What responsibility do courts have to hear children's voices?

Author(s)Cashmore, Judy and Patrick Parkinson
Title What responsibility do courts have to hear children's voices?
Source International Journal of Children's Rights, Jan 2007, Vol 15, pp43-60
Date 2007
Document type Journal article
Coverage Australia and New Zealand
Summary This article discusses the application in Australian and New Zealand courts of Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The authors examine children's participation as witnesses in child sexual assault matters and as informants or participants in family law matters. The pivotal role and responsibility of the judicial officer is examined in detail. Areas where judicial officers can improve the experience of child witnesses include intervention to prevent inappropriate questioning, setting the correct respectful tone in the courtroom and minimisation of delays. The authors suggest that legislation amendments may assist in preventing inappropriate questioning of children in criminal matters but improved judicial education and a better understanding of child sexual assault are also important.
Keywords Children; court; sexual assault; criminal justice system; participation

Victims rights