Collaboration with University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow.
There is significant international concern about children's participation rights and responses to domestic abuse in family law proceedings. The Scottish Government has acknowledged these concerns and are seeking to address them with the introduction of a Family Law Bill to Parliament. Our project examines how children’s participation and domestic abuse are addressed during the Family Law Bill’s passage through Parliament. By studying parliamentary processes, we analyse how evidence and constructions of children and parents are invoked and used by policy makers to advance particular interests and arguments. Research methods include: observations of parliamentary debates and oral evidence provided to committees; a discourse analysis of parliamentary written reports from debates and committee meetings; and qualitative interviews with key stakeholders. The research culminates with a symposium that brings together policy actors (including civil servants) to share findings and facilitate reflection on the outcomes that law-making processes deliver. By bringing together the disciplines of social policy, childhood studies and law, this timely project will make an original contribution to an internationally significant area of inquiry. Furthermore, the research is intended to act as a catalyst for a future programme of research led by the research team.