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Increase in radicalisation cases in family courts

Increase in radicalisation cases in family courts

Increasing numbers of cases involving children whose parents are planning to travel to areas of Syria controlled by Islamic State are coming before family courts, the country’s top family judge has warned.

Guidance issued by president of the Family Division Sir James Munby has revealed there have been at least eight cases involving more than 20 children so far this year.

Munby said most cases have involved the local authority initiating proceedings but has now called on police to begin making applications where they have concerns.

“There is no reason why, in a case where it seems to the police to be necessary to do so, the police should not start proceedings for the purposes, for example, of making a child a ward of court, obtaining an injunction to prevent the child travelling abroad, obtaining a passport order [or other orders],” the guidance states.

The guidance also states that, in light of the complexity of cases involving allegations or suspicions that children, with their parents or on their own, are planning or attempting to travel to parts of Syria controlled by Islamic State, they should all be heard by High Court judges of the Family Division.

In some of the cases children have been placed in foster care. In other cases children have been made wards of court.

In the guidance Munby stresses the importance that all safeguarding agencies involved in cases adopt a “co-ordinated strategy, predicated on open and respectful co-operation”.