Friday, April 30, 2010

The Reality of Australia's Shared Parenting Laws - An Insight

An Insight into a Mother's Reality

I am writing of my own journey here, to hopefully give people an insight into the reality that so many Australian mothers (and some fathers) have faced and are facing, in their struggle to keep their children safe from an abusive, controlling parent, since Australia's Shared Parenting Laws came into effect in 2006.

If you look online, you will find overwhelming amounts of documented evidence and a great many blogs discussing the unforeseen effects that Shared Parenting Laws have had on abused children in Australia and in numerous other countries around the world, including Canada and the US, and you will get an idea of just how many parents are facing similar dilemmas.

I feel we all have a duty of care to these children, and I plead with you all to make their cases heard. Tell your friends and family, write about it on your blogs, sign petitions, attend protest rallies and write to your politicians. Our children cannot speak for themselves!

Here is my story:

I have come to believe that the father of my children is a complete psychopath and I am terrified for their safety. They have not seen him for months and do not want to. After much counseling, group therapy, completion of the Protective Behaviors Program, doing lots of fishing, gardening and other fun things, and receiving lots of unconditional love, they now say that they are happier than they have ever been, although I believe we all still have a long way to go.

They asked me to promise to keep them safe, and promise I did, but I am losing hope in being able to keep that promise as although I have violence restraining orders for myself and the kids, I will soon be facing their father in Family Court.

While I had always believed that my kids needed to be able to continue their relationship with their Dad if we separated, it is only in the months since our separation that I have come to be aware of what he is capable of. After he first left, I realized my kids were displaying most of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which have thankfully diminished with time.

Over the months the children have slowly been revealing what he put them through, and with counseling and by reading my journals I have been able to recall all the things he has put me through. It is amazing how much we had all blocked out. Even so, once the kids remember something, we have a chat about it to help each other understand it all, and then the specifics of the event a filed away again, so the kids forget most of the details that would help my court case. For their sake, I don't believe that it is such a bad thing to process the memory and then forget it again, it just makes them miserable when they think about it all, and I for one have no intention of reminding them, they are too young to have to bear that responsibility, so I fear it's going to be my word against his in family court.

I did have support from both The Department for Child Protection and The Police Family Protection Unit, but since my ex contacted them to inform them of "his side of the story" (please also read my article entitled "The Fine Art of Institutional Grooming"), they have now decided that all my allegations are based on hearsay and cannot be substantiated, and therefore they will not support me in court. They further went on to accuse me of parental alienation, paranoia, negativity and of perpetuating fear in my children.

These departments have only met my children on one occasion, and myself perhaps half a dozen times, and if you were to contact my counselors, my children's counselors or our victim support worker, they would all tell you they believe I have gone from strength to strength since separating from their father, and have been extremely and consistently supportive, proactive, clear minded and positive in all areas of my life, including the task of helping my children heal from the harmful experiences of their own abuse and the witnessing of my abuse, at least 99% of the time, and during that 1% of times when I have had a bit of a wobble, half an hour of good, solid venting (in a safe place where I don't have to watch what I'm saying in case the kids hear it) and a box of tissues is all I need to get back on track. The kid's group therapy counselor saw them weekly for 3 months, and she says that rather than perpetuating fear in the kids, I have been successful in helping them to overcome their fears while still helping them to feel safe and teaching them how to stay safe.

The kid's child psychologist accessed all of the records from the many calls I made to the 24 hour domestic violence helpline and 24 hour crisis care helpline, and compared them to her own reports. She later told me that despite the fact that I may as well have been "hit over the head with a sledge hammer" (her words, not mine) by my ex, the reports all showed that from the moment he finally left and in the months since, I have been nothing but consistent in my story, clear minded when reasoning through rational and irrational fears, proactive in seeking support for myself and the kids and successful in implementing measures to ensure our safety. Even so, the reports of counselors are opinions based on hearsay, and will not count for much in Family Court.

Although the kids have attended group therapy sessions (Family Abuse Integrated Response) and had a few sessions of crisis counseling, they have not yet had any consistent "1 on 1" or even "2 on 1 + mum" counseling yet, due to their ages and waiting lists, but I finally found somewhere. I have already had a few sessions with their counselor, and their first appointment is this week (thank Goodness). It won't help me in court, but that is not the purpose of it anyway. I want it to focus on helping them understand and work through their confusion and grief by reinforcing what I have been teaching them about separating their Dad from their Dad's behavior and their feelings about both, and reinforcing their ability to distinguish between rational and irrational fears, so they can consistently overcome their unrealistic fears, recognize their justified fears and reinforce what they have learnt about how to get help to feel safe again when they feel their warning signs (protective behaviors program). I also want more help with giving them strategies to manage their strong emotions and stay focused at school.

I have been trying to do all of these things myself, with varying amounts of success, but in all honesty, I feel unqualified for the task. At least I have been successful in some things; the bed wetting only happened 3 or 4 times, the nightmares stopped after a few months, they no longer blame themselves for the things he did and said, and they have realized that he was wrong when he said that they can't trust me and that I'm stupid. Time has shown them that I do the things I say I will (or if logistics and life get in the way, then I do it the next day anyway), I know almost as much as their teachers and what I don't know, I know how to find out, I don't make them do things that are not safe or that they are scared of doing, although I do encourage them to be brave when I know they can do it and that they will enjoy doing it, and I almost* always practice what I preach with regards to emotional management, behavior and thinking positively (*Unfortunately, I totally failed to find anything positive about the second time I found new $15 jar of fish food all over the carpet, less than 5 minutes after I'd vacuumed, and I more than raised my voice when my youngest was about to run out onto the road to get a feather that blew across our path). It can be disheartening though, when all the weeks of progress we make are undone in less than a minute after they see him standing at the end of our street just staring at us and are instantly triggered back into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For a couple of weeks afterwards it is like living with wild animals on one day and zombies the next, and all routine, house order, manners, concentration, co-operation and punctuality go flying off on a little holiday....

