Listen to the children

The results of a consultation with 35 children between the ages of three and seventeen that was undertaken by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner on behalf of the Family Justice Council (FJC) has shown that children involved in public and private family law proceedings feel confused and are often given little explanation about what is happening.

They want to have their views heard, and to be given information in child-friendly language and formats. Most do not understand the different roles of the professionals around them or the terminology used. Many of them would like a written record explaining the decisions that they can look at when they are old enough to understand.

District Judge Nicholas Crichton, who chairs the FJC’s Voice of the Child sub-group, said: “Some very young children were involved in this work and the report demonstrates that their experiences can be gained and can contribute to improvements in the way professionals and courts hear the voices of all children and young people.”

The report, “Do more than listen. Act”, is on the Children’s Commissioner’s website.