Children’sviews on children’s participation in family law proceedings: PaperPresented at the 2012 Joint World Conference on Social Work andSocial Development: Action and Impact, Stockholm, Sweden 8-12 July 2012; Symposium 12:Swedish Standing Symposium Social Work Responses to Vulnerable Groups
2012 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Drawing upon a Swedish study of vulnerable children as social actors in family law proceedings this paper explores how children themselves approach and negotiate the issue of participation. The discussion is based upon thematically structured interviews with children whose father has been violent to their mother and who have met with social workers in the context of a legal dispute about custody, residence or contact. The analysis reconstructs how these children have dealt with encounters with social workers and to what extent they used the space for action they perceived that they had. What children are doing in this situation – that they all are somehow prepared for– can be seen as intentional at least to some extent. Therefore the concept of strategy seems appropriate: actions and non-action are chosen for a purpose. Children’s strategies are outlined and it is discussed how different child strategies may be linked to children’s perspectives on participation expressed in these interviews, and what these links between children’s perspectives and their strategies can tell us about children’s participation in the context of a difficult life situation. One tentative conclusion that can be drawn from the analysis outlined above is that this empirical material points in the same direction as some previous studies in the field. Children in the sample tend to place less emphasis on shared decision- making and stress the right to decide “for yourself”. This tendency can perhaps be linked to the experience of previous violence and/or oppression by parents (fathers) and /or oppression by social workers. Another observation is that it is children who describe explicit or implicit protest against the ways in which the conversations with them have been carried out, that are the children who almost exclusively draw upon the principle of participation when talking about this issue.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-179649OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-179649DiVA: diva2:545692
2012 Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development: Action and Impact, Stockholm, Sweden 8-12 July 2012