Section 32 / 47 / Voice of the Child reports

In accordance with Section 32 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (as inserted by section 63 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015) a Court may appoint an expert to determine and convey the child’s views (known as a ‘voice of the child report’).

INFORMATION FOR PARENTS:​

How do I arrange a Voice of the Child report:

Our service receives referrals from the Courts and from lawyers who are acting on behalf of parents. The appointment of an expert to complete ‘a Voice of the Child report’  is a matter for both parties to agree and propose to the Court, an expert who meets the requirements of the Regulations.

Please  note, we do not accept referrals for any family law assessments directly from parents. If you are a parent, please consult with your lawyer about how to request a Voice of the Child report.

What is involved in a Section 32/ 47 report?

Usually the assessor will complete the following:

  • Review information completed by parents for the purpose of the assessment
  • 1-2 Interviews with child/ children
  • 1-2 Interviews with parents
  • Possible joint interviews with children and each parent
  • Interviews with siblings
  • Other professionals who have ongoing/historic involvement may be consulted.
  • Consultation with extended family members, where deemed appropriate
  • A comprehensive report will be provided for the Court.

The main goal of  a  report is to provide the Court with a clear account of the child’s wishes. Parents will also have the opportunity to raise any questions, draw our attention to key issues and to communicate their views.  Prior to meeting  with parents we request that they complete a form in relation to their situation.  We will also meet with the child individually, once or twice, in order to elicit their views.

Our practitioners are skilled and experienced social workers, who will listen to the wishes of the child, and will communicate the child’s wishes to the Court.  Where necessary, we may contact  other professionals that have been involved with the family.  We will also make recommendations in relation to what is in their best interest.  Our report is provided to the Court. Occasionally we may be asked to attend Court in order to discuss the contents of the report.

What is a Voice of the Child report?

A  “voice of the child report” refers to a report ordered under either section 32(1)(b) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (as amended) or section 27(1) of the Domestic Violence Act 2018.

It does not refer to any other type of child welfare report. In particular the expression does not refer to a report on a question affecting the welfare of the child ordered under section 32(1)(a) of the 1964 Act.

Section 32(1)(b) of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 (as inserted by section 63 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015) provides that a Court may, in proceedings for custody of, access to, or guardianship of a child, appoint an expert to determine and convey the child’s views (known as a “voice of the child report”).

Section 27(1) of the Domestic Violence Act 2018 makes similar provision in relation to an application for a domestic violence order (other than an interim/emergency remedy) where the order is sought of behalf of a child. (In the remainder of this part of the Circular, where a reference is made to a particular provision of the 1964 Act it also includes a reference to the analogous provision of the 2018 Act unless otherwise stated).

OUR
SERVICES

We  are also available to provide  bespoke training to both voluntary services and State organisations, tailored around the needs of the service. Private consultations are also available on request, for both professionals and parents.