

Gateshead Council and Trinity Chambers worked together to arrange for the Conference to link in with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and White Ribbon Day on 25th November.

The purpose of the conference was in particular to raise awareness and understanding of Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC's) and to understand the connection between MARAC's and legal aid for high risk victims of domestic abuse in the light of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The Trinity barristers discussed the legal framework regarding dealing with domestic abuse as well as the courts’ sentencing powers.

MARAC's are regular local meetings where information about high risk domestic abuse victims (those at risk of murder or serious harm) is shared between local agencies. By bringing all agencies together as a MARAC and ensuring that whenever possible the voice of the victim is represented by the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), a risk focused, co-ordinated safety plan can be drawn up to support the victim. There are currently over 260 MARAC's operating across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, managing over 57,000 cases a year.

The speakers at the event were Julie Crichton, Business Manager, Safeguarding Adults  and Bernie Toomey, Assistant Team Manager Referral and Assessment Team both of Gateshead Council, Trinity Chambers' criminal and child care barristers Caroline Goodwin and Brian Mather, Cris McCurley, Partner at Ben Hoare Bell Solicitors and Detective Inspector Denise Clark from the Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, Northumbria Police.

If you were not able to attend the conference but would be interested in receiving the pack that was given out at the conference please contact Kirsty Hart at Trinity Chambers and she will arrange for one to be sent out. Kirsty@trinitychambers.co.uk or 0191 232 1927.

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Chris Lucarelli

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