A paper published by John Haskey, senior researcher in Oxford’s department of social policy and intervention, has revealed the effects of legislation on same sex marriages and civil partnerships and the trends that have followed.
The paper revealed that at the beginning of 2015, 5,300 couples converted their civil partnership to a same-sex marriage which was more than double the 2500 couples wanting a same sex marriage with no previous civil partnership. The numbers are far below those seeking a civil partnership in 2006 when the Civil Partnership Act was enacted, although these numbers have steadily decreased since the 15000 in 2006.
The last two years have seen adoption rates fall by 50% leading the government to propose drastic changes, making it clear to councils that children must be placed with the person best able to care for them up until their 18th birthday. The updated legislation will prioritise lifelong stability with a loving family by making this a legal requirement, ensuring the child’s lifelong needs are considered.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: ‘Every single day a child spends waiting in care is a further delay to a life full of love and stability – and this simply isn’t good enough. We have a responsibility to transform the lives of our most vulnerable children, making sure they get the opportunities they deserve.’
When separating, mediation is the first tool used by legal professionals and the court requires it to be tried before legal proceedings, unless special circumstances such as abuse or violence have occurred.
The Ministry of Justice published a leaflet on 6 January 2016; its most recent publication on mediation since 2014. It is designed to help separating families understand what it is, the benefits and the process, in order to give people the knowledge they need to make an informed decision on what is best for their family after separation.
New legislation has been enacted to help victims suffering from emotional or psychological abuse. From 29 December, coercive and controlling behaviour has become a criminal offence under Section 76 of the Serious Crimes Act 2015 and anyone found guilty of this new crime could face up to five years imprisonment, £1000 in fines or both.
Attitudes towards domestic abuse have evolved since the idea that what happened in the home was a private matter. Public campaigns have encouraged victims to come forward and have reduced the stigma attached to being a victim of abuse for both men and women. Changes in the law echo that of public opinion and have created legal consequences for abusers and remedies for the victims. A prime example of this being Section 76 mentioned above.