National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell says one potential safeguard is to allow children more of a say during family law battles.
The Family Court is examining ways in which children’s views can be heard by the court. Although some worry this could place children in the middle of their parents’ disputes, Mitchell says she speaks to many children who feel “incredibly disempowered” by the legal process.
“I don’t concur with the view that hearing from children puts them at risk. Hearing from them is a safeguarding measure,” she says.
KL : Yes, experts don’t always get it right.
That aside, we tend to agree with Commissioner Mitchell that children need to be heard, although we wonder how it is different interstate given that in SA, children involved in child custody and parenting dispute matters are routinely interviewed and thereby “given a voice” in s62G Family Reports and the s11F Mediation Conferences. Indeed, in one recent matter we dealt with, the 11F report strongly recommended that the bright and articulate 12 y/o could decide how often she spent time with her mother.
Source: The Family Court’s dilemma in cases of child sexual abuse (via www.theaustralian.com.au)