Besides what the kids and I have experienced, I have also discovered certain information towards the end that opened my eyes to the extent of his lies, addictions to sex and violence, and his ability to hide his dark and sadistic nature and come across instead as a warm, genuine and caring human being.

All of his friends and family think he is wonderful, charming man, and that his only faults are that he is impulsive, irresponsible and homophobic. I can tell you that he is in fact, secretly bisexual, into beasteality, extremely abusive, controlling, violent, skilled at subtle cruelty, sadistic, criminally versatile and completely lacking in empathy, remorse and guilt.

He also has very contradictory beliefs and values about pedophilia and incest, on one hand believing that all pedophiles should be shot, but on the other hand saying that he believes that the perpetrator father who repeatedly molested a lady he knows was only trying to show her how much he loved her.

One of his favorite pornographic videos is an X-rated homosexual video staring multiple young men, one of whom bears an alarming resemblance to his adult son from his first marriage. He has admitted to me that he found it hard not to fantasize about things that may have been going on when this son had friends over to stay the night, and that he fears that his relationship with this son may one day turn incestuous. He also goes on about how proud he is that the boy is bisexual like him.

He has also admitted to me to being unable to stop himself from looking at his niece's breasts after she reached puberty, and trying to imagine what they looked like underneath her clothes.

My children were displaying signs of learnt sexual behaviors, had expressed ideas and opinions and displayed other signs that indicate possible sexual abuse, which lead me to speak to their child psychologist, but in a subsequent investigation they did not disclose any sexual abuse to Child Protection Officers. I believe however, that he may have been grooming them for future sexual abuse.

The only abuse I know of for certain though, is the soul destroying emotional abuse that I often witnessed and experienced, the physical abuse that I experienced myself and instances of physical abuse experienced by my children, the first few of which I witnessed and the last few of which I did not see, but soon found out about, at which point I told him that if he ever hit them or manhandled them again I would have him charged.

He has said many things to me in the 20 years that I have known him, and I have also witnessed concerning behavior and found many other strange things that make me fear him. I have listed some of these below:

  • He has a long criminal record of multiple convictions for possession of drugs, cultivation of drugs, possession of unlicensed firearms and unlicensed ammunition, and restraining orders.
  • I know he still has unlicensed firearms, but because I have not seen them for some time, police will not do anything about it.
  • When I once became suicidal following the deaths of one of my parents and another much loved family member and finding out that he had indulged in an affair, all within a 3 week period, he kept telling me I did not have the guts to do it, but that he wished I would. One night he left his loaded gun on the table and went out after saying that there was only one way I could make life better for myself and everyone around me. When he came home he told me I had proven that I was nothing but a useless coward.
  • He once told me "I reckon murder is no where near as satisfying as inducing suicide"
  • Whenever we drove past an old rubbish tip near where we were living, he would go quiet, and then say that he knew of lots of bodies that were buried there.
  • When I told him that his friend had raped me once, he responded with "well that's ok, I raped him"
  • He once said to me "Why would you be scared that I would shoot you when I have access to explosives and I could just blow you up instead"
  • A year before we separated, he promised me he would do a courses in positive parenting, emotional management and effective communication, as well as that he would attend counseling with me, but when months had gone by with excuse after excuse about going, I said "now or never" and he made a big show about signing up for the courses online. The first and only course he signed up for was a course for gay men, about how to have anal sex safely. He then informed me that it was the only course he would be attending, because he did not need to attend the others, but I did, as I was the one with a problem. I had already attended those courses during a previous period of separation.
  • I once found a rope, shovel and balaclava in his car and started wondering if I was living with a serial killer. He convinced me that it was not what it seemed and that I was paranoid.
  • Once when he was talking to me, after having first exploded in yet another violent rage, and then breaking down crying saying he was violent and needed help, he started confessing all these things to me including years of torturing animals when he was in his 20s, having planned to rape, torture and murder his "friend", admitting for the first time to the times that he has raped me (he had previously always denied that he had), and finally he started confessing to an incident in the 1970's where he and some of his friends picked up a woman hitch hiker. I never heard the rest of the confession as I ran out crying. Afterward, he denied having said any of the things he had said.

I have reported all this to the police but they will not do anything and tell me he's just bluffing. Further more, it is just hearsay, as I did not witness any of the actual events.

I face the same thing in family court and worse. Any allegations I make of his abuse of my children that I have witnessed will be discounted as hearsay as I have no other witnesses. I may even then be found to have "Parental Alienation Syndrome", an unprovable, fake psychological disorder that is laughed at by 95% of psychiatrists world wide, and which was actually invented by a psychologist who was later charged, convicted and jailed for multiple counts of pedophilia and incest(I read that but don't know if it's 100% true, as I have since read another article that only said he was suspected of it), and then committed suicide. If a judge decides that I have this "syndrome", then it is most likely that the kids' Dad will be awarded sole residency, and I may even be restricted to supervised contact.

I have a lawyer who is going to do his best, but he fears for me and my children and doubts he will be able to do much to help us due to the current laws.

Our journey continues....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Safety: They're not asking for much

Some mothers work and some mothers spend many unpaid hours caring for their children.  With the growing amount of mothers continuing in the workforce, it is obvious that child support or welfare payments were not the incentive.  A majority of the working mother population use day care and after school care with the comfort knowing that the carers have been screened for a criminal background.  We expect in a first world country that our children receive the highest amount of care and in most cases they do.  Some of the experts caring for our children have been trained into enhancing the learning of our children, so that the time they spent away from their family is also progressive.    

Those who choose to stay at home often provide our schools with many hours of unpaid work, whether it is assisting with the canteen duty, reading to young children or participating in school working bees.  These are efforts that could not have been accomplished without the help of these women.  Whether paid or unpaid, most mothers are continually working often unnoticed and undervalued.  It is therefore in our time a complete outrage to claim that mothers only care for their children because of government incentives.  It is ridiculous to state that mothers lie in the family court for financial incentives.  In most stats, single parent families live below the poverty line and receive little or no child support.  Adding insult to injury, some are left with STD(Sexually Transmitted Debts) to pay with almost impossible financial odds against them.  

