Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More tragedy and denial at West Gate Bridge

A four-year old girl died after being thrown from West Gate Bridge by her father (Melbourne 29 Jan 2009) .

Amazingly the Australian media is not interested in finding out why a father would do that. Most did not even mention the Family Court. Those that did glossed over with oblique references to an “ongoing custody battle.”

In fact the Federal Magistrates Court had ruled the previous day unfairly against the father.

The Federal Magistrates Court should not even have been involved. The matter should have been settled in a Family Relationship Centre backed up by a policy of a Presumption of Equal Parenting.
Surely if you want to understand you would investigate? But the media cowers to outrageous media censorship laws regarding coverage of Family Court system matters.

The Family Court system has blood on its hands once again. Family murders and family murder-suicides will continue as long as we fail to implement a policy of a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time.

This society is in a state of denial.

So what was the real cause of this tragedy?

a) because men are inherently violent (as hardline feminists have been indoctrinatng society for the last 40 years).

b) because the Family Court system is inherently unjust

Society will now try to drug the father in an attempt to prevent his suicide, so they can later him lock him up in jail. But he will suicide anyway.

About time we held an urgent Parliamentry Investigation as to why the Family Court system continues to kill people.


Man arrested after girl thrown from bridge
Posted Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:32am AEDT Updated Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:49pm AEDT

The girl was found in the water under the bridge. (AAP: Andrew Henshaw)
Map: Melbourne 3000

A 35-year-old Hawthorn man has been arrested after a young girl was thrown from the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne.

The girl, believed to be four years old, is in a critical condition in hospital after being dragged from the Yarra River about 9.15am (AEDT).

Police say witnesses reported seeing a man stop his white Landcruiser near the top of the bridge and throw the child over the side.

About 10 minutes later water police pulled the girl from the river near the Scienceworks Technology Museum, close to the Spotswood pumping station.

Paramedics then spent 45 minutes trying to revive her on the riverbank. She suffered life threatening injuries and was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital.

A man, believed to be the girl's father, was later arrested outside the court precinct in the city and is being questioned by police.

Police say he was with two other children, aged six and eight, and was visibly distressed.
Detective Inspector Steve Clark says the two children are with police and the mother of the injured girl has been informed.

"It's a dreadful set of circumstances, and often you think you've seen it all but you haven't," Det Insp Clark said.

"It's particularly distressing obviously for family members but for the witnesses who saw what occurred, a number of those people are upset and I've got a number of police here who have young children themselves, who have had to deal with it."

Police want witnesses to the incident to contact them.

Victorian Premier John Brumby says the incident is a terrible tragedy.

"It's such a horrible thing to happen to the child," he said.

"As a father I think, what are the circumstances that could possibly bring this about?

"I just shuddered when I heard about it, I think every Victorian, you just shudder, you just think, how can that happen?"

Yes indeed - how can that happen? But did you really think about it Premier Brumby?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family Court system - more blood on your hands

David Cass told mother they’re asleep forever as he smothered two children

As soon as I saw the headline I knew what the story was about. The father had been denied equal time with his children, and had murdered them and committed suicide.

Sure enough, when I went to the article, it was a case of family separation, and the father had been upset because he didn’t get to see his children enough.

Note the censorship here. It is about EQUAL TIME. Why not give us the full facts?

The Family Court system in the UK, throughout Europe, in Canada, the US and Australia and New Zealand etc has blood on its hands. Had their Family Law and Policy not been blatantly skewed against fathers, many childrens’ lives would have been saved. And they say they are only interested in the best interests of children? What a farce.

Not to mention the number of fathers and mothers that have also suicided or been murdered in Family Court-driven murder-suicides.

The coroner says "An event of this nature is extraordinarily rare. Certainly I have not had to deal with a similar tragedy in the 15 years I have held this particular role”.

Well it may have been extremely rare for the coroner, but ‘extremely rare’ is a relative term. Unfortunately murder-suicides are all too common (perhaps 100-500 per year in the OECD countries overall).

And they are often not reported in the media or under-reported (the story omits the key facts such as that the murder-suicide followed a separation and a biased ruling by the Family Court). In Australia there are media laws preventing the media from discussing cases in the Family Court.

Family Courts - more blood on your hands!

