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Family separation and family law

The Commissioner has consulted with children and young people aged 12-20 on their experiences of family separation and their ideas to improve support for young people, services, and the family law system.

The children and young people who participated in this consultation raised the following issues as being important to them in making post-separation parenting arrangements:

  • Ongoing, open and respectful communication with parents during and after separation.
  • Being listened to by parents and service providers.
  • Being treated fairly and as a person of value in their own right.
  • Professionals who had a good rapport with children; were respectful, competent and capable of taking action.
  • Education, awareness and understanding at a community level of issues surrounding parental separation and the family law system.

The Commissioner has recommended in his report that:

  • Professionals within the family law system are appropriately trained to work with children and young people.
  • Children and young people are provided with information about separation, support services and the family law system in ways that are accessible and easily understood by them.
  • Establishment of advisory boards and mechanisms by which children and young people can provide feedback, raise concerns and contribute to high-level policy development and practice review.
  • Children and young people are involved in the design of children’s advocate roles and any other targeted service models or enhancements for their participation in the family law system.
  • Child-friendly complaints processes are introduced and become a core component of the various services within - and connected to - the family law system, so children and young people can seek immediate resolution of issues of concern and provide feedback on services to inform continuous improvement across the system.

The Commissioner’s report below of the consultation was provided to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC), national review of the family law system and also provided to the Family Court of Western Australia. The Commissioner will review the ALRC findings and monitor the implementation of the recommendations within Western Australia.

Speaking Out About Family Separation - The views of children and young people with experience of separation and the family law system in WA

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