Just keeping the old family car running can be a journey.   Going single as a mother is financial suicide and if we were all stockbrokers, perhaps we would be jumping of buildings too.  We care more about our children enough not to do that which is more than can be said for those suicidal fathers, who claim that access to children will somehow cure them,  In fact children are more unsafe with suicidal fathers than they are with mothers as they are more likely to take the children with them.  When a mother decides to leave a relationship, it is usually for a very good reason.  A majority of the so called, "high conflict" divorces in the family court are in fact cases involving family violence.  "High conflict" is a term often used to trivialise the abuse that has occurred in the courts.  Only 6% of mothers and children are graced with the opportunity to walk away.  The rest are slugged with orders that don't protect them or their children from family violence.  Most cases are not investigated and remain unsolved.  The general legal advice is not to investigate as it can be viewed as "medical abuse".  Of course, when mothers enter the family court, they expect like they do with all other organisations associated with children that they will have the children's interests at the highest priority.  It is after all, expected from mothers and society demands that from us.  Our transport systems are built to include technology that increases the safety of their passengers.  Bouncers are required to monitor nightclubs to increase the safety of their patrons.  These measures are introduced because it is an area that violence is likely to occur.  We know that women are at the most risk at the end of a relationship.  There are few moments that go by in Australia where we do not hear of a homicide after separation.  More occur unreported and not publicly available are the homicides after family court proceedings.  What we do know is that the consequences of not introducing safety measures are fatal.  The right to the protection of person is a human right and a basic one at that.  The benefit of providing safety outweighs the costs as family violence already costs the Australian community 8 billion dollars.  Providing blanket protections without addressing this problem will only exacerbate the original sum. It is crucial that not only the Family Law act is reviewed, but judges are in a better position to really consider the safety of children and women experiencing violence as the top priority and most of all, should never ever be too much to ask for.  

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Politics of Child Abuse

Politics is for the present, but an equation is for eternity. 
-Albert Einstein 

If one were to summarise all abuse case outcomes, it would be factual to establish that child abuse is only recognised as criminal when it has not been perpetrated by the state or its actors.  

In both the child protection and the family court system, cases where the government is responsible for the abuse go unchallenged by the public and independent organisations.  This is because both laws surrounding children restrict publication.  The argument for restriction is that it "protects" the names of the children involved.  In ABCs Law Report titled "Restrictions on media coverage of child protection and family court matters", journalists raised cases where the child abuse was not being addressed.  The story with the cases and a variety of commentary provided an evidential backdrop on the reasons why suppressing deaths and abuse of children is not being protective.  It highlighted how the government had misused children's rights as a means to a political end.  

The inquiry into family law was purely based on politics as most of the submissions were from men's groups.  All of these groups requested laws aligned entirely with their own interests. When groups against child abuse began to appear regularly in the Australian media spotlight, men's groups responded with political blackmail:

I know that separated groups, fathers' groups in particular, shared parenting groups can conjure up over a million votes and that's something that I think the Government will take into account. - Michael Green

No doubt, that men's groups have influenced the general population to believe that men are far more disadvantaged than children and women, that their rights must be taken into consideration above all others.   This is reflected in the survey findings on community attitudes on violence against women.  Some members of society even believe that it is ok to rape.  It should not be a reason for politicians to see it as an opportunity to lower the rape law bar so that they can appease the growing population of rapists.  There needs to be a point where popularity is not the drive for our leaders.  


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Monday, April 26, 2010

~ The Fine Art of Institutional Grooming ~

Institutional Grooming Defined and Explained

A lot of people will have heard of the term "grooming", but most will think of the term only as it is used in the context of child sexual abuse. What many people do not consider, is that grooming is an art that is practiced by most perpetrators of any kind of abuse, and, I believe, particularly by perpetrators of family violence.

It is not only a perpetrator's victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims' family and friends, the perpetrator's own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). The grooming of doctors, nurses, mental health carers, family support workers and other public servants is called "Institutional Grooming" and the perpetrator does it for the purpose of self-preservation.

The targets of Institutional Groomers may include their victim's General Practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, child health nurse, pediatrician, carers at a Family Day Care Facility, school teachers, counselors or therapists. The public servants targeted may be social workers, case workers, investigative officers or police officers employed by government departments such as the Department For Child Protection, the Police's Family Protection Unit and the Department for Community Development. When done with enough finesse to be successful, institutional grooming ensures that any complaints alleged about the perpetrator are either disregarded outright, doubted and therefore not investigated thoroughly, or if acted upon, subsequently dismissed in a court of law.

Why would a perpetrator go to such lengths to manipulate people other than their victims? Because when their victims, the victims' family and friends, and the public service networks intended to support their victims are groomed successfully, the investment of all that hard work does not go to waste - the victims are then still available to continue to abuse.

Some Thought Provoking Insights into a Victim's Reality

The scary thing about successful institutional grooming is that it substantially increases the harm done to the victims, not only because the abuse they face continues for longer, but because they lose their trust and faith in the world around them, in their family and friends, in the professional people who are meant to protect them, and most tragically, in themselves.

The things that are said and done to hurt and manipulate a victim only occur behind closed doors, and it can be very hard to remember exactly what was said or done, where, in which order and at what time, when your world feels like it is caving in. An abuser will jump on this uncertainty to highlight a victim's supposed insanity or make them seem dishonest, and to shift the focus away from his/her own appalling behavior.

Once a victim's memories of the abuse, the words said, things done and feelings felt during that abuse, have been twisted and distorted to deny, justify or excuse that abuse, one can understand why the victim begins to feel unsure about what really happened. Combine this with the common symptoms of complete and partial memory blocking and/or memory substitution in victims suffering from even mild cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one can see how it can all combine to compound a victim’s confusion and distress, and deter them from objecting or trying to report it the next time it happens. One can also see how these factors can pervert the course of Justice.

