Listen to the child, but only when it suits

The Judiciary website has published a speech (PDF format) given by Sir Mark Potter in Israel on the rights of children to be heard. I wonder if this means that male children in that country will have a say on whether or not they are circumcised? After all, unnecessary circumcision would surely be classed as abuse if it were not shrouded by the 'legitimation' of religious delusion.

[Thanks again to Current Awareness for the link.]


  1. The fact that children are getting dragged into courts is a bad idea in my view.

    The Children Act already lets them (children) become party to proceedings by use of a Guardian, who can report via Cafcass what the child's expressed wishes are. No real weight is put on these unless they have age appropriate understanding of the issues.

    Show me a 9 year old who understands the life impact of not having regular father or mother input into their lives will have on them as a teenager, or as an adult, and the relationships they will have.

    I believe the right to be heard is more a metaphorical term to allow a child to be respected and have a sense of input in matters affecting them.

    Most parents who for example as an intact couple decide the family will relocate homes or emigrate due to new work opportunities will sit their kids down and discuss the situation with them. This is to make them feel party to the decisions and to appear to be listening to their concerns, and to address them. Any decent parent will be able to convince the child that its best for the family and win and objections around. The child was party to the decisions and their voice was heard, but they didn't get to make the decision nor influence it if it had already been determined. As the child gets older, such enforced decision making by parents gets harder, but up until 16 to 18 the parents decision is still final.

    If we are to drag kids into courts just to pay lip service to "hearing them", it's a bad idea. It also has the potential of perpetuating Parental Alienation and manipulation of a minor.

    If a Judge sees an adamant 9 year old saying they are either scared or hate their father, what do you think such a judge is likely to do? Is it any different from Cafcass reporting "the child is fearful of the father for no apparent reason", surely the next step is to refer the child to professional assessment / help. A judge has less experience with dealing with children than a welfare would hope!!!

  2. Many thanks for that interesting and thoughtful input.


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