Get out of the business of deciding on 40:60, 30:70, 33:67, 29:71 time between the parents – very arbitrary rulings by judges who need to keep themselves in business, not to mention protecting a very lucrative and immoral Family Law industry.

Use Family Relationship Centres and Social Workers to resolve disputes where they are backed up by law – a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time.

De-escalate the Family Court system and escalate Family Relationship Centres and unbiased Child Protection Services. Help parents to be good parents. Teach parents that Parental Alienation (eg denigrating the other parent and acting uncooperatively) constitutes serious harm to the mental and emotional wellbeing of children.

The Family Court of Australia says that if the parents cannot cooperate, then the mother must have majority time. Not only does this give incentive for the mother to be uncooperative (and make false or highly exaggerated accusations etc), it does not deal with the main issue of parents acting inappropriately and in a way which harms children.

Occasionally the Family Court will act on extreme cases of parental alienation by reducing the time the offending parent has with the children. This shows that they really do not understand the issue because by restricting time you are punishing the children. What is required is a raft of graded responses:

- warning
- course in good parenting at Family Relationship Centres
- Community Service
- fines
- daytime jail (when not looking after children)

The feminist lobby will use incidents like this as evidence that men are intrinsically violent and that instigating a Presumption of Equal Parenting in Family Law will expose children to more violence.

But the feminist lobby is a hypocritical opportunist movement interested in enhancing the power of women, irrespective of its original philosophy of gender equity.

A Presumption of Equal Parenting will not expose children to more violence - quite the contrary.

If there are accusations or suspicions of child abuse, perpetrated by men or women (and our society mistakenly believes women do not commit child abuse, or perhaps only extremely rarely), they need to investigated thoroughly irrespective of whether parents are together or separated.

Where false accusations have occurred and can be shown to be deliberately misleading, then the perpetrator needs to be punished in some way because the investigations draw resources away from real incidences of child abuse - not to mention unnecessary harm to the accused victim.

In the meantime, the Family Court can reflect on the three deaths it has indirectly caused and the suffering of the mother and other family members for years to come.



David Cass told mother 'they're asleep forever' as he smothered two children
David Cass told the mother of his two children "they're asleep forever" in a phone call just moments after he had smothered them, an inquest has heard.

Cass, 33, killed his daughters Ellie, three, and 14-month-old Isobelle in his caravan in the grounds of the garage where he worked in Southampton, Hants, in September this year.

Just after carrying out the killings, he called his mother Lynn and then the girls' mother and his estranged girlfriend, Kerrie Hughes, 20, to say what he had done.

He then went into a building at Paynes Road Car Sales and hanged himself on September 21 this year.

Southampton Coroner Keith Wiseman recorded verdicts that both girls were unlawfully killed and Mr Cass had committed suicide.

Ms Hughes and her family attended the hearing at Southampton Coroner's Court and left without comment.

The court heard that Mr Cass and Ms Hughes had split in August this year and Mr Cass had been given weekend access to look after the girls, plus time during the week.

But in the days before the killings, Mr Cass grew angry he was not seeing the girls enough and had threatened to kill himself, but never mentioned harming the children.

He told work colleagues he was quitting the garage and he had a plan and they described him as subdued, the hearing was told.

He had also said he wanted to move back into the rented family home, which had caused anxiety with Ms Hughes.

The hearing was told Mr Cass called his mother at 6.22pm and she initially asked if he had taken Ellie and Isobelle back to their home in Fairoak, Hants.

Reading from a statement, Detective Sergeant Glyn White said Mr Cass replied: "No I cannot allow the children to live in the conditions they have to live in. The children have gone to sleep and so am I. I love you Mum."

Just minutes later at 6.26pm he called Ms Hughes and Mr White said Mr Cass told her: "They're asleep."

She replied: "What do you mean asleep? Where are they?"

Mr Cass said: "They're asleep forever."

Ms Hughes: "What do you mean?"

Mr Cass: "Just remember I will always love you." And he put the phone down.

Mr White said a distraught Ms Hughes could not remember everything that was said and told a neighbour, Valerie Fraser, telling her Mr Cass could not live without the children. He had smothered them and he was about to hang himself.

Police eventually went to the garage and broke into the caravan to find the two girls dead on a bed.

Mr Cass was found later hanging in the building.

Post-mortem examinations concluded the two girls had died from smothering and Mr Cass from hanging.

