13:43, February 20 279 0 theguardian.com

2019-02-20 13:43:06
The need to protect children’s privacy in the family courts

Your editorial (16 February) calls for more transparency in the family courts. But remember the uproar last year when papers were allowed to report on the child supposedly placed with Muslim foster carers? This paper reported responsibly but many others were only seeking to cause trouble. Until and unless the press – and social media too – become more mature and sensible, children will continue to need to have their privacy protected.

It can be argued that public scrutiny can prevent and highlight miscarriages of justice. But while families are free to give their side of the story to the press, the professionals involved, for reasons of case confidentiality, are not and never will be. So what is published even now is skewed towards one perspective only.

Understanding the full story takes time and decoding. Even if journalists sat the full way through complex and at times tedious hearings, I’m not convinced they would see the full picture.

Family courts are subject to scrutiny within the appeal system and by the professional bodies involved. It’s not perfect, but it may be the best we’ve got.

Sylvia Rose

Morleigh, Devon

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