Children and the court system

There are a number of occasions when children may be directly or indirectly involved in the court system and they will often require support through the process.

Within the UK there a two streams of court that children are most likely to be involved in, those cases that are being heard in criminal court and those heard in family court.  The experience of being involved in court cases can be very different from one child to the next, also depending on whether they are on trial, a witness or a bystander.  By its nature any court hearing is a very adversarial and adult focused process which then attempts to adapt to the needs of children as necessary.  Even if a child is not directly involved (e.g. not attending court, not giving evidence, etc.) they could potentially be picking up information through overhearing conversations or through certain adults telling them things in an attempt to get one over on the other party in the proceedings.

The implication for safeguarding is therefore significant as at one end of the spectrum children and young people may require emotional support, may need plans in place to protect them from others due to their involvement in the court case or at the other end may just need a regular routine in order to counter the disruption in their home lives.

More information on court processes …

For more information about the different orders that can be made in family court, see our Types of Order post.

For information about giving evidence in court, see our Courting Trouble post.

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