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Representing the child’s interests in judicial decisions

Children are seldom taken into account in decisions such as sentencing.

Considering the child’s best interests before sentencing involves asking questions such as:

  • is the parent about to be sentenced the only carer that the child has,
  • what will happen after imprisonment, 
  • who is going to care for the child,
  • where is the child going to be living,
  • which prisons are at a reasonable distance from the child’s home?

Other considerations include exploring if there is an alternative to custody for the parent. The consideration of these and other issues amounts to a ‘Child Impact Assessment’ of the consequences of judicial decisions.  By piloting child impact statements, courts could consider the repercussions of a parent’s prison sentence on children’s lives.

For further information on sentencing, read the EU funded special edition newsletter focused on judges and police.

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