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Constructing Children's Views in the Enforcement of Contact Orders

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image of The International Journal of Children's Rights

Using findings from a qualitative Swedish study on children in family law, in particular the enforcement of contact orders, the article focuses on how professionals recognise and account for children's views in such proceedings. Data include 46 court verdicts, whereof 18 files were selected for special study, and 12 interviews with professionals. Results indicate that constructions of what are the children's 'real' views; a discussion of protecting children from negative responsibility; and chronological age, can be used to subordinate children's participation in court. In cases where children's 'conditions' for contact are disregarded by the court, we argue that the children's views are invalidated, as are the possible risk for children's exposure to violence and/or abuse. The reason for involving children in decision-making in family law is consequently not only to uphold children's rights, but to promote children's protection as well.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Work, Göteborg University


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