Statement from Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, following the launch of the Family Justice Review:
‘I welcome the review and endorse the majority of its recommendations, and believe their implementation will greatly enhance the rights of some of our most vulnerable children and young people.
‘I want to commend the work and engagement processes that Justice Gillen and his team undertook to ensure they arrived at the most robust evidence informed recommendations.
‘The report can only be fully implemented following a clear commitment and investment by government, and I am concerned that the current political impasse will significantly delay the progress of this work.'
NICCY was pleased to engage with this process but regrets that its most robust advice concerning “open justice” (Chapter 18) was not fully taken into account.
The Commissioner said: ‘I believe that the recommendations concerning “open justice” have the potential to compromise the welfare and best interests of children and young people.'
The Commissioner went on to say: ‘I am pleased the review clearly listened to the views of children and young people but the proposed additional safeguards when allowing the media to report on family proceedings, are insufficient to fully allay my concerns and will require further consideration.'
NICCY looks forward to continuing to engage with this process.