Children the forgotten victims in family violence campaign

Gender split.

Children are being overlooked in the campaign against family violence, despite new statistics showing they represent one in five victims of family-related homicide, senior researchers say.

Figures released this month by the Australian Institute of Crim­in­ology have revealed the complex nature of killings within Australian families over the past decade.

Of the 1088 cases where people were killed by family members, 56 per cent of victims died at the hands of their partner, with women representing three-­quarters of those victims.

Children represented 21 per cent of all victims, with mothers slightly more likely to be the killer than fathers.

More than 80 per cent of children killed by their parents were under nine years old, with 32 per cent less than one year old.

AIC research manager for violent crime and exploitation Samantha Bricknell said the impact of family violence on children warranted greater attention in the public debate, which is predominantly focused on men attacking women.

“I think children are still being lost in the broader discussion,” Dr Bricknell said. “The effects on the child witnessing the violence — but also the impact on the child physically and emotionally being the victim of family violence — is in the conversation, but we’re not really looking at this as much as we should.”

The AIC is currently gathering more detail on child homicides in Australia, including what role parental mental health and custodial arrangements might play in children’s deaths.

The lack of substantial data and issues of underreporting have hindered efforts for a clear picture of family violence, with the Victorian government now planning to rely on measures such as hospital presentations and crime statistics to introduce a family violence index by February.

Dr Bricknell said cases of violence against women unrelated to family or relationship dynamics were sometimes brought into the conversation to bolster ­impressions of a domestic violence “epidemic”.

“It is very difficult to say what is happening now and say it is an epidemic when we don’t know what was happening five years ago,” she said. “I suspect this has been a huge issue for many, many years, for time immemorial probably, but we have to be very careful talking about spikes in violent activity.

“We really don’t know what the situation was beforehand.”

The average number of family-related homicides has dropped since the 1990s — from an average of 129 deaths each year between 1989 and 2002 to an average 101 deaths each year between 2002 and 2012.

University of South Australia adjunct associate professor Dale Bagshaw said that too much ­emphasis was being placed on deaths and physical violence in the current campaigning, and other types of abuse and the role of ­children as victims was being overlooked.

“Children as victims of violence are often ignored,” she said.

“The effect of violence on children is quite devastating, both in the short and long term.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence or sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit http://www.1800RESPECT.org.au

Man shaming and victim blaming: an A-Z of male suicide

Karen Woodall

I caught the end of the Panorama Programme on male suicide in the UK last night. Whilst I know something about the statistics around male suicide and understand some of those things which stack up against men, causing loss of hope and a spiral into despair, even I was shocked that 100 men are killing themselves every week in the UK.

100 men every week. It is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 50. It is happening in our country right now and yet, apart from the exhortation to ‘talk about it’, we have, as yet, no national strategy, no national awareness of what is happening and no real idea of what to do about it other than telling men they need to talk about it.

So it’s all their fault then and if only men would be more like women and talk about it, all would be well. Is that our strategy? Make men more like women and all will be well? According to Calmzone’s CEO Jane Powell it is. Powell, who ended the programme last night by saying

the answer is in…simply talking about it..in that sense, the answer is free.

and then went on to talk about how there had been a massive cultural change for women over the years with the implication that if men would only get on and talk about it, the rates of suicide amongst men would drop and it wouldn’t cost a penny.

Was I the only one whose jaw dropped to the floor on hearing this? My first reaction was laughter at the nonsensical idea that all men have to do is talk about their feelings and they won’t feel like killing themselves anymore. My second reaction was serious concern which grew into anger at the realisation that the sole idea that was being put foward in this documentary was a feminist construct that if men were more like women and talked about their feelings, their despair would not drive them to death. So let’s look at what talking about it does for the men who are most at risk of suicide in the UK.

Men under fifty whose lives are fragile and based upon the whims of the woman they live with and her approval of him being a good enough husband or partner.

