Dr Jaime Craig, lead author of the guidance and a consultant clinical psychologist who has been an expert in the family courts for 20 years, said: “There has been longstanding worry about inappropriately qualified psychologists giving evidence in sensitive cases involving children. We wouldn’t let a psychologist who wasn’t regulated by the HCPC [Health and Care Professions Council] work in the NHS or in the forensic services, and the assessments being made in the family court are no less complex.
“If anything, the decisions being made have a greater impact on children’s lives.”
An expert report can cost as much as £10,000, but the costs of therapeutic interventions can run into tens of thousands of pounds. This is in addition to legal fees, which can prove crippling to parents embroiled in drawn-out litigation.
“Several mothers reported they had lost their homes and life savings during lengthy court battles that ultimately resulted in the removal of their children,” said Natalie Page of the Survivor Family Network.