1. Family Violence is often referred as "High Conflict", "Entrenched Conflict" to mask the severity of the situation.
Mentioned in the latest report on Family Violence in Family Courts, high conflict has often been a tool to diminish support for victims within the media and inside the courts andwritten judgments.
For Instance, a judge referred to death threats, property damage and stalking towards the mother as, "High Conflict":
2. Family Violence is the core business of the Family Court
In assessing the probative value I have considered my finding that the father had slashed the tyre of Mr U’s car in the company of another person. Around the same time and in the circumstances of high conflict (the father attending at the mother’s place of work and the father threatening the mother at an intersection including the clear threat of cutting her throat) indicates that there is a tendency or coincidence such that the slashing of the tyres, scratching of the car and putting nails into the tyres of the mother’s car are so similar as to believe that some, if not all, of those events are related to the father’s ongoing stalking and terrorising the mother. I make this finding ignoring my subsequent findings in relation to the words asserted by Mr J in January 2009.
Originally a popular statement amongst legal professionals as a tool to brush off concerns as just allegations, has become the new spotlight on an old phrase. It use to be used to view all concerns as just court tactics in obtaining custody of children. Now, it is often used to highlight how courts have been profiting from extending the horror for victims of family violence. Originally re interpreted by an anonymous group of women writers, it has become a major point for reform.
3. Gender equality has not been reached within the international community, thus all conflicts are not born equal.
Whilst the advancement of women in public and political life has improved over time, most laws are developed within a male dominated setting. In theShared Parenting responsibility statistics, the family court decided that 31% of mothers were mentally ill and only 3% of fathers were mentally ill and not fit to see the children. Whereas, in the general population on statistics around that time, 22% of females and 20% of males were mentally ill. What a lot of people fail to note is that the family court is a slice of the general population and thus should provide results consistent to general population data. This is because, there is bias in diagnosis by court selected psychologists and psychiatrists. Parent Alienation, is a fictitious syndrome that has been used in court rooms in the US for many years and traveled to Australia in the 1980's. This syndrome is often used to divert the spotlight from the alleged perpetrator to the protective parent and diminish their concerns to something spiraling from mental illness. Once established in a Family Court report, its often very difficult to debunk because of its popularity amongst the pseudo - psy- legal community.
4. There is no separation of church and state in Family Law matters.
Family types that clash with religious groups in Australia are often single mothers, same sex couples and new age religious based families. The Family Council identified these groups as "opposing" groups when conducting a think-tank on lobbying for shared parenting. Their values, naturally excluded consideration of young people, women, same sex couples and even basic human rights. The motivation behind the laws were to reverse the right for women to; work, to abort, to leave domestic violence, to shield the children from abuse. Whilst the site is a radical example and one would assume no person with a rational mind would support this organisation, many of these values were reflected within laws surrounding their targets. This organisation whilst small, is still funded and active.
5. You cannot negotiate with a psycho.
Could you ever imagine a scenario where mediation would work with Ted Bundy and his only surviving victim? Or perhaps mediation between Ivan Milat and Paul Onions? There is a good reason why there is no mediation between them: You cannot negotiate with a psycho. The very thought of that is some kind of sick joke, yet at resolution dispute centers, they do this everyday.
In fact, Relationships Australia boasts that their mediators are specially trained in negotiating with psychos.
The victim of course has only two choices:
- Negotiate with a psycho
- Relive the whole experience under scrutiny in the Family Court.
This is why so many family violence cases ended in consent orders. Consent orders were such a wonderful blanket when the victim was murdered, that spokespeople had the opportunity to explain away that no-one is responsible except for the victim who "consented".
6. Family Court cases are in secret
Anyone who wants to take their case to the media, even when the only surviving child has died, must get the courts permission. Controversially, the most common excuse for the secrecy is to protect the children's names. The secrecy law however, does not reflect that and the practices are more consistent to "the best interests of the court".
This prevents public accountability and understanding of some of the issues that affect victims that go through the family court.
7. False allegations of Child Abuse are rare.
Even children know that child abuse is a serious matter and telling the truth about these things is really important. Despite this, on a community attitudes survey, it was found that half of the community believed that women make up stories of rape, violence and child abuse to gain custody of children. In one of the largest family court samples, findings not only debunked the myth that false allegations dominated family court proceedings, but also the myth that mothers were the main culprits. As little as 12%, were false allegations and most of them were fathers.
8. Its a human rights issue too.
Try to contact Amnesty International and they will tell you that they do not deal with family court cases. Try to contact the Australian Human Rights Commission and they will tell you that its out of jurisdiction. That does not mean its not a human rights issue. Many aspects of family court cases apply to human rights. In rare cases, the Australian Human Rights Commission have intervened, but not as often as they should. This is because the human rights violations are ambiguous in the family law realm. There are too many violations to list them all here, but one can peruse the declaration here. Below is the UN's report on Australia in the context of womens human rights:
Some victims thought they could survive by avoiding his anger and complying with the orders. Unfortunately, its deeper than that. Homicides relating to family violence is usually because the perpetrator sees the children and their mother as chattel rather than human beings. Just like an angry mechanic might damage a car for not doing what he wants, the perpetrator will find ways to punish them or adopt the, "If I can't have them, no-one will" attitude".
9. Sometimes its a matter of life or death
In a way, Family Violence is a silent genocide especially in the context that courts entrap victims from being able to escape the perpetrator and seek proper safety. They are forced to endure the trauma and some even learn that it was safer for the children to return to the relationship, because at least she could be there for them.
Without Family Courts forcing victims to remain in the residence that the perpetrator is aware of and bring the children to him unsupervised, I have no doubt that statistics in general for the years to come would be dramatically reduced. I have no doubt that the death rate would also be reduced significantly. There are so many murders relating to the family court, some reported and others where families endure the loss alone, unacknowledged for the severe violation that the courts orders caused.
10. Its about the children
As much as laws regarding children have been manipulated to serve the agendas of the courts revenue, the agenda of MRAs and the agenda of churches, it is still clearly reflecting the needs of children with the urgency that these situations outside of these courts warrant. Clearly, a man who beats a child's mother does not earn the title "father" in any way, shape or form. Some self proclaimed "experts" believe that they have the ability to play Russian roulette with children's lives by anticipating with little empirical foundation that somehow the father would not be violent to the child too. I have far more respect for the expert that honestly states, "I don't know" when they reach an area that is out of their league, than the one who is desperately career driven that they will make statements to please at all costs. These costs right now are lives and time is ticking away.