If he fails to live up to this and his wife or partner decides that the marriage is over, what happens to our man under the age of fifty?

a) his behaviours are routinely analysed as being based upon his inherent advantage under the rule of patriarchy. He is judged wanting because he is a man because men are advantaged and women are not.

b) he is asked to leave the house he lives in.

c) leaving his children behind

or

d) he comes home one night to an empty house, his wife and his children are gone

e) he is regarded as a perpetrator, it must be his fault because he is a man

f) he faces systemic discrimination in the services he turns to for help, including even those services set up to support him it would seem, as their core belief is that if he just talks about it he will feel less like killing himself. Meanwhile he is homeless, forcibly separated from his children and

g) forced to pay 20% of his gross income to support the children he can only see if their mother is willing to allow that

h) when he enters the housing system he is told he has no priority and so he spends much of his time sofa surfing in his friends homes or lives with his mother and father, alternatively he goes onto the streets and becomes one of the invisibles, the ones we don’t care about because if they are on the street it must be their fault mustn’t it?

i) When he tries to see his children, using the family court system he pays for it financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

j) He applies to see his children using a C100 form and is asked to attend mediation which he does. His children’s mother however refuses because she has reconfigured their relationship through her ‘consciousness raising’ as being abusive…he is doomed but he doesn’t know it yet.

k) He goes into court and secures that which is afforded to him now that he is regarded as deficient as a father, contact. Contact with his children, those kids who he held in his arms on the day of their birth and promised them the world. He is now allowed to have ‘contact’ with them.

l) ‘Contact’ is stopped when allegations are made and the criminal court takes a year or more to conclude that he is not guilty.

m) now his kids don’t want to see him anymore, he is too sad, too bad, too not what a dad should be.

n) He goes in to the court system believing he will get justice and comes out shredded, bullied, coerced and shamed.

0) He suffers from PTSD

p) his working life has suffered for a very long time, now he faces losing his job.

q) losing his job is the final straw, now he is homeless, childless, jobless and worthless.

r) he asks for help from one of the local services who tell him that all he needs to do is talk about it.

s) he staggers out into the street and wonders why he doesn’t just throw himself under that bus, who would care?

t) he drifts listlessly from one day to the next, his friends have given up on him, or been turned against him by his ex

u) his mother is seriously concerned about him but cannot get through to him

v) he starts planning how to end the pain

w) he wakes up one morning after a night drinking to kill the pain of the loss that he has suffered and the post traumatic stress that causes his brain to spin around the same questions over and over again…what did I do that was so wrong?

x) he cannot cope with it anymore, he has talked it and walked it for too long.

y) he knows his mother is not in the house today

z) he takes the rope from the garage

If only he had talked about it….

Telling men who face external barriers and obstacles to those things that keep them mentally well and healthy to talk about it is like shouting into a force 10 gale and thinking the person over the other side of the hill can hear you. The sickening thing about telling men who face these levels of discrimination to ‘talk about it,’ is that it is like sticking a plaster over open heart surgery in the belief that it will heal itself eventually. What we are doing to men is wrong, it is not healthy and it is very definitely not about equality.

For those who believe that when I write about men that makes me a men’s rights activist and those who believe that because I have abandoned feminism for what it is, a discriminatory cult which is about women’s rights and not equality, I am biased against women. Let me tell you that I am not an activist for anything other than equality, that which is based upon enabling men and women to be who they are and different, not the same. What I also am is someone who believes that if we are to be a truly equal, just and fair society, in which our boys and girls can grow up to have choices across the whole spectrum of their lives, we have to undersand that victim blaming is not just for women, it is for men too. And victim blaming is something which starts when we see the struggles of men and women as being of their own doing. This is exactly what is happening when we tell men who face systemic barriers to their wellbeing that they will feel better if they simply ‘talk about it.’

What happens when men do talk about it is that we collectively start a process of man shaming. When men clmb on buildings to highlight their plight they are irresponsible wasters who clearly should not have anything to do with their children, when they march for their rights, we say they are bullies and are showing their true colours and when they kill themselves we say that if only they talked about it, all would be well. Man shaming. It is rife in our culture. It is wrong and it is killing men at the rate of 100 per week in the UK.

