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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 202858 Find in a Library
Title: Child Protection and the Family Court of Western Australia: The Experiences of Children and Protective Parents
Author(s): Alison Hay
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Document: PDF
Type: Conference Material; Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This study relied on interviews with children and protective parents who had been involved in Family Court proceedings in which allegations of abuse/violence had been raised, along with interviews of child and family counselors/therapists and the reports of Court Experts, in order to determine the status and needs of Family Court services in such cases.
Abstract: The parent and child participants in the study had all been assessed by a Court Expert in the context of Family Court proceedings in Western Australia. Allegations of abuse/violence had been raised either prior to or during the Family Court proceedings. Child and family counselors/therapists interviewed for the study were all working for an agency or in private practice. They are experienced in dealing with children who have been exposed to family abuse/violence and who have become involved in Family Court proceedings. The Court Expert reports examined were all court-ordered reports written about the participants at the time of interviewing. Eleven children participated in the study (9 girls and 2 boys). It was clear from the children's accounts of their court experience that they want assistance in having their voices heard in the Family Court. The majority of the children felt the Court Experts and Child Representatives were of no assistance to them in dealing with the issues before the court. The protective mothers provided 28 suggestions for improving Family Court policies and procedures, and child and family therapists offered 22 recommendations for how the Family Court could improve the way it manages residency and contact issues in cases where child abuse has been alleged by a parent. The recommendations address improvement in the skills and knowledge of court personnel regarding assessments and decisions; improvement in the way information is managed and collected; individualization of contact orders and recommendations when child abuse has been substantiated or believed by the child protection agency or the police; and greater reflectiveness and accountability within the Family Court, such that it draws lessons from case outcomes that lead to modifications and reforms in court operations. 31 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Alternative court procedures; Child abuse; Child abuse investigations; Child custody; Child Sexual Abuse; Children in the courtroom; Court procedures; Criminal Justice System Response to Victims; Foreign courts; Victim reactions to the Criminal Justice System; Witness Reactions to the Criminal Justice System
Note: Paper presented at the Child Sexual Abuse: Justice Response or Alternative Resolution Conference held in Adelaide, Australia, May 1-2, 2003; downloaded November 6, 2003.
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