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The Forum > Article Comments > Protecting children from parents > Comments

Protecting children from parents : Comments

By Patricia Merkin, published 15/7/2008

We have a judicial discretion that privileges biological ties over the evidence that children need protection.

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patricia...you used law to support 'risk of violence' should over-ride child right to meaningful relationship with genetic parent...

now 'National-Coalition-of Mothers-Against-Child-Abuse'(wheres the father) imparts a nice, good purpose behind this coalition...though I could not find your website to get more information...

now as law student you well aware why law had to be changed in 2006...mothers ruled...and fatherchild suffered(this the real 'perversion')...basic premise was the mother better parent from being 'major' carer of young child...this since recognized as wrong at law as its childs meaningful bond with their parent that matters...not time spent...but almost every mother in family court went to break and control fatherchild care,relationship and time...go read case laws...so firstly lets learn from past and make sure it never repeats...agree...and yes you are a women and so I dont expect an 'unbiased' stand to issue from you...

now 'failure' in 'allegation of violence' cases in the past was that even if the 'alleging' party was found to have manufactured 'evidence', trained young child to claim false abuse under threat/duress...usually the mother...court did not apply the appropriate weight to injury and so accountability and punishment did not follow...see...so any parent will happily take a 'chance' to falsely allege as little to loose personally but all to gain...

until family court starts rolling out severe sanctions on perpetrators of false allegations...what you seek will not happen...ie even 'red flags' without convincing evidence from party who has all to gain from becoming dominant parent...will likely have vested interests to exaggerate/lie/manipulate to gain dominant power in court by raising allegation of violence...

of course next issue is if/which parent is 'disrupting to destroying and traumatizing' a young child for total control...and that requires statue_professional_team of medical specialists observing_assessing_testing child over weeks to months...something we need to get going soon as possible...

with these two...then we can be more sure we have arrived closer to the truth than ever before...and better decisions and outcomes possible...

Sam
by the way...in terms of numbers...the bigger abuse and trauma is one parent trying to break childs relationship with other...whats your position...
Posted by Sam said, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 10:30:09 PM
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Most of this article is couched in gender neutral language (except for the bit on who perpetrates DV) but I'm still left with the impression that it's targetting fathers having access to children when the mother has concerns. I suspect that Sam got the same impression.

Maybe it's just us but I suspect not.

From The Abused Child Trust website http://www.abusedchildtrust.com.au/facts.htm#3

"Who perpetrates child abuse?

94% of abused children in Queensland are harmed by someone they know and trust. 85% of abused children in Queensland are harmed by their natural parent.

Family types involved in substantiated abuse and neglect

27% two parent (natural families)
23% two parent (other families)
37% single female parent families
5% single male parent families
"

In regard to child deaths they seem to keep rearranging the site breaking my stored links but a dig around the reports from the NSW Child Death Review Team provides info on who kills children http://www.kids.nsw.gov.au/kids/resources/publications/childdeathreview.cfm

I agree that genetics should not be the overriding concern in protecting children from genuine risk. The winner takes it all aspects of family law and child support encourage false reports and hinder identification of genuine cases of risk.

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Thursday, 17 July 2008 8:50:44 AM
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Sam,

I agree with your paragraph below, if I have understood your shorthand correctly:

".and that requires statue_professional_team of medical specialists observing_assessing_testing child over weeks to months...something we need to get going soon as possible..."

It is incredible that one report from one person who meets the family members for one hour of their entire life can determine the outcome of a court case. This is completely unnacceptable and the term of observation should be many months as Sam suggests. Then the interactions of mothers and fathers with children, and any abuse occurring would be revealed and reported correctly for what it is, and parents given an opportunity to accept counselling towards change so that they stop harming their child/ren.

"by the way...in terms of numbers...the bigger abuse and trauma is one parent trying to break childs relationship with other..."

Sam, essentially you have repeated throughout your post that all mothers set out to stop all fathers having a meaningful relationship with their kids and all mothers make false allegations in order to win custody and all mothers do win custody all of the time; is this last phrase some kind of challenge to make you change your mind? No-one with any sense is going to take that on as the evidence doesn't support it anyway and if you can't see that, then nothing is going to change your view. What concerns me is that you are so focussed on what is wrong with women, with blaming and vilifying that you can no longer see what children actually need. Jumping on a bandwagon with a bunch of gender hating, chest thumpers spreading disinformation does not make children's lives better. It makes more mothers and fathers reasons to fight each other instead of the system which is exposing our kids to unnacceptable and preventable abuse.