The hearing was told the split between the Mr Cass and his girlfriend had been protracted with both sides calling the police and social services.

Ms Hughes had accused Mr Cass of trying to run her over in 2007 and Mr Cass had called the police over the theft of money.

He also called social services to complain about the state of the house the girls lived in.

In the days before the deaths, social worker Susan Poole had spoken to both parents and described both as being calm and thoughtful. Ms Hughes described her estranged boyfriend as a good father, she told the court.

Mrs Poole described the situation as an ordinary contact with a young family under stress and that she was not anxious about the children.

Giving the verdicts, Mr Wiseman said: "There is no indication or likelihood of harm coming to these children until literally the event itself.

"An event of this nature is extraordinarily rare. Certainly I have not had to deal with a similar tragedy in the 15 years I have held this particular role.

"This was something totally out of the blue. It's impossible to say whether planning lasted more than moments or even seconds.

"No one has provided any information or evidence that suggested this event could have been anticipated in any way at all."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Polygraphs to fast-track

My letter to The Age:

Polygraphs to fast-track
So child abuse claims (Oct 19) are being fast-tracked by the (dinosaur) Family Court system ? I don't call a six-month wait "fast". We are talking about child abuse here. And in many cases we are also talking about parental alienation.

A judge anonymously admits cutting contact between the child and accused parent damages their relationship. Why didn't this judge speak up earlier, and why don't they have the courage to identify themselves ?

In my experience, that only 1-2% of claims are deliberately false is hard to believe. Maybe there is a large percentage of "mistakenly false" ?

Why not offer polygraph testing for those accused so the matter can be potentially dealt with in a matter of days, not months !

Geoff Holland


The Age (Melbourne)
19 October 2007

Child abuse claims get fairer look
By Karen Kissane

The Family Court's new system for dealing with claims of physical or sexual abuse of children is faster and fairer than the previous one but still needs improvement, according to research released today by the court and the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Previously, such cases often took more than 12 months, and it was up to the parent making the allegations to try to prove the case. Often the court's decisions were made in a "factual vacuum" because no independent investigation was made into the claims and judges simply had to decide which parent to believe, the research reported.

But a new system introduced in most parts of Australia from 2003 has led to most cases being decided in just over six months.

Decisions are also better-informed because child-protection agencies now investigate and assess the claims, according to the report Co-operation and Co-ordination: An evaluation of the Family Court of Australia's Magellan case-management model.

The report's author, AIFS researcher Dr Daryl Higgins, said yesterday that protective services now reported to the court on their investigation within six weeks of the allegations being filed. This gave both parents an early sense of the strength of the evidence.

He said the Magellan system was a world-first in terms of the way the court and protective services worked together. This was needed because "it's the court's job to decide parenting matters, not conduct investigations".

Disputes involving child abuse claims are estimated to make up only 2 to 6 per cent of Family Court cases overall but about 23 per cent of hotly contested cases. Earlier research found that allegations considered to be deliberately false were not common (1 to 2 per cent).

This study compared 80 families who went through the new system with 80 families under the old system. The largest group of alleged perpetrators in both was fathers (65 per cent of the new group and 59 per cent of the old), followed by mothers (19 per cent of the new and 26 per cent of the old).

A judge quoted anonymously in the report said that under the old system, cases had always taken a long time to get to hearing and judges had had to err on the side of caution in the meantime, restricting the accused parent's relationship with the child. "The interruption to the relationship … would go on for many, many months or years … In many cases it was found that those allegations were without basis, and the families were left trying to restore a relationship … that had probably been damaged."

The report said earlier research had found that many professionals believed that child-abuse allegations made during family breakdown were not to be taken seriously because they were just another weapon manufactured for use in the marital dispute. Dr Higgins said his study found no such attitude among those working with the Magellan system. His report recommended more training on the system for court staff, lawyers, protective services workers and police, and that the system's approach be applied more consistently.


Cooperation and coordination: An evaluation of the Family Court ofAustralia's Magellan case-management modelBy Daryl Higgins (author)Full Report (1.5MB PDF)http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/magellan/magellan.pdf

Case #001

Case #001 2004-?
Psychologist Simon Kennedy; Registrar Fitzgibbon; Justice Dessau; Justice Peter Young

Separated Sept 2004.

