Resolutions to the 6th World Congress on Family Law and Childrens Rights
Resolutions to the 6th World Congress held in Syndey Austrila was originally posted on World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights
That in considering the permanent placement of a child regard should be had to the best interests of the child, balancing the right of the child to his or her cultural, ethnic, and linguistic identity and heritage, and the child’s right to have his or her views taken into account appropriately. The right of the child to know his or her biological parents should be facilitated when such a process is in the child’s best interests. (Intercultural adoption)
That any inter-country adoption process should be supported by a proper monitoring and reporting mechanism between governments of sending and receiving countries. (Intercultural adoption)
That this Congress supports work to promote objective methods of assessment of parenting capacity that take account of:
- the use of the assessment including whether it is for private law or public law purposes.
- the need for courts to understand the ramification of the assessment and what underpins it.
- the need to establish standards of training and competence for social scientists when presenting expert analysis evaluations.
That the Attorney-General’s Department should fund ongoing research on the effectiveness of the Hague Convention in the Australian context and publish the results on their website.
That willingness to donate organs should be indicated on drivers’ licences.
That, acknowledging the harmful effects of family violence and also acknowledging that holding perpetrators of such violence accountable in a criminal context is often challenging and traumatic for victims, this Congress encourages the use of a less adversarial approach to criminal cases involving family violence and together believe that children and other victims of violence will be served better by a more inquisitorial approach.
That jurisdictions should be encouraged to provide for judicial education with regard to family and domestic violence.
That the issue of a re-examination of the United Nations (“UN”) Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”) should be referred to the World Congress Board to consider how this issue could be pursued through the UN or state parties.
That the next World Congress should be encouraged to examine the desirability of a statement of the duties, obligations and responsibilities of parents, communities, governments and the world towards children.
That, with a view to prioritising family reunification, the Congress supports the implementation of the Western Australian “Signs of Safety” program and the establishment of Family Drug Treatment Courts similar to the US and UK models with a view to making the use of less adversarial court processes available for the benefit of children.
- jurisdictions which have not appointed an international Hague Network judge should be encouraged to do so.
- where appropriate, jurisdictions should be encouraged to establish a national network of regional and decentralised judges (the Argentinean and Canadian National Networks being effective models).
- jurisdictions should be encouraged to have specialised judges, or if that is not possible, judges who have the benefit of effective training in Hague abduction matters. Jurisdictions who have developed training programs should share those programs with other jurisdictions.
- judges should be encouraged to use judicial communication in cases of international child protection.
- judges in each jurisdiction should establish judicial communication guidelines. Such guidelines should be, as far as legally possible, internationally consistent. The Canadian guidelines for judge-to-judge judicial communication provide a helpful model for such judicial communication guidelines.
- the international family law community should be encouraged to develop child relocation guidelines to achieve, wherever possible, consistency of approach between jurisdictions in collaboration with judicial and legal representatives, academics, social scientists and other interested stakeholders.
That this Congress encourages governments, state and national, to implement consistent policies, and to support existing frameworks for the protection of children, and to take responsibility cooperatively for addressing generational dysfunction perpetuated by poverty and family violence.
That this Congress
- encourages arbitration as an innovative and useful means and opportunity for resolving private international family law disputes, whenever possible and appropriate, and alongside other dispute resolution methods.
- invites the EU and the Hague Conference to incorporate arbitration as dispute resolution within future family law measures; and supports the creation and sharing of good family law arbitration practice between jurisdictions and professions.
That in family law proceedings, to build a bridge when customary/indigenous law matters are at stake, we need to develop functionally and culturally relevant guidelines to be applied in these matters which:
- uphold international children’s rights.
- uphold the paramountcy of the best interests of the child.
- provide for the right of the child to be heard.
That the Congress should encourage interdisciplinary exchanges of ideas and views between judges, lawyers, social workers and therapists.
That this Congress resolves to:
- pursue interdisciplinary dialogue and sharing of knowledge to strengthen collaboration and education between the legal, social science and education disciplines to improve practice frameworks and better outcomes for children and families engaged in family law decision-making.
- support and assist in research that shall focus on the experiences of adult children who have been the subject of family law decisions as children.
- explore ways and means by which children can safely and effectively participate in family law decision-making.
That the Congress
- recommends that a national symposium be convened in key jurisdictions to discuss and resolve pressing legal issues and potential law reform concerning youth cybersafety, such as those related to ‘sexting’ and cyberbullying.
- proposes the development, through relevant government agencies and NGOs, of a common evaluation framework to determine the efficacy and future evolution of youth cybersafety/digital citizenship programs, and for it to be adopted within nation states.
- advocates for multi-faceted research and development around cybersafety and its programs focussing on relationships and behaviours.
- calls for genuine and ongoing consultation with youth as a vital component of developing effective education and incident prevention measures in relation to cybersafety and digital citizenship.
- recommends the removal of artificial boundaries between the online and offline worlds when approaching research and development in relation to societal attitudes and behaviours, as young people themselves do not make a distinction.
- recommends a consistent whole-of-community approach to cybersafety and well-being, aimed at creating lasting cultural and behavioural change, with key organisations working to the same goals.
That the Board of World Congress should further consider the question of whether it is feasible to encourage jurisdictions not to prosecute children in criminal proceedings other than in respect of serious crimes, unless diversionary measures have first been attempted and have demonstrably failed to produce an outcome acceptable to all
That judicial officers who, either in the exercise of their discretion or otherwise, are required to interview or communicate directly with children (especially in circumstances where the child’s views and wishes are factors to be considered by the court in determining the welfare of the child) should be provided with the requisite training.
That all countries should consider adopting the 2007 Hague Convention on International Enforcement of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance and the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention.
- The Congress commends those states that have not previously done so but are now considering the introduction of child friendly justice systems in accordance with the CRC and other relevant international instruments.
- The Congress urges all states that have not done so to consider passing specific Juvenile Justice Laws advancing the principles of the CRC and other relevant international instruments as soon as is practicable for them to do so.