Grooming by Perpetrators of Family Violence and Child Abuse

In the context of family violence, institutional grooming is done to discredit the non- perpetrating parent (who is often also a victim), and the effects of successful institutional grooming in these circumstances are almost always tragic. In best case scenarios, it can ensure debilitating emotional trauma and devastating long term consequences as the perpetrator is free to continue their abuse of both the child(ren) and the abused parent. In worst case scenarios, the results can be overwhelming, and may include horrific physical abuse, soul destroying sexual abuse or even premature death of the victim(s). The death of such victim(s) may be due to suicide, manslaughter, murder-suicide or violent murder. The most prevalent and obvious consequence however, is once again perversion of the course of Justice, and the undeniable failure of the Legal System's purpose.

Damned If You Do & Damned If You Don't

For clarification, consider this generalized example: If a mother seeks help with protecting her children in a situation where emotional and physical abuse of both herself and her children has already occurred, and/or where there has been inappropriate sexual talk and behavior in front of her children (that may or may not be sexual grooming), and the children have displayed signs that indicate possible sexual abuse (that may or may not have happened, and may or may not happen in the future), but where the perpetrator is skilled at the art of institutional grooming, that mother will often then be subjected to accusations of parental alienation and of perpetuating feelings of fear in her children. Instead of being taken seriously, she finds herself having to defend her actions and her parenting skills, and sometimes may even find herself being the one accused of abusing her children.

If she seeks legal advice, she is advised not to make an application to the Family Court because it is likely that any application will result in 50/50 shared care of the kids. Further more, she is informed that under current Family Law, if she makes any allegations of abuse that cannot be proven, she risks being found guilty of parental alienation and quite possibly faces losing her children to the perpetrator in the likely event that interim orders would award him full residency, and allow her only a couple of hours of supervised contact per fortnight, while her children are sent to live with their alleged abuser. She may also be required to pay the legal costs for both parties.

On the other hand, if she does not do anything about seeking help from the authorities, either because she has circumstantial evidence but no substantiated proof, and no other witnesses to testify on her behalf (her own testimony would be considered hearsay, and therefore discounted), or perhaps because she has been doubted and/or counter-accused before, then at some point in the future she may find herself being found guilty of neglecting her duty of care to her children, and face the prospect of losing her kids to foster care.

What Justice?

While I have no doubt that there are indeed parents out there who do not put the best interests of their children first, and who are in fact guilty of alienating their children against the other parent and perhaps even of fabricating false allegations of abuse, whether for revenge or some other reason, surely they must be the minority? Wouldn't the majority of parents want to put their kids first?

Further more, I ask this question: What about the mother who, in spite of her own abuse, subjugation and degradation, somehow finds the strength to trust her own intuition, and manages to intervene before her children become the victims of more serious physical abuse or devastating sexual abuse. Instead of being supported and respected for the strength she has shown in the face of her adversity, she is instead victimized, subdued and humiliated to an even greater extent. Where is the justice for mothers such as she? Instead she becomes a victim of the system, and so do her children. What happened to breaking the Cycle of Abuse?

A Society-Sized Cycle?

Has anybody even stopped to think that perhaps the term "cycle of abuse" now describes a far greater cycle of perpetual dysfunction than simply the personal relationships between perpetrators and their victims, a cycle that in fact occurs and continues on a much larger scale - one that encompasses modern society as a whole? I mean, who is more likely to be a liar? A victim or their perpetrator?

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but in most cases, what would a victim get out of being a liar? Any parent who has suffered as a victim of family violence, then chosen to speak out against their family's abuser, and then been consistent in their commitment to the ongoing and endless process of attending appointments with social workers, lawyers, medical professionals, psychologists, counselors, art therapy and group therapy sessions (for both themselves and their children), would agree that the financial costs, physical energy requirements, mental strain and emotional drain of post traumatic abuse times could simply not be worth it.

Proactive parents who choose to engage in such an involved process, due to their genuine desire to heal their family's wounds, to protect their children from further harm, and to ensure a positive, healthy change in their life circumstances, will have often maintained such efforts for months before the matter is brought before the court, and they will have to maintain their efforts for many months or even years after the court makes final orders, even if orders are reasonably suitable.

In stark contrast, perpetrators who engage in such therapy will almost always only do so after being questioned about allegations of abuse, or in the weeks and days leading up to a court hearing. They only do so to preserve their false reputations, and their energetic last minute efforts will seldom last more than a few weeks past the need to be seen as the "poor victim" of a "vengeful" or "jealous" partner, rather than be exposed as the selfish, unrepentant perpetrators of abuse that they are.

Morality and Proactive Logic versus Passive Ignorance

I think that the Family Law Courts and some government departments are missing the whole point of what is in the best interests of the child. I am not saying that a perpetrator should be guilty until proven innocent, or punished without sufficient proof, but what is wrong with protecting our kids BEFORE they become victims? Why should the only evidence taken seriously enough to warrant supervised contact be substantiated proof of past abuse? Surely prevention is better than a cure?

They cannot say that the cost of supervised contact would be too great if they compare it to the long term costs of abuse to our society, considering how many victims of child abuse go on to have life long psychological problems, alcohol and other substance abuse issues, often grow up to become abusers themselves, or in some cases resort to suicide.

Considerations of a Responsible Government

The purpose of Family Law should be the protection of our children, who are not yet capable of making their own choices, rather than any irrationally perceived justice for those adults who have chosen not to take responsibility for the destructive effects of their abusive behavior, or the unjust persecution of those adults who are trying to shoulder responsibility for both their own and the abusive parents actions, by trying to fight a losing battle that must be fought if they are to honor the duty of care they have to their children.

It is essential that any reforms implemented as a result of the review of the 2006 Family Law Amendments (and any future changes) ensure there are no violations of the first and foremost Rights of our Children - their right to be protected from harm, and to live with out fear, in the warm, safe embrace of unconditional love.

