A mother who has a history of violence against her three children was banned by the Court from seeing them.
This decision of banning the mother was though regrettable according to the Court, yet necessary to protect the children. In deciding the case, the father was given sole custody of the children.
The Court has not abandoned the principle of shared parental responsibility encouraged by the shared parenting law when it did not apply the same in the case because there were reasonable grounds which the Court believed that one of the parents had engaged in family violence.
The children complained to their father, especially the eldest daughter that their mother held her by the throat and lifted her from the ground. They also told their father that their brother’s head was submerged by the mother underwater on one weekend when she got angry because it took him long to wash his hair. The children who were aged seven, eight and nine testified that they feared their mother for their lives.
In ruling the case, the Justice banned the mother from seeing them but allowed her to call and send them an email. This is because the mother had perpetrated physical and psychological family violence. To make an order according to the Justice allowing her to spend time with the children runs the substantial risk of the mother’s behaviour which the Court found to be abusive, continuing and unabated.
The Court took into consideration also the psychological effect of the order to the children who might be left wondering whether they have caused the decision preventing the mother from seeing them. The Court decided that though neither alternative was palatable, the risk that the mother would harm the children was too great. Hence, in deciding the case, the decision was in line with the proposed changes to the family law which the court is under obligation to give greater weight to the safety of the child if it conflicts with the right of the child to have a relationship with both parents.
In the proceeding of the case, the mother abandoned the child custody hearing saying it was for the best interest of her children and promised that she would be there for her children when they were destroyed by their father or turning to alcohol or became mentally ill.
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.