Intervention order sought by my ex-partner and granted. Naturally, no evidence of any wrongdoing, criminal behaviour or threats was supplied. It was a custody strategy.

After a no contact period of five months, psychologist Simon Kennedy "grants" me nine hours a week with children for 12 months (following ridiculous "supervised access" for 6-8 weeks).

Kennedy's report is littered with errors, wild assumptions, sequence of events back to front etc to prop up his assumptions etc. It looked as though he'd whipped it up in 20 minutes.

At no stage during his three reports, has he acknowledged any of the six eye-witness affidavits I supplied. Every other affidavit is detailed as having been read, but not six on my behalf ! Coincidentally, they all vehemently contradict most of his assumptions and premises.

At a second meeting with him six months later, I vented my righteous indignation at his role in removing my children. I also refused to go back for a third appointment.

He predictably marked me down as unstable and "narcissistic" and recommended cutting children's access to their father from 9 hours a week to 9 hours a month.

After reading this rubbish, my ex-partner suddenly stopped handing the children over for their nine hours a week.

At what was meant to be a Final Hearing in Feb 2006, a barrister then said we must combat this report and get another one done. He organized more "family therapy" for 14 days time in my presence in the Family Court.

He presented me with a piece of paper to sign, which stipulated
1. More "therapy" (with psychologist named Papaleo)
2. Anger Management course
3. No contact in the meantime.

I was horrified with what was presented to me but was told it was what the Child Lawyer was insisting upon. The Child Lawyer later denied it and reasoned I could put up with it for another fortnight. Little did I know.

Papaleo then refused to do the therapy and passed us on to someone else who also refused to do it. I think they realized that there was no money to be had from the hapless parents.

Three months later we went back to court to report on progress. There had been none and Child Lawyer said therapy was proving difficult to organize but he'd organized a couple of possibilities.

I had a coffee with him afterwards and he said:
1. He was in favour of access and
2. He was surprised I'd signed the "no contact" clause!

I was shocked to say the least.

He also said he wasn't too fussed who did the therapy. I requested a David Bruce or George Storey but he didn't do anything to contact them. Rather he told me Bruce had retired and wouldn't do it. This was on the same day as Bruce spoke to me personally and assured me he'd do it.

I wasn't too bothered at this stage if we were transferred to the public system as I couldn't afford to pay some expensive private psychologist for a second time after Kennedy had charged exhorbitant fees the first time round.

After six months and still no "therapy" had been organized. I sought new orders. Registrar Fitzgibbon knocked me back, despite the Child Lawyer supporting my application.

Got told to go off and do my Anger Management etc etc. This I did.

I was eventually directed to see a counsellor who'd never done Family Court work before. My ex-partner saw him once and refused to continue. The Child Lawyer later interpreted the breakdown of therapy as due to my non-cooperation!

I sought new orders and this time the Child Lawyer changed his tune and opposed my application.

Once again, Registrar Fitzgibbon knocked me back, this time awarding costs of $2800 to my ex-partner. We went back to court sometime in 2006 only to be told we needed another report!

I refused to see Kennedy again so the Judge (Dessau) shunted us off to a Family Court social worker.

At all these interviews, I was being told my children were terrified of me. Needless to say, they never used to be and I attempted to show them vox pop videos the children had made in my company during their 9 hour regime in 2005. It showed them acting the goat, and taking the piss out of me - a normal everyday occurrence. Strangely enough, no one wanted to look at them.The next Final Hearing was set down for Feb 07.

The social worker's "report" came out and recommended absolutely no contact and insisted I have intensive therapy.

In October 2006 acting on legal advice, I sought out another psychologist familiar with PAS. A legal aid hack read Kennedy's reports and said it would come down to a battle of the "experts" and to enlist mine, which I did.I started seeing Wendy Northey, who informed me I was the third person she'd enlisted as a client as a result of no contact recommendations by Kennedy.
Anyway, she persuaded me to take an MMPI-2 test (industry acknowledged apparently) and amazingly, it showed no grounds for concern.

She did an affidavit, and lodged the results to the court in about December 2006.Come the Final Hearing in February 07, the social worker's wife died and he couldn't appear, so it was adjourned until May 07. I requested it be heard immediately but Justice Peter Young insisted the social worker would need to be cross examined, so he adjourned it until May 07. A request for contact to be resumed in the meantime was refused.

