Contact centres and their role in proceedings

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All of the contact centres in our area are supported contact centres and not supervised contact centres. Supported contact centres are staffed by volunteers. For many families these centres are a valuable resource, enabling children to meet with a parent in an environment that is child-friendly and safe. The volunteers who so generously give of their time are there to facilitate contact and not to supervise that contact, form judgments about the quality of the contact or make notes about what they have observed. The only circumstance in which it may be appropriate for a court to order a volunteer from a contact centre to attend court to give evidence is where that volunteer has witnessed a serious incident (e.g. an assault by one parent on the other) and her evidence is required as a witness of fact to enable the court to make findings in respect of that incident. It follows from this that is also wholly inappropriate to order a contact centre to disclose copies of its records, logs or other documents.