As Carol Long brings up in this article, "An abused child who is not listened to becomes an invisible child and the lesson they learn is that they don't count." Many children report that seeking help is scary or hard, and even if they do receive help it is very limited or what they say is not actually listened to and acted upon. Kids in cases as such are sometimes not believed. Keir Starmer observes that "the criminal justice system seems to expect a higher burden of proof for sexual offences than it expects in other crimes. This clearly does not help abused children who are vulnerable and therefore more likely to be fragile coping as witnesses." Children are too often failed to be listened to, having their stories doubted, or overridden by the parent. Police and NSPCC promise to give victims a voice and a fair chance to tell their side of the story.
It is not uncommon for kids stuck in the middle of legal cases to end up in partial or even full custody with the more abusive or negative parent. It's a widely shared opinion that minors are just treated as property to be divided among the separated parents without being given a voice. If the abuse cannot be medically proven, then it is assumed that the victim is lying and they aren't a reliable source of information. Furthermore, parents who fight the legal system to protect their children risk losing full custody. Leach argues, “when people say that it’s ‘only fair’ for a father and mother to care for their 5-year old daughter on alternate weeks, they mean it is fair to the adults – who see her as a possession and her presence as their right – not that it is fair to the child.” Innocent, victimized kids are placed in unsafe, harmful positions , all based off of lack of evidence. When kids are placed in the middle, parents battle over custody. One of the reasons this is not fair for the kid sis because they get no say in where they go- this results in the winning parent receiving not only custody of the minor, but also money from the opposing parent for child support, attorney fees and more. The whole situation could be over money in general, not what is best for the child.
The CLC is an activist company working to give minors a voice in legal cases in which they are involved. They're here to provide one on - one attorneys for children suffering from illness, parental divorce, abuse, neglect, or other cases. A Guardian ad litem (GAL) or the Attorney for the Minor Child (AMC) may be assigned to a child, and their job is to give children a chance to share their side of the story, and hear out everything they have to say. This provides a sense of security to the child; allowing them to truly have a voice. On top of all that, it's free. "The Children’s Law Center works to protect indigent children involved in their parents’ family court cases by providing high-quality legal representation and advocating for policies that advance the well-being and best interests of the children. " , as stated on their website.
Annually, 58,500 minors who claim to be victims of an abusive or neglective parent are court ordered straight into the custody of the abusive parent without being given a chance to voice their perspective or receiving fair legal representation. Children who are abused are often pushed towards or into the custody of the abusive parent, and the 'safe' parent is portrayed as the bad guy, said to have parental alienation syndrome , or 'alienating the child from the other parent' . This is commonly the situation in many cases, and leads to the child being silenced. As Maralee McLean states , " All of these [pieces of evidence] were either ignored or suppressed by the court. Worst of all Ami, the child being abused, had no voice. My child was not heard!" Children are taken out of custody of parents, with the parent being labeled as trying to 'coax the child' onto their side. It's not fair for the child to be silenced, especially based off of the actions of their parent.
The Justice for Children’s Call Center, JCCC is a nonprofit organization working to provide a safe place for children who are ignored or failed to be protected by child protection services. "The purpose of Justice for Children is to provide a full range of advocacy and services for abused and neglected children; that includes pro-bono legal advocacy, public policy monitoring, guidance through a complex child protective system, professional referrals, mental health services, court watch, research, education, and emotional support." , as they state on their website. If it appears a child will be placed back into an unsafe situation with the abusive parent, then JCCC will step in and provide a thorough and one on -one investigation with the minor involved. They can also provide legal care and protection. They want the best for he child and believe every abuse is a crime that needs to be treated as such. They also believe when a child reports being sexually molested or physically abused, the child should be protected until and unless the report is proven false. No child should be forced to spend unsupervised time with their abuser.
In the UK, children will now have more of a voice in legal cases such as neglect, abuse and divorce. The governmental support for cases as such wants the legal system to be more child inclusive. Quote Justice Minister Simon Hughes, "I’ve been really impressed with Family Justice Young People’s Board (FJYPB) and the arguments which its members put forward. This is why I have taken steps to make sure that children and young people from the age of 10 will be able to express their views in cases which affect them." Thousands of children feel their opinions are overread or ignored in cases, and children 10 and up are now being given the oppurtunity to share their opinions and appear in court cases where they are affected. The court system is also being modifided to be more child - friendly , where as officials are taking the time to thourghly explain the family justice system through a set of intiatives such as interactive games and faculties where the children can talk to the judge one on one or even send letters and pictures. Bethany Shepard says , " I spent much of my childhood fighting just to have my voice heard. The work being done currently on the voice of the child is really encouraging to see and is definitely a step in the right direction for family justice."