In the meantime, he ordered the three "experts" to get together and see what they could come up with. They could reach no agreement, with the two of them wanting "more therapy" and Wendy Northey saying it was ridiculous. She later told me she found their meeting rather disturbing and that in her opinion it was apparent they were both on some kind of power trip.

The Child Lawyer then wrote his recommendations, saying in his opinion the Final Hearing was a waste of time as the experts "were unanimous" that more therapy was required. Not true but that didn't seem to worry him. In actual fact, the "expert" who tested me, insisted that a hearing was the only solution.

The judge allowed myself and my ex-partner to give evidence-in-chief (gentle questions from own side) and then called in the "experts" for much of the same.

My solicitor was expressly forbidden from cross-examining the psychologist or social worker and yet when my "expert" gave evidence, my ex-partner's barrister tore strips off her.
The Child Barrister at one stage leant over to my solicitor and whispered: "There are your grounds for appeal" over the no-cross examination bit.

The result was that no witnesses were called and there was no Final Hearing. The two court-appointed "experts'" advice was accepted, with the Judge making great play of the fact that in their opinion, there was not a "scintilla" of evidence supporting the existence of PAS.

The judge refused to view the videos made by the children.

He made the quite remarkable comment that: "No one is denying there were some good times, but it is the bad times the mother is worried about."

I was instructed to get more therapy and report back in September 07. I did go and see a therapist once but he refused to bulk bill so I didn't bother pursuing it. In August we were told to go back and see the social worker. I told the social worker what I thought of him.

Needless to say, his next report had the children "wanting to move on", "get closure" and not wanting to see their father. He magnanimously thought I may communicate via letter but the police threaten to prosecute me again for breach of Intervention Orders if I do. In September 07, my ex-partner and Child Lawyer opposed my application for contact - all this without any cross examination of experts or calling of witnesses.

I told the judge that I couldn't afford more "therapy" as they wouldn't bulk bill.He told me to go off and find someone who would bulk bill and get another report done, adjourning the next hearing until March 07.

I pointed out to him that a report had already been done nine months previously.
He made a few remarks about "time moving on, out of date, children's best interests" etc etc and get another one.

I said the only reason time was moving on, was he kept refusing to have a hearing !

I've since been told that no psychologist will bulk bill a Family Report. Between the May and September hearing, I spent four days in jail after being grabbed by the police for watching my son play football.

I received a suspended sentence of one month last week for watching my son play football and later talking to him.

One of the conditions of my "bail" was to be clinically assessed by a particular forensic psychologist. In his assessment, apart from criticising me for being sarcastic and angry, he did mention I didn't need "therapy".

As far as I'm concerned, his letter will suffice for the ordered report for the next Family Court hearing in March 08, by which time my three children won't have seen their father for 26 months.

In a nutshell, three children have lost a father because of my failure to pay obeisance to a psychologist and a social worker.

People, these are the hallmarks of Totalitarianism.

Ideological warriors, with the help of feminists jurisprudence, take it upon themselves to remove blameless fathers from their children's lives.

There is no due process whatsoever.

As Baskerville says, these secret courts are an affront to democratic constitutions and an insult to our countrymen who died defending our freedoms.

It is a judicial reign of terror imposed on law-abiding citizens for ideological reasons.
There can be no justice done by secret courts.

They were used by the French Revolutionaries and also the Communists in Russia in 1917. In fact every totalitarian regime that there ever was, has recourse to secret courts.

It is ridiculous that we should have to lobby politicians to let us see our children.

What right has the state to interfere into the realms of the family? None at all.

The family is the only bulwark against the ravages of the state. Remove the father and the state controls that family.

It all gets back to unwarranted power being assumed by people who shouldn't have this power in a democracy.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

"Killer dads"

Hi All.

My letter to The Age in response to their article "Killer dads - why they do it" Oct 07 http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/10/06/1191091425494.html

I have included the full article below.

I feel sure my letter will not get published.

I feel sure The Age is controlled by feminist editors and that this article is one small jigsaw piece in a conscious, covert and orchestrated feminist campaign to promote the negatve male stereotype in a fear campaign to stymie the movement for equal parenting time.The sexism and denial in this article are apparent. The sexism of the DV campaigns are also obvious.Am I paranoid ?

