CHILDREN and young people are being asked for their views as part of a review of family law.

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on proposals aimed at improving how family cases are dealt with by the courts. Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing said a child-friendly questionnaire had been produced to encourage young people to contribute.

The review is looking at how courts deal with cases involving children when the parents have separated, as well as the law around parental responsibilities and rights.

Among the issues under consideration are how the opinions of children are obtained in family cases, and how victims of domestic abuse and their children are protected during court proceedings.

A ban on the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims by their abusers in contact and residence cases in the civil courts is one of the options under consideration.

Ministers are examining whether there should be more regulation of child contact centres and of the child welfare reporters who advise sheriffs and judges in family court cases.

The review will also consider whether the Scottish Government should do more to encourage alternatives to court such as family mediation and will look at improvements to the children’s hearings system.

Ewing said: “We know that family breakdown can be very upsetting for children and it is our responsibility to ensure that the family justice system is supportive and does not contribute to their distress.

“That means putting the best interests of the child first in every case and feedback from this consultation will help us to identify where changes are needed.

“The often sensitive issues involved can give rise to competing viewpoints, and that is why we are looking for as wide a range of responses as possible to help shape the future of family law in Scotland.

“In this Year of Young People, I am particularly keen to hear the views and first-hand experiences of children and young people.”