Best Interests of the Child when Sentencing a Parent
One of the areas in which the development of the concept and understanding of the rights of the child is beginning to have a significant effect is in relation to the impact of the child’s parent or caregiver coming into conflict with the criminal law.
This raises perceptions of a clash between the rights of the child (why should a child suffer because of the actions of their parent?), the impartiality of the judicial system (to what extent should caring/parental responsibilities be taken into account when deciding on pre-trial measures or in sentencing?) and the issues of public protection and that sentences should have a deterrent effect.
Further reflection on and understanding of the issues and the experience where the best interests of the child is taken into account may help to dispel the idea of such a conflict.
The following report looks at international and regional practices when dealing with the the issue of what is in the best interests of the child when sentencing a parent.