Protect children's privacy in the Family Court.

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Protect children's privacy in the Family Court.

This petition had 1,065 supporters

In 2010 the Government failed to honour a commitment it gave to exploring the views of young people before implementing Part 2 of the Children Schools and Families Act 2010, which included proposals to allow greater media access to the fFamily Court to ensure transparency.

The President of the Family Court Division, Sir James Munby, has now published guidance to implement these proposals without exploring the true and damaging effects this could have on children and young people, and all to allow more transparency, and to prove to the public that they have nothing to hide. THIS SHOULD NOT NOT TAKE PRIORITY OVER CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLES SAFEGUARDING AND WELL-BEING.


The young people working alongside NYAS believe that the Family Court should remain private (not ‘secret’ as it is sometimes accused of being) and feel strongly that more media access will have severely damaging consequences, including children and young people not telling the entire truth about their family life if they fear it will become public knowledge, due to their lack of trust in the media.


Sir James Munby, we, the undersigned, ask you to please LISTEN to and ACT upon the views of Children & Young People affected by your decisions, and suspend all further (next steps) action to allow greater media access to the Family Court and private court documents and ensure that the Government  


 * Carry out a FULL public consultation in which the real issues for children and families are fully explained, and in which young people with experience of the system are included,


 * Set out in that consultation alternative methods of informing the public about the work of family courts and mechanism for addressing complaints which do not put children and young people at risk.


 * Undertake a proper parliamentary debate on proposals as promised in 2010.


Children and Young People working alongside NYAS attended a consultation in November 2013 to discuss their experiences, thoughts and feelings about allowing the media greater access into the family courts.  Since then they have given up a lot of their time to help us to understand why it is so important for them to try to put a stop to this.


 They said:


 ‘It’s about privacy and protecting the rights of the young person to grow up without the risk and the fear – the fear that all their problems will be revealed.’ [Male, 16 years]


Children and young people going through the family courts are at a vulnerable point in their lives. By allowing the media greater access to hearings, court documents including medical reports and by relaxation of the rules on what can be published, vulnerable children and young people are exposed to further risks – of humiliation, bullying and increased emotional health problems.


                                          HELP US TO STOP THIS NOW.


It can be upsetting to read about your own family’s breakdown and details of your ill-treatment - imagine how much more traumatic it would be if strangers and friends in your community are able to read intimate details about your case and discuss and share that information.  


When intimate details are published they can never be removed: they remain on the web and can affect the child or young person FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. 


Public trust in the media is already low: newspapers have been proven not to be trustworthy with a number of trials and prosecutions regarding illegal accessing and use of personal data; now it is proposed to give the media greater media access to the family courts; why should we trust them with intimate personal details of our lives - would you trust them with yours? Would you invite reporters to read your medical records or those of your parents? As Lord Justice Ward pointed out:


 “They are bound to be harmed by immediate publicity, both because it would undermine the family as a whole and because the playground is a cruel place where bullies feed on personal discomfort and embarrassment.”  Lord Justice Ward in ETK v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EWCA Civ 439


Social media means that reported information will go well beyond the playground: it will be on the net, available to anyone and at any point in a child’s life – at school, college and work – there at the press of a button to friends, future employers, work colleagues– and future partners.




Some views of the young people who took part in our Consultation in November 2013:


‘…as babies or very young children they could not give their consent [and] the parents had not thought about the long term implications for their child – who has its whole life ahead – but here are intimate details, available for everybody and forever.…And people will be coming up to the child saying “I know your business…’ [Female, 24 years]


‘It’s not so much perhaps what happens at the time for this baby but the future use and impact it might have – ten years down the line, it will still be on-line and people will have posted comments on the story – and all that can be very damaging to the child’ [Male, 18 years]


To read the full report please visit 


Thank you for your support.


NYAS - and the Children and Young People working alongside us to protect their right to a private life.


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