Communicating with children in court: A useful guide in child protection

Burns, Kenneth; O'Mahony, Conor; McAuley, Carley; Ó Súilleabháin, Fiachra; O'Callaghan, Elaine - University College Cork, Ireland


If it is stressful for adults to attend court, it is doubly so for children and young people. Courts can be intimidating places and child protection cases are highly-sensitive and emotive. It can be hard to understand the language used by professionals; tensions can be high; there is a lot at stake; the physical design of court buildings can be intimidating; and professionals’ roles can be unclear to children and parents. Professionals working in criminal and family courts often say that they feel ill-prepared to communicate with children and young people. This tool provides practical suggestions and guidance to support your practice in communicating with children in court.