Surely the Government can see the necessity of making well informed decisions regarding the specifics of any changes. Hopefully those responsible for making these decisions will question the effectiveness of a Justice System that only takes into account substantiated proof (scientific fact?) when making judgments that are guided by Laws which have been based on inductively reasoned generalizations drawn from the observation of limited numbers of specific instances (philosophical opinion?). Even the existence of the many heated debates over Australian Shared Parenting Laws highlights the fact that those generalizations were a misrepresentation of the prevailing truth.

The Laws that govern the Family Court System need to be decided by using deductive reasoning to draw valid, logical conclusions from the overwhelmingly substantial amount of relevant empirical evidence available, and most people would agree that those facts can be easily found in the historically prevalent and devastating long term effects observed in children who have witnessed and/or experienced any kind of abuse.

The proven reliability of empirical knowledge obtained by making specific, logical and valid deductions based on vast numbers of instances that demonstrate very clear and consistent long term trends is surely what is required to ensure that the changes made to Family Laws are effective. It is essential that once amended, Family Laws consistently achieve their purpose of effectively guiding judgments in those cases where in there is a need to protect children from a risk of probable future abuse but where most often there is no proof other than circumstantial evidence, victim testimony and professional opinion based on hearsay. It is the only viable path to follow if we are to build a Family Law System in which Justice will actually serve in the best interests of the child.

Once all that is achieved, time will confirm the truth and future generations will prosper from the positive, healthy, and wide spread evolution of our society. Their enlightenment will ensure that the wondrous gift of human morality will finally manifest in every aspect of society, propelling mankind into the peaceful bliss of a Golden Age filled with warmth, love and Light!

Its not shared parenting: Its dads getting full custody

Some may wonder as to why members of the shared parenting council often celebrate, commend and applaud   the removal of a mother from a child's life.  That's because if they straight out said that they want all fathers to get full custody, no one would support them.  Shared Parenting is merely a tool for that and does not reflect the consistency in care that was provided for the children before separation.  Shared Parenting is a pathway for full custody.  

The expectations on mothers are exhaustive and so we are naturally set up for failure. Then there are those who look at our gorgeous children as if they are window shopping for mantelpieces to trophy in their lounge room.  In a world where money can buy everything(or so they market people to believe), they begin to calculate how they can wear down that mother so she will hand over that child. As though we are merely pedigree show dogs that are breeding the next batch of wonders. Today's favorite sport is not football or tennis as society bores of the ballgames - It is "who is going to get that baby." Its an intellectual sport where the player must convince the lawmakers that it is a morally superior act and should be done for the sake of the child. It is an unfair sport perhaps no different to the rabbit on a greyhound course flighting a group of dogs gone wild. The rabbit of course is the mother and the greyhounds are the team that works together in competition to rip the child away from the mother. 
Some gnaw away at the emotionality of the cruel process, pointing at every turn, "She is not mentally fit to be a mother, she is crying - She must be depressed!". The usually the crowd goes wild as they scramble in to seize the moment grabbing the child whilst the mother is still weak. The umpire in the game turns his head whilst the bribes are pushing at the seams of his back pocket. How many times have you heard a radio station offer a contestant large sums of money to lie for the audiences amusement? Since the alienation craze spread through the family courts, mothers have been losing children left right and center. They actually call protecting - "Maternal gate keeping" and thats a reason for a mother to lose a child.
In UK, mothers who have had history of violence used against them have their children not only removed -but adopted out. Its a nice little system where social workers are paid $3000 when the child is adopted. Not only do they play a sport that contemporary society considers, "Fun", but they get paid to do it. De-mothering is sadly not restricted to the UK, but everywhere and as the enthusiasm drives this culture, justifying it for empty reasons - We are going to need an Olympics devoted to the entire sport. Why we don't have it on television already? Perhaps just seeing it would expose how barbaric some members of our society truly are.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why Shared Parenting is Extremely Selfish

A great amount of disinformation is going around stating that those who reject shared parenting for children are "selfish". In this article there are several key points where this notion is clearly not true.
1. Children don't really have a place that they can solidly call "home".
When they are required to fill out a form and asked where they live, there is usually one space for one address on the form. A majority of our society reside in one main address and rarely spend 50% of their time at another. These children must constantly pack their bags and live out of a suit case swapping between homes, never feeling settled.
2. Time with Dad is put above breastfeeding.
Infants are being ordered to go on formula if the mother cannot express milk like a machine that is extremely unnatural. Others are ordered a time limit on how long they are to be breastfed for. The time with the parents is put above the nourishing benefits the baby gains from breastfeeding.
3. It attracts dads seeking to deviate from child support obligations.
Mens groups promote shared parenting for the primary purpose to deviate from their obligations with child support. They might use other terminology in their campaign plans, but reduction of child support remains the end result.

4. Maternal Deprivation.
Not only is maternal deprivation unnatural, but also harmful to children emotionally and psychologically. The long term consequences of maternal deprivation might include the following:
• delinquency,
• reduced intelligence,
• increased aggression,
• depression,
• affectionless psychopathy

5. Its completely Disruptive for the child.
Children cannot maintain regular friendships within their neighbourhood. They are constantly shuffled between houses where one parent might have a different bed time to the other, so added to the problem is midweek sleep disturbance and routine disruption.

6. Provides opportunities for stalking, harassment and violence.
Parents who were ordered not to see the children as a result of past violence seek shared parenting as an opportunity to continue the dominant abuser role. Court stalking has become a developed phenomenon in Family courts, where orders are deliberately used as a control mechanism. Some might see shared parenting as a pathway for full custody as a tool to hold the children ransom in return for the mothers full submission to ongoing violence.

7. They cant keep up with outside school activities.
For children subjected to a rigid shared parenting routine where they are undergoing week by week arrangements, find themselves missing out on activity's that they were able to maintain prior to divorce. Most activities outside school require children to attend them weekly in order for them to get anything out of them.

For those lucky parents who are not forced to share parenting have the opportunity to negotiate arrangements around the children to avoid these effects. Most parents are forced in these circumstances and do not have the opportunity to negotiate on behalf of the children s needs. Some chose shared parenting because they felt that they had no choice.

