the family court often ruling decisions on family law matters without taking into account the impact of abuse on a child
unfortunately, family violence is an issue that frequently arises when it comes to the topic of family law matters. in fact, in recent times, it has become the most widely criticized aspect of the family law system in the media, and for good reason.
With the Family Court often ruling decisions on family law matters without taking into account the impact of abuse on a child, domestic violence campaigners, particularly Rosie Batty, have stressed the importance of having a new domestic violence test so it can be determined whether or not it’s safe for the child/children to spend time with either parent.
According to her, all magistrates and judges involved in Family Court matters must acquire compulsory training in domestic violence in order to better understand its impact. She believes that since the system is heavily dependent on the judgment of individual decision-makers, comprehensive training is crucial.
Moreover, if changes are not made to the current system, it could lead to diabolic situations as abusers will be able to access children and cause ongoing trauma. Batty, however, says the problem does not exist due to the Family Law Act, but rather it lies in the culture of the family law system that is responsible to apply it.
To better explain her point of view, she cited an example of a boy who after spending years fighting the orders of the family court to stay with his father, who was accused of sexual abuse, was on the verge of suicide until he was able to successfully apply for an Apprehended Violence Order. Obviously, no parent would ever want their child/children to go through this torture.
She also referred to other cases where children were forced to spend time with an abusive parent because of orders set out by the Court, including the case of a child who now regularly suffers from panic attacks as a result of the contact. Thanks to Batty’s efforts, child abuse is a leading issue in the legal domain. She became a high profile advocate for the prevention of abuse after the loss of her son Luke Batty back in 2014.
She has filed a petition through the Luke Batty Foundation, urging the need to bring reforms to the Family Court System so that children can get better protection. As of now, the petition is backed by many organizations, including Women’s Legal Services Australia which consists of over 90 organizations consisting of legal experts and family violence specialists.
The Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Diana Bryant, stated that while not all aspects of the five-step plan promoted by Batty are relevant to the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court, some aspects of it are and therefore will be considered by the Court’s Family Violence Committee. Let’s just hope that something worthwhile comes out of this. After all, we would never want our children to face the same problems and treatment, right?
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.