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The Somerset Guardian, 25th January 2023

Last week, Mims Davies, Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, wrote to all Members of Parliament (MPs) about the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), particularly in relation to domestic abuse.

In 2021, the Government commissioned an independent review of the CMS’s operational procedures relating to domestic abuse including violence, which was completed in Spring 2022. The Independent Review was commissioned in response to a recommendation made in a Domestic Homicide Review, published by Safer Lambeth Partnership, concerning the death of a woman from London who was murdered by her ex-partner after making a claim for child maintenance.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was one of several organisations asked to contribute to the Review as both the victim and perpetrator were involved with the CMS leading up to the murder. This is why the Government has sought to publish the Review in collaboration with Viscount Younger of Leckie, Minister for Work and Pensions (Lords).

This Review found that the CMS has worked hard to improve the process for those who have experienced domestic abuse to set up a safe child maintenance arrangement. However, as the Review suggests, there are additional steps that can be taken and the Government has appointed a senior adviser, Dr. Samantha Callan, who has given recommendations to ensure that the correct measures are implemented to protect people making claims.

The Government has accepted eight of the ten recommendations that were made by the Review and a full summary of its position is provided in Annex A of the Government Response. Officials will be undertaking further work over the coming months to implement these recommendations.

Nobody should be too frightened to seek what is lawfully theirs to help raise their children so I welcome this Review and commend the Government for tackling this deeply concerning issue.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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