Date lodged: 3 June 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to ensure that the rights and views of the child at child contact centres are listened to prior to them seeing their parents.
Answered by: Mark McDonald 16 June 2016
Many of those who use contact centres will have been referred there by the courts. 78% of all referrals to Relationships Scotland’s child contact centres come from the Scottish courts or solicitors. The relevant legislation when a court is considering a contact case is section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. This provides that when considering whether or not to make an order, the court shall regard the welfare of the child concerned as its paramount consideration. It also provides that the court, taking account of the child’s age and maturity, shall, so far as practicable, give the child an opportunity to express views and shall have regard to any views the child expresses. There is a presumption that a child aged 12 or above is of sufficient age and maturity to form a view.