It is important to note that many many women who identify themselves as feminists support equal parenting time (I know because I have spent months collecting signatures for the F4E Petition, and talking to many women in the process).

But the radical feminists who control feminist/women's organisations and many senior positions in government and the media generally do not.

Cheers, Geoff


The Age
Letters to the Editor

Preventing such murders

It is a shame that while your article emphasised the pathology of "killer dads" (Oct 7) - six per year, you could have also explored the pathology of "killer mums" - 13 a year by your own data.

And when you consider that 15 more children are killed by step-fathers, then it is apparent that children are 467% safer with their natural fathers. Why does the Family Court system then award residency to the mother in 80% of cases ?

More importantly your article didn't even raise the most likely reason for the Farquharson tragedy. Typically a father's chronic anger and frustration is due mainly to his restricted access to his own children, to losing most of his assets, and then being forced to pay Child Support to a mother who is often better off financially than the father (as in this case).

The Family Court system sets the stage for such tragedies.

A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time would dramatically reduce the incidence of suicide and murder associated with family separation, not to mention resolve the need for "custody battles".

Why does the government and media insist on avoiding discussion of this obvious option ?

Geoff Holland
Cairns, Qld

Killer dads – why they do it

Fathers who murder their children exact the ultimate revenge on an estranged partner, writes Karen Kissane.

He is a bottler. He holds in his anger and other emotions. He might seem to be an easy-going, appeasing sort of man but he is what psychologists call "over-controlled", a person whose silent fuming might one day explode into violence.

Add to this a marriage break-up in which he is the spurned partner — and a new partner for his wife before he has adjusted to his changed circumstances — and the rage can fester into vengeful obsession.

"Obsession deprives people of a sense of proportion to such an extent that, in the end, they can countenance their own death and the death of others they love in pursuit of that obsession," says Professor Paul Mullen, psychiatrist and clinical director of Forensicare, the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health.

A man who has become obsessed with revenge against his partner and who is pathologically jealous of her can allow his children to become caught up in his delusions. His feelings about her fidelity can morph into doubts about the paternity of the children.

"Men may become convinced that the children are not theirs, and part of the killing of the children is the acting out of this rage at the (supposed) infidelity, and at being saddled with children who are 'not yours' when in fact they are yours," Mullen says.

The killing is also about destroying the whole relationship and the products of that relationship, he says. And it is payback against the woman who has rejected him, the children's mother.

"Apart from anything else, he's telling her essentially that she's responsible. This is one of the ways they get back: 'Look at what you've made me do."'This might be part of the answer to the question now being asked about Robert Farquharson: How could he do it?

A Supreme Court jury on Friday found that Farquharson deliberately drove his three boys, aged from two to 10, into a dam near Winchelsea on Father's Day 2005. His wife had left him 10 months earlier and had begun a relationship with another man.

Cindy Gambino told the court that her ex-husband had been a good father and was a "softie" who always agreed to do what she wanted over matters such as whether to have another baby.

The court was also told that Farquharson was angry about the break-up, child-support payments and the fact that his former wife had the better car and a new partner. One of his oldest friends said that a couple of months before the killings, Farquharson had spoken of an accident involving the children in which they would die, so that his former wife would suffer for the rest of her life. It would happen on a special day — such as Father's Day — so that she would be tormented every year on the anniversary, he allegedly said.

Farquharson pleaded not guilty. He claimed that he blacked out in a coughing fit and the car veered out of control and into the dam. He is yet to be sentenced, and his lawyer has said he will appeal against the verdict.

Dr Lynne Eccleston, director of the forensic psychology program at Melbourne University, says killing children "is the ultimate harm (angry men) can inflict on the woman that they think has wronged them, for whatever reason. It's a higher order of revenge, because the woman is left alive to deal with the grief — that is his intention.

"She says such men often have a detailed plan that they perfect over a long period, "working up to the time when they will finally take action".

The killings are often related to relationship breakdown. A man who has pre-existing emotional problems and poor coping skills can also become angry because he feels his rights as a father have been taken away.

Forensic psychologist Professor Bob Montgomery, of the University of the Sunshine Coast, says most men who try to kill their children have distorted thinking as a result of severe depression.

They believe they are failures and that they have failed their children. They see no way out other than suicide and taking the children with them so that they are not left to suffer further."In most cases, the guy tries to kill himself as well," he says.

