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Family Courts

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many children, and which organisations representing children, responded to the Confidence and Confidentiality consultation on family courts; (147396)

(2) (a) how many children, and (b) which organisations representing children, his Department has sent the consultation document Openness in Family Courts.

Over 200 children and young people contributed their views to the consultation on Confidence and Confidentiality. Some of them did this by registering on our online discussion forum (32) or visiting the Minister (three children from Southwark council). Some of them did this by attending one of various events held around the country (104 at a children's rights event in Leicester; 13 at an event run by the Family Justice Council/National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) in Birkenhead; 32 took part in a mock hearing run by the Children's Commissioner). Others submitted their views as part of a broader response from local authorities (including Oldham and Calderdale) and children's organisations (including NYAS and Voice of the Child in Care). Still others (12) produced a video about young people's views with help from CAFCASS.

Formal responses were received from the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, By the Bridge, Voice, the National Children's Bureau and NSPCC. The full list is available at annex A of the response paper at:

The consultation document was published on 20 June and mailed to over 800 individuals and organisations. The initial mail-out included 148 directors of children's services across England and Wales. In addition, copies were sent to a large number of voluntary organisations that represent children and ensure their voice is heard, such as Young Voice and Voice for the Child in Care. It was sent to organisations that offer children support, including Childline, the Children's Society, Action for Children and the NSPCC. It was sent to organisations that protect children's rights, such as Children's Rights Alliance for England, the Children's Legal Centre and National Children's Bureau.