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"They thought it was safe - but it wasn't"

Recognising children's rights as a means of securing children's safety in Australia's family law system
Victims of family violence Vulnerable children Children's rights Family Court Family law Family violence Procedural justice Lived experience Australia

When parents separate and go to court to resolve disputes, children are often the most affected but least likely to be heard. Yet little is known about the long-term impacts of adversarial court proceedings on children’s well-being.

In this paper, E.G. Whitlam Research Fellow (2021), Associate Professor Camilla Nelson, presents the findings of a multiple case study research project investigating the impact of Federal Circuit and Family Court proceedings on children. It makes recommendations about how legal systems can become more aligned with children’s rights.

Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with adults about their lived experience of litigation as children, and recent academic research, Associate Professor Nelson presents a compelling case for reform to minimise harm and improve the ability of children to exercise rights and agency during family law disputes.

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