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Young children’s voices in legal settings

Doyle, C. and Handley, G. (2007) Young children’s voices in legal settings. Paper presented to: 17th European Early Childhood Education Research Association Annual Conference (EECERA), Prague, Czech Republic, 29 August-1 September 2007. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: Many children in the UK are subjects of family proceedings. For example 136,332 children were involved in divorce cases in England and Wales in 2005. Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children should have ‘the opportunity to be heard in judicial proceedings’. In view of this, the researchers looked at how far younger children’s voices are acknowledged by Family Court Advisors, part of whose role is to be the voice for the child in Court. The researchers conducted a study, which looked at whether children from 2-8 years could express their views with some clarity and reliability. The findings were then compared with the results of a survey ascertaining the opinions of Family Court Advisors on the ability of very young children to state their views. It was found that, as Vygotsky’s theories suggest, with appropriate support from adults or older children, and a facilitative environment, even the youngest children could present their views with clarity and reliability. In contrast, many of the Family Court Advisors had reservations about directly representing children’s views because of concerns about clarity, reliability or the burdens of responsibility. The study concludes with recommendations for policy and training with reference to Family Court Proceedings. The emphasis of the recommendations is on the training needs of the childcare workers who represent children in judicial and administrative proceedings. The study highlighted the need for more training in child development theories, especially the relevance of those of Vygotsky
Additional Information: Presented to 17th EECERA Annual Conference ‘Exploring Vygotsky’s Ideas: Crossing Borders’, Prague, Czech Republic 29th August – 1st September, 2007.
Uncontrolled Keywords: children’s rights, developmental theories, children’s views, legal settings, Vygotsky
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767 Children. Child development
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1101 Child study. Child development
K Law > K Law (General) > K2100 Courts. Procedure
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV697 Protection, assistance and relief > HV701 Children
Creators: Doyle, C and Handley, Gill
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities
Date: August 2007
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: 17th European Early Childhood Education Research Association Annual Conference (EECERA)
Event Dates: 29 August-1 September 2007
Event Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
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