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psychologist or physician).
Experience indicates that the situation should have the format of a talk rather
than a one-sided examination. Preferably, a child should not be heard in open court, but
under conditions of confidentiality.
Assessment of the capacity of the child
The child’s views must be given due weight, when a case-by-case analysis
indicates that the child is capable of forming her or his own views. If the child is capable of forming her or his own views in a reasonable and independent manner, the decision maker must consider the views of the child as a significant factor in the settlement of the issue. Good practice for assessing the capacity of the child has to be developed.
Information about the weight given to the views of the child (the feedback)
Since the child enjoys the right that her or his views are given due weight, the
decision maker has to inform the child of the outcome of the process and explain how her or his views were considered. The feedback is a guarantee that the views of the child are not only heard as a formality, but are taken seriously. The information may prompt the child to insist, agree or make another proposal or, in the case of a judicial or administrative procedure, file an appeal or a complaint.
Complaints, remedies and redress
Legislation is needed to provide children with complaint procedures and
remedies when their right to be heard and for their views to be given due weight is disregarded and violated.7 Children should have the possibility of addressing an ombudsman or a person of a comparable role in all children’s institutions, inter alia, in schools and day-care centres, in order to voice their complaints. Children should know who these persons are and how to access them. In the case of family conflicts about consideration of children’s views, a child should be able to turn to a person in the youth services of the community.
If the right of the child to be heard is breached with regard to judicial and
administrative proceedings (art. 12, para. 2), the child must have access to appeals and complaints procedures which provide remedies for rights violations. Complaints procedures must provide reliable mechanisms to ensure that children are confident that
using them will not expose them to risk of violence or punishment.
Obligations of States parties
Core obligations of States parties
The child’s right to be heard imposes the obligation on States parties to review
or amend their legislation in order to introduce mechanisms providing children with access to appropriate information, adequate support, if necessary, feedback on the weight given to their views, and procedures for complaints, remedies or redress.
7 See the Committee’s general comment No. 5 (2003) on general measures of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, para. 24.