The Legal System Experiences of Children, Families, and Professionals Who Work with Them

Victoria Weisz, Sarah J. Beal and Twila Wingrove

in Stress, Trauma, and Wellbeing in the Legal System

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199829996
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301492 | DOI:

Series: American Psychology-Law Society Series

The Legal System Experiences of Children, Families, and Professionals Who Work with Them

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Family involvement in the legal system is unique, especially with regard to dependency and divorce court. Resolution to the problems and struggles families are experiencing is sought, but resolution is often ambiguous, without a clear sense of what a fair outcome would be. Additionally, children are profoundly impacted by court proceedings and decisions, often without being central participants in the process. These experiences result in short- and long-term consequences to child and family wellbeing. This chapter discusses research addressing the experiences of families in the legal system, identifies factors that contribute to successful navigation of the system, and considers potential barriers that affect wellbeing. Further, these processes are somewhat distinct depending on the individual’s role; therefore, we will consider the experiences of professionals, children, parents, foster parents, and other family members in both child welfare and divorce settings. Finally, areas for further research in this area will be discussed.

Keywords: stress; trauma; wellbeing; courts; legal system; child; witness; family; innovations

Chapter.  12073 words. 

Subjects: Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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