Instead of telling men to talk about it, isn’t it time that those of us who want a fairer, safer, more just world for our children, got on and did something about it?

And I don’t mean talk about it.

Family Court Final Four Tournament Results

GreedySuit

Not since the Big East Conference boasted three of the final four teams in NCAA Tournament play did we see such a lopsided outcome. It occurred over the weekend not far from all the sports arenas and domes in a competition we can call the Family Court Final Four. While visitation dads were obsessed with the orange ball, feministswere busy getting more laws passed to criminalize them as parents.

Here at Leon Koziol.com we try to keep up with all the developments that get by our fathers while they’re watching the games. We try to organize opposition to laws that are effectively criminalizing fatherhood and removing good dads from their children’s lives. But the guys seem to prefer spending on game tickets and other priorities than donations or participation in family law reform.

That’s why family judges today see no problem with debtor prisons and gender discrimination in parenting decisions. Fathers and their women supporters do not send them any public message that there’s a growing crisis here, so it’s simply not a problem. Oppressive laws continue to be passed which send good fathers to lower class status, bankruptcy and jail. Horrendous psychological damage to children is utterly disregarded along the way for the almighty dollar.

To cite only one example, a federal law known as the Parent Punishment Act (you can look it up, it really exists) makes it a crime to take up residency in another state with a $5,000 support debt. Now how many dads know that they can be arrested by getting behind on a debt so easily achieved after losing a job (or failing to get one that a well paid judge thinks he can get)? Move a few miles across a state line for a new job and go to federal prison? Rapists and child molesters get more respect, i.e.Attorney Steven Lever.

Despite crucial rights violated under our Constitution in this way, the war on fatherspresses on, right over the foxholes where guys focus only on their own war stories. There is no sacrifice for a greater cause and so there is no relief in sight. Politicians regurgitate that same old song and dance about how these measures are designed to benefit our children when they know of the real damage.

This is because a go-along mentality gets votes. Remarkably an uniformed public then applauds the erosion of our rights just as Adolph Hitler once predicted in Nazi Germany. Just say it’s for our children, and the people will “happily accept any curtailment of their liberties.” It’s all there in Mein Kampf, and it’s been happening here in the states for many years.

The real crimes lie in a widespread suppression of speech and reform which then facilitates the ongoing discrimination, abuse and injustices. While this fatherless crisis grows, politicians simply demand more tax dollars to pay for the social costs. It’s called job creation after all our real jobs went overseas to avoid other forms of over-regulation. In short, government is spending our money to create a problem and then making us pay for it on the back side.

Our Constitution is the supreme embodiment of law that our soldiers sacrifice everything for each day only to return home to these same prisons and oppressive laws. In our next post, we’ll tell you about a quiet scheme which gets even more child support in the hands of lawyers and how desperate victims have now resorted to murder, suicide and lawlessness as a preferred remedy to such injustices. In the meantime, enjoy the games.

Be Sure to Follow Leon Koziol, J.D., on Twitter (Click Here)

children whose fathers spent more time with them had a higher IQ

Strong fatherly involvement in their early life can also improve a child’s future career prospects, the research shows.

Academics at the University of Newcastle, who carried out the study, also found that men tended to pay more attention to their sons than their daughters.

The researchers warned that it was not enough for parents to live together, but that a father should be actively involved in a child’s life to benefit their development.

The study looked at more than 11,000 British men and women, born in 1958.

The scientists asked their mothers how often the father of their child took part in activities with them, including reading, organising outings and general “quality time”.

The findings, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, show that those children whose fathers spent more time with them had a higher IQ and were more socially mobile than those who had received little attention.

The differences were still detectable by the age of 42.

Dr Daniel Nettle, who led the research, said: “What was surprising about this research was the real sizeable difference in the progress of children who benefited from paternal interest and how thirty years later, people whose dads were involved are more upwardly mobile.

“The data suggest that having a second adult involved during childhood produces benefits in terms of skills and abilities that endure throughout adult life,” he added.

Jon Davies, chief executive for Families Need Fathers, said: “We hope that research like this will lead to the government to reconsider how poorly served separated families often are and how a child needs a father as well as mother.”