Peace For Women and Children

So much has been written about what women and children don't want. The purposes of this article is to write about what we do want. Peace sometimes can be confused with passiveness. That is not real peace. Real peace is without oppression, hate and violence. If peace were an ideal, the declaration of human rights would not have been realised. It would have gone down in history as a collective"pipe dream". Awards for the nobel peace prize would never have been given. It is a reality that everyday, there are people working towards bringing out true peace to all people.

When we ask the courts to protect our children and ourselves from violence, we are asking for peace. Restraining orders are there for that purpose. Unfortunately, Family Court orders have overridden these orders and disturbed our journey for peace. The type of peace that the Family Court has asked of us is false. It is oppressive, hateful and violent towards us and our children. Living under these circumstances is intolerable and wrong. Our human rights are in most cases severely violated. Despite the great harm, no women and child on this earth has engaged in violent protest to stop it. This is because we believe in true peace. Some of us have taken the peaceful way out and left countries to find peace. We have in turn been hunted down as though we are some wild animal that threatens society with our freedom. This is not the case. It is a clear delusion that mothers who run with their children for these purposes are somehow an adversary to societies peace. There are at present few legal remedies to this situation that are not further detrimental to our cause. There is no justification that could disassemble our cause of peace, it is therefore rightful that leaders take up the opportunity to properly understand and implement a remedy.
Let mothers and children find peace where ever they may travel.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

True reason for problems of "fatherless" children

The fathers' organizations have been claiming that child having an ongoing relationship with the father is at all times good for the child. They site statistics such as that children growing up with fathers in the house are much less likely to become criminal or addicted than the children raised without the fathers. In all cases, the claims are wrong, and the correlations drawn miss the causal third factor that is common to both divorce situations and situations of children's deviance. That third factor is violence and abuse by the father.

Nobody divorces just for the heck of it. The "high-conflict" situations are for the most part situations of real violence, perpetrated by the husband against the wife and the children. The violence that the children have seen and been subject to in situations of divorce is far more common than they are in general population. Which means that the violent, criminal and dysfunctional behavior that is ascribed to children being raised without fathers are in fact causally linked to the violent, criminal and dysfunctional behavior by their fathers when the father was present in the house. A woman staying in such a situation with their children is not going to have children becoming good citizens. She will have children doing as the father has done.

In those situations, it is staying in the situation, rather than leaving the situation, that inflicts the greatest damage upon the children. The violence and the abusive, destructive attitudes build from year to year and destroy the child. Whereas getting the child away from such attitudes and behavior may be the only realistic way to save the child, and as such the only responsible solution.

The family court fails to account for this; indeed we see quite the opposite. A racket disorder known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is being used to take children away from the mother and give fully over to the father when either the mother or the child bring up abuse. Not only are the children denied a way from a soul-destroying situation, but they are bound there still further and denied contact with anyone who can help them. The courts become accomplices in the process that destroys children.

To those who claim that a child must have both parents to become a functional citizen, it can be brought to bear that the most successful individual in the world - the President of the United States of America - was raised by a single mother; as were people as famous and functional as Jodie Foster, Tom Cruise and Al Haig. On the historical level, the supposedly dysfunctional baby boom generation was raised with both parents in the house, whereas the supposedly upstanding Generation X was raised by the baby boom generation, in which divorce and single parenting was common. The statistics of fathers' movement ascribe causal factors to correlation due to a third factor - the violence and abusive conduct by the father. This true causal factor underlies both the woman wanting a divorce - and the violent, criminal and dysfunctional behavior in the child.

In homes that are broken by domestic violence, sexual abuse of children, and hatred of children by either parent, to leave with one's children is in many cases the only responsible solution. The courts need to understand that, and they need to assist people in doing the same. Shared parenting works when this isn't the case; but it doesn't work when the abuse is ongoing. Women and children should be able to leave violence and keep away from violence. And in this they
deserve protection, not persecution, of the law and the community.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Australia's Family Court Triage System

We don't get much news on the Family Court because of the secrecy provisions. Few researchers are allowed access to court records. Fewer statistics are made publicly available and are often selective no different than the climate deniers research where years were purposely removed to convey propaganda. What we do know is that there is a very small portion of children being protected from child abuse and an even smaller portion of women protected from family violence. "No Contact" cases are as low as 6%, despite 98.5% of fatal crimes committed against children were by a family member.
The acknowledgement that violence against women is disproportionate to violence against men in intimate partner relationships, is outside the confines of the family law research community.
Fused with a male dominated court culture where women lawyers obtain few positions and opportunities to appear before the court, the culture creates an atmosphere of contempt for mothers and a proprietary view of children. The court deals with both property and children within the same venue as if there were little difference. Psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers are internal and external experts are dismissed as the court contains patriarchal views.
A paper called, "Bad Mothers and invisible fathers" is correct to challenge the courts ignorance and negligence towards children and mothers experiencing family violence. The last two reforms have only made these cases worse and the consequences less visible to a public that would challenge them. The hierarchy of priority in Family Court cases is clear within its judgements as it is in the picture this article accompanies. The most important thing to the courts is funding and this is reflected in the way its programs are presented. For instance, the Magellan program is renown for its "efficiency" in dealing with child abuse. In other words, like the federal magistrates court the focus is to cut as many corners as possible with more cases and the exorbitant amounts of money that accompanies it. There is of course a great need to ensure that there is adequate funding for necessary luxuries such as fine bone china that costs 60k alone. The next level of importance is to serve the gender that is more likely to preserve their expensive taste and of course the gender that a male dominated culture can understand and relate with. The angry men's groups rhetoric is well served amongst this culture and in fact the differences are only in the dressing up of the language.
The mothers and children are of course at the bottom of the family court food chain. If the child does not support the fathers wishes, then their voice is unheard. If the mother raises violence, her claims are often treated by the courts as a 'nuisance", rather than something to be aware of.
Despite consistent global research supporting the fact that child abuse and family violence allegations are mostly true, the family court treats every allegation as though it were false. Evidence is routinely overlooked, no matter what the members have gone through to acquire it and most disturbing is the restriction of children to have access to specialists that can determine either way. The court in fact refers to such investigations as, "medical abuse". It is beyond clear that there is a crisis in Australian Family Courts. It is obvious that key stakeholders must be proactive in changing the culture to provide a safer standard to both the children and mother who is enduring family violence.

