Rosie Batty savages family law courts culture
From fearful kids who wet the bed to those left suicidal – these are the consequences of decisions by the Family Law Court.
And it’s an issue that Rosie Batty is now taking up, blasting the court culture and “diabolic” situation which allows abusers access to children.
The domestic violence campaigner has turned her attention to the legal system, saying it’s the leading issue women come to her for help since she lost her son Luke.
The system often failed to recognise the impact of family violence, allowed perpetrators to cross-examine their victims, and left many powerless to protect their kids.
“The problem is not in the Family Law Act – it is in the very culture of the family law system that has the responsibility to apply it,” Ms Batty told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
The former Australian of the Year shared stories of kids forced to spend time with abusive parents, including one who’s started wetting the bed and suffers regular anxiety attacks due to the contact.
Another was left suicidal after spending years fighting court orders to stay with his dad, who was accused of sexual abuse, until he finally gained enough evidence for an apprehended violence order.
“Can you imagine this happening to your child?” Ms Batty said.
The advocate believes it’s not good enough the concerns of abuse survivors are written-off as anxiety or obsession by courts.
She wants a new domestic violence test in cases to determine if it’s appropriate for children to spend time with either parent.
Legislative protections preventing victims from being directly cross-examined by their abuser would also be instituted.
And judges and magistrates would get domestic violence training.
“In a system that depends so heavily on the discretion of individual decision makers, comprehensive training is crucial,” Ms Batty said.To read more click here.
The 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference; Providing the Skills for Change will be held on 5 – 7 December at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.
With an improved focus and awareness on the effect of Domestic and Family Violence within Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association is providing a national unified platform to discuss the strain of Domestic Violence on Australian resources and facilities. Registrations are now open. To register for the Conference CLICK HERE.
With a focus on building skills within the sector, the conference will include discussion and presentations around policy, research and practice with a particular emphasis on innovative and emerging responses.
Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE.