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NWC Submission to the Child Maintenance Review Group

Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

We welcome the invitation to make a submission on the issues raised in the consultation document. In 2017, NWC outlined the challenges faced by women in securing child maintenance to the Law Reform Commission. As Chair of the National Observatory on Violence Against Women, NWC has advocated on the challenges experienced by survivors of violence in the existing child maintenance process. NWC is also a member of the National One Parent Family Alliance, a coalition of national organisations advocating for the rights of lone parents, including in the area of income poverty which is directly related to this issue. Maintenance is a gender equality issue, in Ireland, 86% of lone parents are women. The processes around how payment is determined and the impact of non-payment affect women disproportionately. As a consequence, child maintenance regulations and functioning should be considered as relevant not only to family life in general and the well-being of children, but also specifically to gender equality. Irrespective of the model adopted, any proposed statutory child maintenance agency must ensure that it upholds the objective of reducing poverty levels for lone parents and their children and reducing the burden on lone parents to litigate for child maintenance orders by doing away with an adversarial approach. In addition, the State must meet its obligations to ensure that women involved in domestic violence are shielded from having to pursue their abuser for maintenance and that legal processes cannot be used to perpetuate further abuse of women.

Download file: NWC Submission to the Child Maintenance Review Group