The Inclusion of Children in Family Dispute Resolution in Australia: Balancing Welfare versus Rights Principles

The Inclusion of Children in Family Dispute Resolution in Australia: Balancing Welfare versus... Over the course of the 2000s, Australia has been at the international forefront of implementing child-inclusive services to families undergoing separation ( Birnbaum, 2009 ). Around the world, various policy initiatives and research projects have suggested that the direct participation of children in family separation processes correctly recognises the child’s right to be heard in matters of direct relevance to them. This article reports on the findings of a study which involved the interviewing of children and parents participating in family separation mediation in Australia. The key findings were that for most children their inclusion in the mediation was either unremarkable or beneficial in some important ways, however in a small number of cases involving family violence and/or anger, their inclusion sparked fear in children. We conclude that child inclusive separation processes must recognize the pervasiveness of family violence and balance the right of children to be heard with traditional welfare principles regarding the protection of children. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The International Journal of Children's Rights Brill

The Inclusion of Children in Family Dispute Resolution in Australia: Balancing Welfare versus Rights Principles

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2012 by Koninklijke Brill N.V., Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Articles
ISSN
0927-5568
eISSN
1571-8182
D.O.I.
10.1163/157181812X634832
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Over the course of the 2000s, Australia has been at the international forefront of implementing child-inclusive services to families undergoing separation ( Birnbaum, 2009 ). Around the world, various policy initiatives and research projects have suggested that the direct participation of children in family separation processes correctly recognises the child’s right to be heard in matters of direct relevance to them. This article reports on the findings of a study which involved the interviewing of children and parents participating in family separation mediation in Australia. The key findings were that for most children their inclusion in the mediation was either unremarkable or beneficial in some important ways, however in a small number of cases involving family violence and/or anger, their inclusion sparked fear in children. We conclude that child inclusive separation processes must recognize the pervasiveness of family violence and balance the right of children to be heard with traditional welfare principles regarding the protection of children.

Journal

The International Journal of Children's RightsBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2012

Keywords: children’s participatory rights; family dispute resolution; child inclusive practice; domestic violence

References

  • Child-inclusive mediation in cases of domestic violence in Australia
  • Child informed mediation
  • Child-focused and child-inclusive divorce mediation: Comparative outcomes from a prospective study of postseparation adjustment
  • Payoffs and pitfalls of listening to children

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