Share your views of Virtual Hearings

Posted on 05th Sep 2022
Teenage woman with long hair smiling at the camera

We are working with Our Hearings, Our Voice to try and understand whether virtual Hearings should remain part of the Children’s Hearings System.

To do this, we are looking to speak to the following groups about their experiences of attending virtual Hearings:

  • children and young people (aged 8-20)
  • parents
  • kinship carers
  • foster carers

To take part in the study, you need to have attended either a virtual or a hybrid Hearing since they were introduced in April 2020. Virtual Hearings are Hearings where all of the people taking part do so using video-conferencing software, while hybrid Hearings are ones where some people attended the Hearing in-person, while others attended virtually. 

You do not need to have attended a Children’s Hearing in-person to take part. 

Participation in the study will involve taking part in either an individual or group interview lasting around 1 hour. 

During the discussion you will be asked about your experiences of going to virtual hearings and whether you think the use of virtual Hearings affected your rights and ability to participate within the Hearing. You will also be asked what things  helped you to take part in the virtual Hearing and what things acted as a barrier to you taking part. If you have been to a Children’s Hearing in person, you will be asked to think about how taking part in a Hearing using a video-link differs from taking part in-person.

A shopping voucher worth £20 will be provided to children and young people, parents and kinship carers who take part in the study as a thank you for their time. 

Children and young people will be offered the opportunity to share their views using creative methods and are welcome to bring a trusted adult with them if they would like additional support. 

Dr Catherine Nixon who is one of the researchers working on the study explained: “During the pandemic it was very difficult to gather the views of children and young people, parents and caregivers because of the restrictions placed upon the way we interacted with each other. This meant that rather than talking to people in detail about their experiences, we had to rely on surveys and online consultations to find out what people thought about virtual Hearings. While these methods can be useful, we know that they are not very good at gathering the voices of children and young people. They also exclude anybody who may find it difficult to use digital technologies. So now that we are able to meet in groups we are hoping that we will be able to learn more about what the impacts of virtual hearings have been and how children and young people, their parents and caregivers would like to see them used in the future.”

If you would like more information about the study then please contact Dr Catherine Nixon.

If you are participating in a virtual Hearing, more information is available on our website.

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