Protective mothers and fathers waking up and realising that the system is the issue, not any particular gender, then aiming their energy at addressing that and changing that system are the people who are going to make children's lives better. Please wake up soon.
Posted by ChildAdvocate, Thursday, 17 July 2008 6:22:00 PM
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Addressing your concerns Robert, as outlined in this quote:

"The winner takes it all aspects of family law and child support encourage false reports and hinder identification of genuine cases of risk."

Sadly, recent AFC decisions involved removal of children from the protective parent who reported abuse and residence given to the abusive parent. The protective parents were both mothers and fathers. The AFC are aligned with the view that any allegation is automatically false and malicious and therefore they punish the parent trying to protect the child from physical harm regardless of that parents gender and it is this issue which mothers and father could work together to remedy. Instead, children are condemned to living with neglect and abuse as a result of imcompetent decision making processes.

Currently, solicitors advise that parents not raise issues of the neglect or they will lose residence, so why would a parent speak out? Perhaps some parents really are afraid for their childs welfare and mistakenly think that the Family Court has their child's safety as its highest priority. Not so. A growing number of mothers and fathers have been punished for trying to protect their children, and a growing number of medical practitioners are aghast that their evidence was dismissed.

Nothing could be worse than having your child one weekend a fortnight bruised and disclosing what the other parent's/spouse did and begging not to be sent back but being too terrified to bring it to the courts attention because you have been warned that your access will be reduced. The current threat is a no contact order for 6 months, regardless of how much your child wants to see you. In what way is this good for children?

This is the same system of law which allows Dennis Ferguson to walk free, to receive instant public housing, police protection and $1000 per day of funding to assist him. regardless of your gender, the system requires an overhaul to connect with and act on reality.

Children deserve better.
Posted by ChildAdvocate, Thursday, 17 July 2008 7:03:54 PM
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Why is it that whever these issues are raised it immediately descends into a `Gender Warsí battle when the only considerations are the fatherís rights and motherís rights?.Such battles are marked by anger and bitterness which is so common in Family Courts when such matters are being considered.

Family Courts and parents should all be considering these issues from the childrenís perspectives and what the childrenís rights and needs are and this should be their paramount consideration.

Primarily should be the childrenís rights to be able to fully and freely express their wishes and feelings and for these to be given full weighting by Courts and not to have their views distorted and misrepresented by Court-appointed officials. Most children are adept at knowing what is in their `Best Interestsí and do not always need these to be interpreted by adults who are not even known to them and who they may only have seen for a quick `chatí.

Secondly are childrenís rights to be protected from abuse and their need to have a secure and safe environment in which to develop. In many of the cases which reach the Family Courts it appears that allegations by children that they have been abused are not thoroughly and competently investigated and this then causes the major issue of dispute between warring parents. Since Australia adopted the Convention on children's rights little attempt appears to have been made to implement those rights in laws or in the Courts of Australia and it is the children who suffer when Courts make ill-advised judgements in an adversarial process where winning is the only importance to self-centred parents who consider their own rights to be of sole importance.

Even worse is the continuing attitudes of some parents that their children are their possessions. It is these attitudes from embittered parents which predominate these kinds of debates when discussion should be centred around the wishes and feelings of the children and how their custody and care should be measurably and demonstrably `In their Best Interestsí and not a fanciful speculation or dogmatic opinion of an unconnected adult.
Posted by ChazP, Thursday, 17 July 2008 7:10:32 PM
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There is of course a more serious form of child abuse than parental alienation,to say otherwise, when children die at the hand of either parent is ridiculous.

Sadly, children have died on court ordered access. Where,there is a history of violence this is no less a community shame than when children die that are known to child protection authorities.

Law professionals are simply not trained to make assessments on these matters without advise. I dare say some of the barriers comes from a certain arrogance by the profession. There needs to be a system of mandatory reporting and therefore thorough assessment (in the home context) by appropriately trained mental health and social work professionals.

Sam, if there is no threat to the childs physical safety. But emotional abuse is present, in the form of splitting from the other parent by either. That too will come to light in assessment.

Assuming the concerns of either parent is splitting without investigation is dangerously naive.
Posted by KeriB, Thursday, 17 July 2008 7:19:43 PM
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