ONE IN THREE VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE IS MALE

OPINION: Men are victims of domestic violence too | Newcastle Herald

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LAST month a NSW Police Facebook post talked about male victims of family violence and the fact that last year one in five domestic violence assaults that NSW police attended to involved male victims.

This is not news for many of us who have worked for many years to advocate for rights for male domestic violence victims and for services to be provided for them and also female perpetrators

Both of these groups – male victims and female perpetrators – are “invisible” in the eyes of the domestic violence field in this country.

Male victims need to be encouraged to come forward, and they need as much support as female and child victims of family violence, and the NSW Police Facebook post  we hope will help to facilitate this.

The fact that women are victims of domestic violence in 66per cent of the cases needs to be addressed and is being addressed, but what about the other 33per cent?

There has been no community education censuring violence by women or raising awareness of the needs of male domestic violence victims.

I run the only training program for health and community workers in how to respond to the needs of male victims in Australia and New Zealand.

There are hundreds of training courses in Australia around domestic violence but none of them deal with the two “invisible” groups, they simply help to perpetrate the myth that domestic violence is something that only happens to women at the hands of men.

Domestic violence can be thought of as an equal opportunity killer.

Recent tragedies in Brisbane and Cairns involving women killing their children show that women are just as capable of homicide as men when children are involved.

The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology show that between 2008 and 2010, in family-related murders of children by all family members, more than 37per cent of the known killers were the mother.  (The source is raw data from the AIC’s National Homicide Monitoring Program at oneinthree.com.au/storage/xls/Family_Violence_Homicides_2008-10_NHMP.xlsx)

It is indeed sad that while our community awareness of the dangers of domestic violence is growing, the information is not being presented fairly and the truth about who might actually commit violence and abuse in relationships is not being accurately portrayed.

Dr Elizabeth Celi, a psychologist and author on men’s health, has some interesting insights.

She says public awareness of domestic violence often falls short of portraying the whole story.

‘‘Decades of rightly raising public awareness for female victims of domestic violence, have simultaneously lacked in accurate public education that women can also be abusive and violent, towards other women, men and children,’’ she says.

She also points out that turning a blind eye to women who commit domestic violence puts children at risk.

‘‘Children are affected by abusive and violent behaviour regardless of the perpetrator’s gender. Our children don’t deserve to be put at risk by overlooking women’s abuse and violence.’’

It is time that we called for a stop to all domestic violence, irrespective of who commits it and who is the victim.

In the real war to stop all violence in relationships, there is no place for gender battles; we need to move on from this and work towards making all men, women and children safe.

Greg Millan is a men’s health consultant. He will run a training program for health workers ‘‘Working with men affected by violence” in Newcastle on February 20. 

Visit menshealthservices.com.au

Domestic Violence Against Men: Women More Likely To Be ‘Intimate Terrorists’ With Controlling Behavior In Relationships

Upset woman about to slap her partner the living room

Relationships can be an emotional rollercoaster. Throughout the ride, men and women can be everything from loving and nurturing, to sometimes verbally and even physically abusive during fights. While aggression in heterosexual relationships is believed to stem from men, a recent study presented on June 25 at a symposium on intimate partner violence (IPV) at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference in Glasgow, found women are more likely to be “intimate terrorists,” or physically aggressive to their partners than men.

Michael P. Johnson, an American sociologist coined the term “intimate terrorism,” or batterers or abusers, in the 1990s to define an extreme form of controlling relationship behavior involving threats, intimidation, and violence. Men were almost always responsible for these heinous acts. This belief is further supported by statistics highlighting nearly three in 10 women (29 percent), and one in 10 men (10 percent) in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner, affecting some form of their functioning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To observe the dynamic and prevalence of intimate partner violence of men and women in heterosexual relationships, Dr. Elizabeth Bates from the University of Cumbria and colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire, conducted a survey collecting data from a large cohort of students. More than 1,000 students — 706 women and 398 men with an average age of 24 — responded to the questionnaires. The students were asked about their physical aggression and controlling behavior to partners, and to same-sex others, including friends.

