Authors: Leanne Horrocks, LMH Clinical Services, Suffolk, UK; Jane L. Ireland, School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, UK and Ashworth Research Centre, Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK.



Family Courts make difficult and complex decisions, which can have lifelong and fundamental implications for some of the most vulnerable members of society. Psychological assessments have an important role in assisting Courts to understand complex individual and systemic dynamics, including the capacity of parents to make changes within timescales relevant for their child/ren to prevent the risk of on-going harm. Given the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the changes in moving from direct to remote assessment are considered through a lens of appropriateness for this often complex cohort, with potential caveats and issues for consideration. Focusing on adult assessments, the paper will comment on the lack of in-person presence, practical considerations, ensuring safety and security, preparing for emerging vulnerabilities, considering measure validity, being assured of client consent, and adhering to professional and ethical standards. It raises the questions of can and should assessments be conducted. ?In doing so, it proposes a framework to guide professional thinking. Ensuring a fair, ethical and considered process takes place is the ultimate aim of any assessment. The proposed guidance is designed to support this.

Key words: Family Court; psychological assessment; complex needs; remote-working; Covid-19.

Vol 1, Issue 2, October 2020