2.6 Assessing best interests and competing interests in practice
Activity 2.3: Assessing best interests and competing interests in practice
Read the case study below.
Achen is a 14-year-old girl who goes to see her doctor saying she is getting headaches. During the course of the consultation, she breaks down and says that her father is sexually abusing her. However, she does not want you to do anything or tell anyone. She feels that it will cause more problems. She does not think her mother will believe her, and then she will be even more isolated and unhappy than she is now. And if action is taken against her father, it will destroy the family and her mother will blame her.
- What factors do you need to consider in weighing up Achen’s best interests? Use the table below to write in the factors you need to think about, which include factors relating to Achen’s best interests and the interests of others. Some suggestions have been filled in to get you started. You do not have to complete every box in the table, but try to fill in at least five more suggestions.
|Rights and best interests of a child||Interests of other children||Interests of parents/family||Interests of wider society|
|Rights in the UN Convention and African Charter||Children have a right to be protected from all forms of violence||Governments should ensure children are protected from violence and abuse|
|Views of the child||Achen is worried about the impact on her family|
|The child’s other needs||Achen may provide support in the home which includes looking after younger children|
|The child’s immediate and long-term interests||Taking visible action in one case may deter others from committing offences|
- Once you have added at least five more suggestions of factors you need to consider, look at all the information in the table, comparing different degrees of potential benefit or harm. In this situation, what action will be in Achen’s best interests?
Compare you answers with the table at the end of the study session.