The findings revealed just as many women as men could also be classed as abusive, coupled with controlling behavior with serious levels of threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Women were more likely to verbally and physically aggressive to their partners than men. “This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men. “It wasn’t just pushing and shoving,” said Bates,Medical Xpress reported. Some of the survey respondents circled boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and even threatening to use a weapon.

However, when it came to terms of high levels of control and aggression, there was no difference between men and women. There was a higher prevalence of controlling behavior seen in women than men, which was found to significantly predict physical aggression in both sexes. In other words, the more controlling behavior a woman displayed, the more likely she would an “intimate terrorist,” or physically aggressive to her partner.

“This was an interesting finding. Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women’s behavior, using violence if necessary,” Bates said. This suggests IPV may not be motivated by patriarchal values, and should be further studied with other forms of aggression. The stereotypical popular view, although still dominant, is being challenged by research over the last ten to 15 years, shedding light on male domestic violence.

Mark Brooks, chair of the ManKind Initiative in the U.K., which offers support for male victims of domestic violence, believes Bates’ study is “game changing.” “At the charity we’re not surprised at the findings, because of the type of calls we get to our helpline every day,” Brooks told The Telegraph. “What concerns us still is the lack of awareness and services available to support those men suffering in this way.”

It is no surprise that the media and government in the U.S. and throughout other parts of the world, people focus most attention on the female victims of domestic violence and, consequently, men are the overlooked victims of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, men and boys are less likely to report the violence and seek services due to several challenges such as the stigma of being a male victim. Sixteen percent of adult men who report being raped or physically assaulted are victims of a current or former spouse, cohabitating partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or date.

Source: Bates E et al. Women more likely to be aggressive than men in relationships. British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference in Glasgow.

Voting LNP ALP Axis of Evil is Voting for child Abuse from Trafficking.

The Magna Carta (Great Charter), 1297 Parliament House, Canberra | Origins of the 1215 Magna Carta

King John exploited and abused the traditional sources of revenue. Desperate for money to wage wars in defence of his estates, John demanded unprecedented amounts in ‘scutage’, or money from his tenants in lieu of providing knights for the king’s service. He was intemperate and at times cruel in his manner of enforcing his rights from his land-holders and from the church, and unjust in his treatment of people at all levels. There was no redress against the absolute power of the king.

Barons who resisted paying the excessive levies had their lands confiscated and members of their families taken as hostages. By 1215 rebel barons outnumbered those loyal to John. They united and marched on London from the north and captured the Tower of London on 17 May 1215.

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I have proven false allegations of DV, proven corruption in Queensland Government, have court orders for my 5yo to see me every week, I have been in family corrupt court for 5 years,  legal aid Queensland has blocked contact for over 2 years. I am still waiting new orders from August 2014 trial.

Voting LNP ALP Axis of Evil is Voting for child Abuse from Trafficking

Would be good if you will write to your state and federal members as this is their job to do my son  has been denied his inalienable rights and free liberties by corruption in our government to see and be with us.

Breaches of law FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 – SECT 4AB  (i)  preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture;

We need to get Tough on public service crime and corruption, we are very much under attack, we need leadership.

My Surfers Paradise State and Fed LNP reps got me on charges s474.17 a fed indictment from an email on my sons 5th birthday, in defense of my young son, I’m getting a summary trial, no legal aid, no legal rep, no jury, 3 years prison.

CRIMES ACT 1914 – SECT 4G

Indictable offences

Offences against a law of the Commonwealth punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding 12 months are indictable offences, unless the contrary intention appears.

CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1995 –

10.4   Self-defence

(1)  A person is not criminally responsible for an offence if he or she carries out the conduct constituting the offence in self-defence.

Forced to file a writs of habeas corpus in federal magistrates court for COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 80

Trial by jury

The trial on indictment of any offence against any law of the Commonwealth

, and subsequent  private prosecution of systemic corruption and child abuse under the Australian family law act.

