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  • Writer's picturekellygrigg

'We weren't being heard': siblings share family justice experience

Image by Annie Spratt

Scared and not knowing what was going on. Spoke to guardians, lawyers, police and even wrote a letter to the judge, but felt like no one was listening to them. This is the experience of two young siblings caught up in the family justice system.

The siblings spoke to Cafcass chief executive Jacky Tiotto, who showed the interview during a keynote speech to the Family Justice Council today. Tiotto was delivering this year's Family Justice Council Bridget Lindley lecture.

The audience, including family division president Sir Andrew McFarlane, heard that the siblings were involved in private family law proceedings.

The younger sibling said: ‘I felt a bit scared. We didn’t really know what was going on as we were quite young. Everyone wasn’t listening to us. When we had meetings, I felt I wasn’t being heard that well.’

The older sibling said: ‘We spoke to so many people involved in the family justice system – the guardian, family legal advisers, we wrote a letter to the judge, we had to speak to police at some points. You would think because we spoke to so many people we felt heard. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

‘I was told in a meeting with my guardian I had no say. I thought she was supposed to be there as a voice for me in the court. I was a bit confused by that. I was told by people I was lying, being a drama queen. Even if I said what I wanted to say, it wouldn’t go anywhere. I lost hope in the system and felt hopeless.’

Read the full article below.

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