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.

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