When family violence occurs, the focus needs to ensure that all victims are safe from harm. This is the only circumstances where the child and the parents best interests should be considered on the same level. Finding ways to stop family violence in the therapy area, is the job of the therapists and simply making orders of contact for all but the perpetrator to endure is not going to make the problem go away. The choice to cease those behaviours is the choice of the perpetrator alone. All members of society have tried different antidotes to convince the perpetrator to cease the violence to no avail. Most of the time attempts that have involved continuing the relationship has only exacerbated the situation. The power to abuse is what needs to be removed and considering some of the positions perpetrator's pursue, it can be a very difficult task at that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Family Court Could Save Lives

Asia (from left), Jarius and Grace Osborne with their grandmother. The family wants the children returned to the Waikato for burial. (source: nz herald)

A recent tragedy in Melbourne could have been avoided, but victims of family violence know that they cannot be protected by the courts. Only a tiny fraction of family violence victims were given the grace to go into hiding and provide a stable upbringing for their children.

In the Sunday Herald Sun, the mother of the victims in the Melbourne Murder suicide broke her silence when articles on the father portrayed him as a saint and the tragedy as, "unforeseen".
She was a victim of domestic violence who was forced to leave without the children. She told of how she secretly watched over her children and how authorities failed to intervene.
"My heart breaks because . . . he had tried to commit suicide with an overdose of tablets (six months ago). Weren't they concerned about the welfare of the three children if the father was doing that?"
"I was threatened from him. He had threatened me when I moved to Australia that if I was to take the children back to New Zealand - he took their passports, everything away from me,"
In some cases, emergency court proceedings have been made to protect children and others have been made to pursue children when the parent has absconded with the child. When this mother raised this with the police six months ago, an emergency order could have been made.
Unfortunately Family Courts routinely deny children and mothers the right to be safe and protected from this. Some proceedings even undermine restraining orders. The system must work together to prevent future occurrences like these tragedies from happening.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Secrecy Law Scandal Part 2: The John Aster Files

In part one of the Secrecy Law Scandal, we revealed that John Aster had written publicly, "they had not found child porn in 9 years". We asked a question as to why such a statement would be made. In the chat box below, John Aster reveals how he was not only charged for child sex abuse images, but how the court allowed him to enter a plea bargain where he received no jail time:

Mr Aster has connected himself with Safer Family Law Campaigners and Mens Groups . He has started a few face-book groups designed to attract parents from both groups and offers to assist members often asking for court documents and copies of evidence from court cases. Evidential photos of child abuse often contain graphic images that may be misused by Mr Aster. After some parents received this information upon his disclosure and began to alert other parents, he proceeded to launched a disinformation campaign where he attacked the members of Mako for their campaigns in requesting the media releases on child predators:

Despite pleading guilty for having over 1500 images of child sexual abuse, John Aster not only has access to a child through the family court, but is able to effectively manipulate the community into believing he never participated in such an act. That he is a father that is, "falsely accused". The charge he refers to is on or about 2000. Last year an offence that matched his age, location and amount of images recovered was reported.

Australia currently has no public register of sex offenders, but many public campaigns to help the, "falsely accused". The closest thing to a sex offender register is mako and only cases that are leaked to the public make it into the registry. As demonstrated in, "Where do all of the perpetrators go?", Australia's sex offenders receive an average of 4-8 years jail time and their identities are protected. After that, they are released back into the community where they are most likely to re-offend.

Not only does the secrecy provisions of the Family Law Act protect the decisions of the court from public scrutiny combined with a closed sex offender registry, Australia has become a playground for sex offenders and a prison for children. It is therefore no wonder the laws we have today reflect the wishes of abusers.

There are 3000 children in the Australian sex industry(source).
700 paedophiles in Australia were identified(source).
Few sexual abuse cases make it to court, 95% of cases reported are not prosecuted(source).
Even fewer cases are acknowledged as a risk in the Family Court.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Court Like Communist China

Australians are well aware of Chinas censorship laws among other human rights atrocities committed in China. The Department primarily responsible for censorship in China is called, "Central Propaganda department". All information that is against Chinas communist beliefs are censored and those who speak out are persecuted for such actions.
As demonstrated in Samantha Gratwick's article, "The Secrecy Law Scandal" media that is aligned with the beliefs of the Australian Family Court is not restricted, but media that is against the Family Courts are censored and persecuted.

Amnesty International widely publicized a case where China had forcibly confined a blogger to a psychiatric institution for expressing opinions against the beliefs of communism.
In Australian Family Courts most cases where children have lost most or even all contact with their mothers is due to mental illness and reasons not specified:

In a thesis by Amanda Shea Hart, "Children Exposed To Domestic Violence: Whose 'Best Interests' in the Family Court?" are some disturbing revelations contrary to Chisholm findings. In the Chisolm report, he stated that no research has found a gender bias in family court proceedings and based a lot of his assumptions upon the Wingspread family violence conference, a conference highly recommended by mens groups. Her findings are consistent to anyone who takes the time out to read more than ten judgement of family court cases involving family violence. The following common statements are used towards mothers who raise abuse or family violence in Family Court proceedings:

The next are common statements about violent fathers effect on children after contact is forced upon the child:

Children who resist contact are also pathologised:

This is also consistent to global findings in other Family Courts that are often used as a platform for male hegemony and continuing the prevalence of violence against women and children. As demonstrated on the selective statistics provided on the family court page, where the mother does not consent she is less likely than the father to have contact with the children.
The Chisholm report did reveal that most consent cases were made under coercion and the family courts did overlook these cases. A recent news report recently demonstrated that mothers who raise child abuse were being unfairly labelled as mentally ill by the family court.
Where there is evidence of post traumatic stress disorder, the court is more likely to focus on the effectiveness of care that the victim could provide rather than what created the illness:

