Lawyers, Advocacy and Child Protection

31 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2013

See all articles by Tamara Walsh

Tamara Walsh

University of Queensland

Heather Douglas

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

In child protection matters, parents and children interact with the legal system at a time of great vulnerability and distress. There are significant power imbalances between parents and children on the one hand, and child protection officers on the other. This makes it difficult for parents and children to effectively advocate for themselves in child protection proceedings. This paper presents the results of empirical research undertaken with community service providers and lawyers regarding advocacy in child protection matters. In this study, both professional groups agreed that advocates are important for parents and children in child protection matters and improve court processes; however, there was no consensus regarding who should perform the advocacy work. Lawyers generally claimed that advocacy work should be undertaken by legally trained advocates, while community service providers tended to focus on the role that non-legal advocates can play in the overall process. It is concluded that both legal and non-legal advocates can make an important contribution towards ensuring that the best outcomes for children and families are achieved.

Suggested Citation

Walsh, Tamara and Douglas, Heather, Lawyers, Advocacy and Child Protection (2011). Melbourne Univeristy Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2011; University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law Research Paper No. 12-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2353236

Tamara Walsh

University of Queensland ( email )

St Lucia
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

Heather Douglas (Contact Author)

The University of Queensland - TC Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia

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