Children going through family court proceedings are often vulnerable and find the experience very challenging. A new virtual reality (VR) project developed at Salford University is hoping to change this by demystifying the entire court process to make the experience less intimidating for children.
Children wearing VR headsets get to experience what it feels like to enter the court building, go through security, wait outside the courtroom, and then sitting in the middle of a custody hearing. They can see all the people involved in the hearing, including barristers, the judge, clerks, witnesses, case workers, social workers and parents
The Vulnerable Children, Virtual Reality and Courts project was developed by Dr Shane Sullivan, Director of Law at Salford University. Since its launch in 2018, the VR film has been used by 56 children local to Salford and Greater Manchester and has been praised by senior members of the legal profession.
The Honourable Mr Justice Hayden, Family Division Liaison Judge for the North Circuit, said: “The project is quite simply one of the most significant developments in promoting the best quality evidence from children and young people to have occurred in many years.”