parents involved in child abuse parenting disputes are dismayed by the changes to the family law act.
The amendments in 2006 limited the scope of family violence to exclude psychological abuse by controlling conduct, or even sexual, economic or domineering conduct constituting abuse. Experts in family law even commented that the changes brought back the old definition of abuse to mean only assault or physical abuse.
Among those who ridiculed the amendments is the Australian Institute of Family Studies which reported high incidents of violence to women and children. According to them, the changes will only leave women and children vulnerable and unprotected.
The Family Law Council reports that changes to the Family Law Act are rather a bit conservative. Instead of redefining the coverage of abuse to include other types such as economic, sexual abuse as well as threats and coercion, the changes delimited its scope to cover only instances of physical abuse or simple assault. Family Law Council suggests redefining abuse to mean also economically abusive, coercing or threatening behavior as well as conduct which in any way dominates or controls the other. The Judge Richard Chisholm on the other hand who encourages amendments to shared-parenting laws is also dismayed by the recent changes.
Barbara Biggs, founder of National Council for Children Post-Separation, said the changes will only encourage women not to raise contention of violence for the risk of losing the battle in child custody. According to her, several clients of the Council have come to them advised of their lawyers not to raise allegations of violence so they could win custody in the court. They were told to send their children to abusive parents and agree on shared parenting arrangements just to obtain custody. The changes only pose greater danger of abuse to women and children who are left unprotected.
Reports of Australian Institute of Family Studies revealed that less than one out of five children are under shared parenting agreements. National Council for Children Post-Separation reported also that one in five shared parenting arrangements are agreed upon even though there is high risk of harm to the child. In defence, the Men’s Rights Agency director Sue Price explains that statistics reveal husbands are still being kept away from their children amid introduction of shared parenting scheme in 2006.
Source: The Australian. 2010, January 29. Family law bid to halt threats over finances.
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.