"Something amazing I guess: children's views on having a say about supervised contact"

Document Type


Publication details

Fitzgerald, RM & Graham, A 2011, '"Something amazing I guess": children's views on having a say about supervised contact', Australian Social Work,vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 487-501.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2011.573861

Peer Reviewed



This paper reports on a small-scale, qualitative study on children's perspectives about their participation in decision-making processes regarding supervised contact. The paper begins with an overview of the study and a summary of findings in relation to four key research questions framed around the idea of children having a say, that is, children's views and perspectives of their participation in family law decision-making processes. These key questions include: What are children's experiences of having a say? What are children's understandings of having a say? Did children want a say in the decision for them to have supervised contact? How did having (or not having) a say feel? Discussion focuses on what importance children place on having a say in family law matters, a finding that is contrasted with children's experiences of marginalisation and exclusion from decision-making processes and of ambivalence and reluctance sometimes expressed around having a say. Children's idea of having a say as taking place in and through particular forms of dialogue and conversation, thus enabling the recognition of children and respect for what they have to say, are also explored. We conclude by reflecting on the implications of the study for professionals working in family law