Children struggling with parental separation
Parental separation is a source of major anxiety for children, however the legal processes involved in separation, such as family courts and custody arrangements, are not child-centred and this can increase the distress of young people, the ISPCC has warned.
Launching its Annual Report 2015, the children's charity noted that there are a range of issues affecting children who are referred to its Childhood Support Service, including early sexualisation, drugs and alcohol, bullying and cyber safety.
However, one of the main reasons for referral is parental separation. According to ISPCC chief executive, Grainia Long, the impact of separation on children has become ‘a growing concern for our childhood support workers'.
"While relationship breakdown is difficult on everyone, there are ways in which changes to the legal system could reduce the impact on children.
"The family courts system, custody and access processes and even mediation process are not child-centered, the voice of the child is often not heard in these situations and children's emotional wellbeing can be affected," she explained.
She pointed out that there is no early-stage intervention, therefore referrals to the Childhood Support Service often occur late when cases are already at the extreme stage.
"There is a clear need to address the deficiencies in process, in the support systems available and in the courts systems that do not enable the voice of the child to be heard in these situations," Ms Long said
She noted that the ISPCC's main goal in relation to its support services is to ‘increase the child's psychological resilience so that they can cope with any issues they encounter'.
"Issues in children's lives such as bullying and parental separation can upset a child's world. We help them to pick up the pieces and support them with putting them back together again," she said.
Meanwhile, the report also showed that the ISPCC's Childline service answered 421,672 calls to its phone service in 2015 and took part in 18,305 conversations on its Childline online service.
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[Posted: Thu 21/07/2016]