Family Courts

Parents or grandparents who cannot agree arrangements to see children with whom they do not live may turn to the courts to resolve their disputes. The Scottish court system puts children at the centre of decisions that affect them. A key mechanism for this is the Child Welfare Hearing (CWH), which parties must attend, in which sheriffs have extensive powers to intervene.

Each year around 20,000 children have their futures decided by the family courts. Baby William Ward was one of them. His parents Jake and Victoria were investigated by police and social services when they were unable to explain a serious injury to their three-month-old son. It took them two years to clear their names and a further three years to win the right to speak completely openly about what happened to their family.

Report setting out the results and recommendations arising from the 'Kidspeak' project where online messageboards were created for children and young people to safely make known their views and experiences of domestic and child abuse.