Our Safe from Harm team works to protect vulnerable people, both children and adults.
Led by expert children’s lawyer Mat Waddington, who has been a member of the Law Society’s children’s panel since 2008, with domestic abuse specialist Victoria Pratt, the team works across our offices in Worcester, Cheltenham, Hereford and the Wye Valley.
We make sure that children’s voices are heard in both public and private law proceedings and that victims of domestic abuse have the urgent help they need to stay safe.
We act for children and those who have their best interests at heart – we give children a voice in court proceedings which concern their future, and we help family members who want to keep those children safe and well.
We can act for the children themselves or for parents, grandparents or other family members with the children’s interests at heart.
Mat will focus on public law – care proceedings started by local authorities which can lead to care orders, supervision orders, emergency protection orders and secure accommodation orders. With 17 years’ experience, he is able to take a case through from start to finish so that clients know he will support them throughout, without needing to bring in barristers.
Fellow partners Brenda Spain and Anita Hennessey, both very experienced in acting for parties in children’s law proceedings and both members of the Advanced Family Law panel, will provide expert advice when children are involved in Child Arrangements Orders (residence or contact). Penny-jo Wilson in Hereford and Rhiannon Hughes in Cheltenham bring their private children’s law expertise to the team to ensure that children have a say in their future.
Money is often a worry, we offer legal aid for care cases which is a right for parents and children.
When relationships tip over into abuse or violence, we can act immediately to help keep victims safe, getting court orders to keep the abuser away from their victim.
Domestic abuse expert Victoria Pratt leads this part of the team’s work – she has not only focused on this area of law for more than 20 years, but also lectures on domestic abuse and has chaired a Home Office domestic violence homicide review.
Victoria and the team are ready to act quickly to enable domestic violence prevention orders or notices to be put in place.
We know how important it is to act quickly – we can often help within 24-48 hours of your call and we always aim to meet you in a safe place, so that you don’t have to come to our offices if that is difficult.
Money is often a worry, but legal aid is available for domestic abuse cases so we will always explore if that’s open to you.