The Parliament and government are linked in the relationship known as ‘responsible government’, which was described earlier. For this reason, we consider them together. These are powerful institutions, which control the law-making process.

Potentially, they protect rights in two ways: positively, by passing laws to protect rights that are not currently protected and negatively, by restraining themselves from making laws to infringe rights that are recognized by the common law or international law.

CRIMES ACT 1914 – SECT 28 Interfering with political liberty Any person who, by violence or by threats or intimidation of any kind, hinders or interferes with the free exercise or performance, by any other person, of any political right or duty, shall be guilty of an offence.

Penalty: Imprisonment for 3 years.

A person is incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a Member if he or she has been convicted of bribery, undue influence or interference with political liberty, or has been found by the Court of Disputed Returns to have committed or attempted to commit bribery or undue influence when a candidate, disqualification being for two years from the date of the conviction or finding..

Unfortunately it will get worse, our public services attract antisocial types, sociopaths, psychopaths, pedophiles, narcissus like flies. Question is how do we fix it, given our public service is working against us.

We need to organise real people to take up parliamentary seats. candidates, independents or otherwise.

 

http://fathersaustralia.com/wp/

lp

Kickstart 2015 by being proactive from now‏

fireworks

01 January 2015

Hi All

Here attached is good reading to begin 2015 with thanks to Lone Fathers Association Australia for the great job they do in producing a great newsletter.  Note the branches listed and get along and give force to change in 2015 or if no branch is in your area get one started and contact Barry Williams to help you get another branch up and running.  Not only for the duration of your own case but for years after like me now over 15 years and still driving for the equality of fathers out of Government Administration.

http://lonefathers.org.au/

Here’s an easy start of something very positive right now offsetting feminist propaganda about domestic violence.

Read Bliney Dan on page 21 and read Professor Patrick Parkinson Report on false allegations attached here.  Run off a few copies of his research he submitted to The Senate and get an appointment with your nearest Station Sergeant and explain to them how false allegations leave harm upon the father falsely accused and that false allegation can be prosecuted by police under the Police Administration Act for also being a waste of Taxpayers Resources especially under budget cuts.  If it still goes to court as a false allegation it then comes under the Criminal Code Act for the misuse of courts and the penalty for the false claimant is the same as what they were trying .to have falsely imposed.  A false report is a serious legal matter not being properly handled by police. Run off the ABS stats too for police.  They are       GOVERNMENTS OWN STATISTICS that police should be heeding as the status quo.

And that Police must by way of their Oath of Office abandon their long ago adopted and unlawful feminists solely male blame Duluth Model of administering Domestic Violence.

Come on now and make 2015 a year of being proactive restoring truth and gender equality in these heterosexual administrations.  The feminists are doing it all of the time surely fathers can find some time to counterbalance their propaganda with the likes of Professor Parkinson’s Research. Professor Parkinson is a professor of law with as specialization in family law at NSW University email patrick.parkinsion@sydney.edu.au

Regards

Robert K

Phone 08 8932 333908 8932 3339

Reading View. Alt Shift A for Accessibility Help.

False Allegations of Abuse – Submission by Prof. Parkinson to Senate

Excerpt of submission to the Senate Committee: There is now a very widespread view in the community that some family violence orders are sought for tactical or collateral reasons to do with family law disputes. People have become very cynical about them. A national survey conducted in 2009, with over 12,500 respondents, found that 49% of respondents agreed with the proposition that ‘women going through custody battles often make up or exaggerate claims of domestic violence in order to improve their case’, and only 28% disagreed. While it might be expected that men would be inclined to believe this, 42% of women did so as well.  The view that some family violence order applications are unjustified appears to be shared by state magistrates in New South Wales and Queensland. Hickey and Cumines in a survey of 68 NSW magistrates concerning apprehended violence orders (AVOs) found that 90% agreed that some AVOs were sought as a tactic to aid their case in order to deprive a former partner of contact with the children. About a third of those who thought AVOs were used tactically indicated that it did not occur ‘often’, but one in six believed it occurred ‘all the time’. A similar survey of 38 Queensland magistrates found that 74% agreed with the proposition that protection orders are used in Family Court proceedings as a tactic to aid a parent’s case and to deprive their partner of contact with their children.

