Stop making family contact mandatory

Stop making family contact mandatory

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Z M started this petition to Boris Johnson (Prime Minister)

Every day children and young people are being forced to see family members because the family law courts automatically presume it is in the best interest. Too many times are the voices of children and young people being ignored when they voice that they do not wish to have contact with family members as they find it too distressing. This is also evident with the distressful and crisis behaviour that children and young people display.

As a father who has his children court-ordered to live with me due to trauma and emotionally abusive behaviour when living with their mother. In spite of this, I have had to continue demonstrating that I encourage contact, however, the children do not see it as encouraging, they see it as forcing. This then causes a breakdown in our relationship. The behaviour displayed from the children when they are in crisis is violent and aggressive and is always in relation to having contact or discussing past events.

We do not court order adults into situations that are a detriment to their welfare, so why do we continue doing it to children?  The Children's Rights Act and the United Nations Convention for Children's Rights stipulate that children and young people have the right to a safe life, free from harm which includes mental and emotional harm and yet this is far too often ignored and it is claimed that contact is in the best interest of the child. 

Family Law Courts need to have a greater understanding of the impact that their decisions have, not just in the current moment but also for the future as well as being accountable for any damage that is caused by their decisions. There are many children who later in life suffer from significant mental, emotional, personality, and social difficulties because of continuously being placed in these negative and abusive situations. 

Family contact should not automatically be seen as 'in the best interest of the child'. Further exploration of the situation, of the children's behaviour and actually listen to the children's views and wishes before making a decision. The input from the resident parent, carers, professionals need to be heard and taken into consideration. Appropriate work needs to be done with the children and young people to help support them, and if Judges continue to make an automatic 'best interest' decision, they should ensure that the appropriate support is in place. 

The current system in place is failing thousands of children and young people and cannot continue. There needs to be a serious review and change in the way that the system views family contact. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!