In a sense survivors of family violence are people who have experienced human rights violations and actively seek to defend human rights. The court in turn reacts as the Chinese government by suppressing and instigating further violations until the victim has accepted the violence and in compliance to the political doctrine. Whilst there are different levels of violations in both comparisons where both have produced extreme experiences, one is well known to the world as a violation, but the other remains unseen with a potential for ongoing danger if not properly addressed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Secrecy Law Scandal

Often when challenged about why the secrecy law is in place, the explanation from Australian Family Courts is to protect children's privacy. Australian Law, based upon English law often mirrors UK in legal matters. Naturally, Australian law mimicking UK law, will also mimic the adverse legal avenue where the Council of Europe found UK law to err on the side of bias when they ordered secrecy. UK was found to maintain secrecy, not to protect the children's identity, but to protect the evidence where they violated human rights from the public. This led to media reporting on UK Family Court proceeding including the revelation that a mother was ordered by the court to return to UK where she was murdered by her ex husband whom had made previous threats to kill.

Australian journalists have even spoken out on how the Australian Family Court has stopped journalists from reporting on cases even where children are dead:

Today Tonight producer stated that he had received jail threats over reporting cases where all members where anonymized.

So why do we see media reports on the family court?

In the case of Darcey Freeman, the reporting was so viral that it was reported in the UK and in US, which stretched out of the Family Courts jurisdiction and made such a lawsuit very expensive and ambiguous. Since the release of the above video, other journalists have been able to make anonymized reports on family violence cases without needing to seek the courts permission.
Beforehand, only stories that supported mens groups ideology where provided and reports that involved family violence were required to obtain permission from the courts. In fact three media reporters from three Australian leading newspapers who provided reports from the mens groups ideology where in fact mens rights advocates. It is therefore no wonder why the community attitudes on violence against women and children provided poor results. The belief that women raise violence in the family court to obtain custody is widely held:
Half of all respondents (49 percent)
believed that ‘women going through
custody battles often make up or
exaggerate claims of domestic
violence in order to improve their
It is a mystery as to why such a document is able to identify the members and explicit details of a family court case:

It is a mystery as to why the details of the mother were revealed on the fathers facebook profile page whom has 672 friends with access to all of the court files that compliment his version of events.

He also identifies the child by providing the photos and the case information underneath. 672 friends can clearly identify the mother and the child, know who judged the case and the details of the case he believes supports his reason for custody. Where he is not identified, he proceeds to identify himself in the case:

It is also important to note that John appeals for his case as an injustice because(according to his account) he had not viewed child pornography for nine years:

The question remains unanswered to the public as to the other remaining years and what police reports was he referring to that he claimed to be untrue?
Then there are the abduction cases where the family court has a high number of fathers looking for mothers whom have absconded with the children. Research has noted that a high number of abduction cases are due to escaping domestic violence and the negligence of protection related to that area. Most abduction cases therefore produce a mens group style promotion, neglecting to add the part where child abuse was raised and not dealt properly dealt with. An excellent example is the case of Melinda Stratton and Ken Thompson. In the court ordered publication it warned anyone who recognized Melinda Stratton, "not to approach her as she might prove a danger to herself or her son". Unlike other family court releases, it did not specify a criminal or diagnosed mental health history. An aspect that would clearly be important to add when compelling the public to turn a mother and child into the police. It was later revealed that Melinda had run because of her concerns for Andrew Thompson and the courts inability to investigate child abuse. The court of course restrained the Australian from publishing most of the mothers accounts including the allegations that were made.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Professor Challenges courts behavior on child abuse

Professor Freda Briggs, challenged the courts on their reactions to child abuse with recent decisions resulting in sending children to abusers.

Professor labels courts ignorant and naïve

Posted Apr 12 2010, 07:43 PM by Lawyers Weekly

Child protection expert, Professor Freda Briggs, has slammed Australian courts for their ignorance and naivety in child sexual abuse cases, calling for statutory training of all family court judges and magistrates.

As a member of the National Council for Children Post-Separation (NCCPS) expert advisory panel, Briggs said Australian courts are now becoming renowned worldwide as turning a blind eye to paedophiles and child sexual abuse within the family.

She adds that, according to police experts, Australia's reputation for handing out soft sentences has resulted in paedophiles purposely travelling to Australia from other countries where they would face a 25 year sentence for a similar offence.

Expressing concern about Australia's approach to the issue of child protection, Briggs said there is an alarming lack of understanding and knowledge among family court judges and magistrates regarding child sexual abuse and its ramifications.

Briggs is concerned about the number of children who are being ordered by family court judges into residency or contact with parents who are acknowledged to be child sex offenders, placing the children atrisk of abuse.

According to Briggs, judges and magistrates need to be made aware, on a continuous basis, of the most recent research findings regarding child sexual offenders, their modus operandi and the effects of abuse on children.

Providing examples of how this lack of knowledge amongst the family courts of Australia has led to a number of offenders being given less than appropriate orders, Briggs quoted Californian Judge Peggy Fulton Hora, who recently expressed amazement that Australia does not impose mandatory training for newly appointed judges.

"The need for mandatory education has never been more obvious than in recent weeks. First, a family court judge in Tasmania thought it was appropriate to make little children responsible for their own protection from a convicted child sex offender who was acknowledged to be a risk.

"Seemingly the judge thought that daylight protects children from sexual abuse...Clearly this man needs to be educated about the grooming methods used by child sex offenders," Briggs said in a statement.

Giving other examples highlighting the need for training and education, Briggs emphasised that judges need to "learn about domestic violence and its effects on children's brain development" and that "only around 1.8 per cent of reported child sex offenders are convicted in this country".

Endorsing and supporting Briggs' concerns and calls for training, the NCCPS has asked for the AttorneyGeneral to address this issue immediately.