In a landmark effort to enhance the quality of family courts it is first imperative that Magistrates, court officials, and parents understand the needs of the child. Australia has spent billions of dollars each year, attempting to prevent abuse through both state and federal programs. Even still, a small percentage of abusing parents are granted access which enables them to re-victimize their children.
According to Charles Pragnell, the family court has become so overly concerned for the rights of each parent to be allocated in an equal manner, that it is increasingly evident that the child’s rights are being rapidly denied ( Pragnell, 2013).
The term shared parenting has become very important in Australian divorce cases. In striving to ensure that parents are being given equal time to each child, serious issues are often overlooked.
The problem often encountered is that due to the intense emotional content of a typical divorce proceeding, it is often likely that accusations of unfit parenting and abuse are levelled against parents. The difficult task of the law is to determine which cases are valid and to avoid placing children with abusers.
Moreover, the courts deem the accusing parent of trying to “alienate” the child from his or her parent and often punish the parent by taking parental rights away. Furthermore, the courts will often forbid the child or the parent from making any subsequent claims- however valid. Family courts must become more adept at distinguishing between true allegation and false ones. In the end, it is the child who suffers by being forced into abusive homes for the sake of equality.
In conclusion, the advancement of family laws in Australia has come under scrutiny for their focus on the parenting-time given to birthparents, rather than seriously investigating any claims of abuse. Due to the powerful emotions experienced during court cases, Magistrates are less likely to seriously investigate any claims of child abuse made by a parent in the middle of divorce proceedings.
Sources Used: Pragnell, C. (2013, February 28). Why are family courts out of