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How can we ensure that children’s voices are heard in mediation?

Date:23 JAN 2013

Janet Walker

Emeritus Professor of Family Policy Institute of Health and Society Newcastle University:

Over 20 years ago the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child assured children and young people that they would have opportunities to be heard in judicial and administrative proceedings affecting their lives yet hearing children's voices is still a controversial issue. Children's direct participation is low and many children feel alienated confused marginalised and powerless when they are unable to contribute to decisions that will have a fundamental impact on their well-being. The Family Justice Review endorsed the importance of child-inclusive approaches including in mediation and the current reforms provide a critical opportunity to ensure that children experiencing separation and divorce are not silent bystanders.

This article reviews the expectations enshrined in the UNCRC and highlights consistent messages from children that they do not want to be kept in the dark and want to have their views listened to and respected. Children's direct participation in mediation has demonstrated significant beneficial outcomes including higher levels of parental...

Read the full article here.