Edward Kirkwood and Daniel Sheridan deliver a training session on sexual abuse cases to lawyers and social workers at Central Bedfordshire Council.


9th Apr 2024 | Seminars


Edward Kirkwood and Daniel Sheridan were delighted to assist with a request for training. They recently delivered an informative talk to a team of lawyers and social workers, qualified at all levels, at Central Bedfordshire Council.

Edward and Daniel emphasized the key and fundamental principles and practical ‘tips’ to have in mind when bringing a case of sexual abuse on behalf of a Local Authority. Stressing the need for child protection professionals to resist the siren call of what has been termed “the child protection imperative” (see: Oldham MBC v GW and PW [2007] 2 FLR 597 at [97]). The fact that the allegations with which this court is concerned relate to alleged sexual abuse of children is not a reason to relax the forensic rigor the court brings to bear when deciding disputed issues of fact, nor the rules of evidence that apply to that exercise.

Cases of alleged sexual abuse, and specifically about alleged sexual abuse of children, are highly emotive and give rise to strong feelings and robustly expressed views and opinions. Those underlying feelings are unavoidable from a human perspective. We as professionals must never fail to adopt a dispassionate approach to the process of determining whether on the relevant and admissible evidence available to the Court the facts alleged by the Local Authority are established on the balance of probability, per Re P (Sexual Abuse – Finding of Fact Hearing) [2019] EWFC 27.

The training was well received as can be seen from this lovely feedback: “…Yours and Ed’s training was priceless, as it really brings to the forefront of professionals minds how easy it is to get carried away with the rat race, but when you look at individual cases, they have real big impact on peoples lives and the importance of having an open mind, with investigative traits; justice can be achieved and should be achieved for the best interests of Children and others. Thank you for all your continued support, as you are very valuable with the experience and talent you bring as an instructed Counsel”.

Chambers should be delighted to assist with training requirement and opportunities in this topic and on a range of other specialist family law matters, for further information please contact clerks@harcourtchambers.co.uk.


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If you would like some help or advice, talk about a similar matter, call our clerks on 020 7353 6961.

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