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Your shout too!

A survey of the views of children and young people involved in court proceedings when their parents divorce or separate

Front cover of Your shout too!By Judith E. Timms, Sue Bailey and June Thoburn

Your shout too! (PDF, 2MB)  is a report published by the NSPCC and carried out with the collaboration of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) .

It presents the views and experiences of children and young people who have been involved in court proceedings to determine residence and contact arrangements following the divorce or separation of their parents. It also reviews the conclusions of existing research in this field.

Your shout too! makes a timely contribution to current debates about transparency, the need to open up family courts to greater public scrutiny, and consultation about the separate representation of the interests of children and young people at the centre of the proceedings.

The issues

Around 3 million of the 12 million children in the UK will experience the divorce or separation of their parents during the course of their childhood - in 2005 there were 151,654 petitions for divorce and 85,835 applications to the court concerning disputes about children’s residence and contact arrangements. Each year, between 25,000 and 30,000 children go through the divorce or separation of their parents for a second or subsequent time.

Your shout too! adds important statistical and narrative information to our understanding of the issues that young people face when their parents or carers separate.

It looks at how they feel about their involvement in the decision-making process, their experience of decisions made for them by the courts, and the presumption that parents know what is best for their children.

About the research

The authors used a postal survey to seek the views of children and young people who had been the subject of disputes about their residence and contact arrangements. All the children who responded had either been the subject of a welfare report prepared by a CAFCASS family court adviser (FCA), or had been represented in the court proceedings by both a CAFCASS children’s guardian and a children panel solicitor. It addressed four key aspects of the young people’s experiences:

  • their understanding of the court processes
  • their satisfaction or otherwise with their level of involvement in the decision-making processes
  • their satisfaction or otherwise with the professional services provided before and during court proceedings
  • their satisfaction or otherwise with the residence and contact arrangements made.

About the children and young people who took part

The 141 children who responded were all aged between 11 and 18 at the time they received the questionnaire. Two-thirds of the respondents were girls and a third were boys.

Sixty-one per cent were living with their mother and 28 per cent with their father, with the remaining 11 per cent either having shared residence or living with another relative.

Whilst the separation or divorce was most likely to have occurred two years before the survey, for some young people the separation had occurred in excess of 10 years previously.

Full report:

Timms, J. E., Bailey, S. and Thoburn, J. (2007) Your shout too!: a survey of the views of children and young people involved in court proceedings when their parents divorce or separate. London: NSPCC. [NSPCC Policy Practice Research Series]. ISBN: 9781842280759

Our 2003 report, Your shout! a survey of the views of 706 children and young people in public care (PDF, 308KB) , is also available.