Ko te tamaiti te pūtake o te kaupapa - The child – the heart of the matter
What is supervised contact?
Supervised contact enables a child to spend time with a parent or family member with whom they do not have day-to-day contact, supervised by trained staff who ensure a safe and child-friendly environment. Contact with a child is how and when a child gets to spend time with a parent or other person who does not have day-to-day care of them. It used to be called supervised access.
Supervised contact takes place in a safe, controlled situation, overseen by someone such as a relative or an organisation that provides supervised contact services. It is most often used when one parent has been violent, either towards the other parent or towards the children.
Supervised contact has given many parents the chance to rebuild solid relationships with their children.
If a Family Court is dealing with a dispute about arrangements for the care of a child and one of the parties claims that the other has been violent, the Court will hear the evidence and decide whether the claim is true. If it decides it is true, the Court can order that the person who has been violent will have supervised contact with the child, unless it is satisfied that the child would be safe with unsupervised contact.
When the Judge is making a decision, they must take the child's wishes into account and may appoint a lawyer for the child. The Court may also require contact to be supervised until it can hear and decide on a claim of violence. The Court may also order supervised contact in situations that don't involve violence (for example, to re-introduce a parent to a child after a period of no contact between them).