90% of surveyed NSW Magistrates agreed that AVOs were sometimes or often sought as a tactic in order to deprive a former partner of contact with the children.

In research that our research team recently published on the views of 40 family lawyers in NSW, almost all solicitors thought that tactical applications for AVOs occurred, with the majority considering it happened often. In another study based upon interviews with 181 parents who have been involved in family law disputes, we found a strong perception from respondents to family violence orders (both women and men) that their former partners sought a family violence order in order to help win their family law case. This is a quote from one of the women in our study. Her former husband, who we also interviewed, sought an apprehended violence order (AVO) to keep her away from the house after she had left it.

A survey of 38 Queensland magistrates found that 74% agreed with the proposition that protection orders are used in Family Court proceedings as a tactic to aid a parent’s case and to deprive their partner of contact with their children.

She said this: “I thought this is ridiculous. What’s he giving me an AVO for? I haven’t done anything to him. I haven’t hit him, kicked him. We never had any violence in our marriage. Why have I got an AVO?  … you can put an AVO on someone and say that they’re violent, and the only way you can get a child off their mother is because they’re violent. And that’s why I think he gave me the AVO.” The belief that family violence orders are a weapon in the war between parents is fuelled by the fact that judges are required under the Family Law Act to consider such family violence orders in determining the best interests of the child. The proposed clause in this Bill takes the law back to what it was before 2006, without any explanation for why Parliament should reverse its previous decision at least to limit the provision. It really doesn’t matter whether this belief that family violence orders are used tactically is true or not. The fact is that the perception is out there and it is held by state magistrates and family lawyers, as well as the wider community. The retention of this provision in the Family Law Act simply fuels the suspicion that family violence orders are being misused. This is damaging to the credibility of the family violence order system and the courts.The second reason why the requirement to consider family violence orders ought to be removed is that this serves absolutely no purpose. Yes, the court needs to know about the existence of a current family violence order in order to consider how to frame its own orders (s.60CG), but that is dealt with by requiring people to inform the court of such orders (s.60CF). Why consider them again in deciding what is in the best interests of a child (s.60CC(3))? The court is already required to consider the history of violence. What does it add to require the court also to consider a family violence order? The impression given by the legislation is that these orders are somehow evidence that there has been violence. However, that is a misunderstanding.

In research that our research team recently published on the views of 40 family lawyers in NSW, almost all solicitors thought that tactical applications for AVOs occurred, with the majority considering it happened often.

Family violence orders have absolutely no evidential value in the vast majority of cases. This is because, in the vast majority of cases, they are consented to without admissions. The hearings in these uncontested cases are very brief indeed. Prof. Rosemary Hunter, in observations in Victoria in 1996–97, found that the median hearing time for each application was only about three minutes. Applications were typically dealt with in a bureaucratic manner, with magistrates being distant and emotionally disengaged. To the extent that applicants were asked to give oral evidence, they were typically asked to confirm the content of their written application, and very little exploration of the grounds for the application took place. Dr Jane Wangmann, in a recent analysis of court files in NSW, reached finding very similar to Hunter’s. In her observations of AVO matters in 2006–7, she found, like Hunter, that cases were dealt with in three minutes or less. She also noted that the information provided in written complaints was brief and sometimes vague. It is hardly surprising, then, that judges in family law cases draw no inferences from the mere existence of a family violence order. This has been the clear view of family lawyers for the last 15 years. Indeed, in the research we recently published on the views of 40 family lawyers in NSW, none of the lawyers who responded to the question believed that judicial officers gave AVOs much consideration in determining parenting disputes. Judges, they indicate, want to evaluate the evidence of violence itself, not the fact that another court has made an order about it by consent and without admissions. https://senate.aph.gov.au/submissions/comittees/viewdocument.aspx?id=f6c1e09d-3367-4ed1-b0da-aed26481ea59 Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2011 Submission to Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs  by Prof. Patrick Parkinson, University of Sydney