Cases such as Farquharson's are much rarer. "If (a father is) just killing the children and making no attempt on himself, he has a different motivation, like, 'You took my kids away from me — well, I'm going to take my kids away from you,"' Montgomery says.

"That's a very much smaller group. They are sad reflections of the view that children are your possessions, your property, rather than people who have their own rights and interests."

A psychologist who had been treating Farquharson told the court that his depression had seemed to improve.

Montgomery says it is common for deeply depressed people who have decided upon suicide or murder to experience a lift in mood because, in their disordered minds, they believe they have a way out of their problems: "Now I know what to do, I don't feel so bad."

Cases such as Farquharson's arouse intense interest because they seem so rare and so unnatural as to be bizarre. In fact, says Mullen, they are not such an unusual form of homicide: "The commonest form of multiple killing is not serial killing, as you would think from watching the telly. It's family slaying — the man who kills his partner and his children."

It is also not uncommon for such a killer to have previously been viewed as a good parent.

"When you look at the mothers who do this, you often find they were noted by their friends and neighbours to be particularly caring, assiduous parents who spent more time with their children than other parents did."

Ten per cent of all Australian homicides involve children as victims. If the child is under six, the killer is most likely to be in the child's care network, says Ken Polk, professor of criminology at Melbourne University and co-author with Christine Alder of the book Child Victims of Homicide.

The most typical male killer of children is the batterer who attacks a step-child because he finds the child difficult, partly because he does not have reasonable expectations of the child's behaviour for his or her age.

Biological fathers are much less likely to kill their children, but this does happen in an emotional game in which "the child is a pawn — you sacrifice the pawn to get to the main piece, and that's the woman", Polk says.

For every man who goes on to kill, there are many more who carry an angry sense of grievance that makes them want to lash out.

"We get lots of calls from men who are very recently separated and hate the world and are furious at the perceived conspiracy against them," says Danny Blay, manager of No to Violence, the Male Family Violence Prevention Association.

"And we know that women and children are most at risk of violence from their former partner or father during the early stages of an acrimonious separation."

There are lots of men … who, for one reason or another, are in a place where they don't see a way out and are wanting to punish the people who they see as putting them in a predicament, rather than taking at least some responsibility for their predicament themselves and asking why it is that their partner wants to leave, or why they have been denied access to their children."At the same time, Blay says, most men who are violent within their family are mostly good people, aside from this aspect of their behaviour.

"They are not psychopaths. They form intimate relationships and have friends, they are engaged at work, members of the footy club."

In Farquharson's case, he confided his thoughts of murder to an old friend who did not believe he was serious and who is now tormented by what happened. What would Blay's advice be to anyone who finds themselves listening to a friend talking this way?

If a man is seething and looking for support, says Blay, accept his distress and express empathy for it. Ask him about his plans.

"Get them to name what's in their heads and what they are going to do." Has he thought about what he will do with the kids this weekend? What are his feelings for his children and what does he want for their futures — next week, next month, when they are 30?

"Convey to him that you are really concerned about him, his partner and his children. Let him know that you'd like to help him find a better way out of his situation — that there are always better alternatives to violence."

In talking it through, there is an opportunity for the man to realise that his plans are not just a short-term fix to make him feel better, but they will potentially have long-term consequences on the people he loves, and him.

Blay says that if, in talking to the man, you discover that he has developed a detailed plan to hurt anybody, "I would be ringing the police immediately and trying to contact the people who have been threatened. We must always prioritise the safety of people over any personal allegiance or loyalty we have to our friend, relative or client and, at the same time, we would be doing them an enormous favour (to report them)."

For telephone counselling, contact
Men's Referral Service, 9428 2899 or 1800 065 973 (free call).
Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service,1800 015 188.
Lifeline, 13 11 14.

35 children under 15 killed — 11 under 12 months.
92 per cent killed by a family member.
The killer is a parent in 32 out of 34 recorded family relationships.
13 homicides involve the mother killing her child and 21 are committed by male family members.

Only six of these men are custodial parents. Four are non-custodial parents and nine are step-parents of the child victim(s).

Source: Homicide in Australia: 2005-06 National Homicide Monitoring Program Annual Report, by Megan Davies and Jenny Mouzos, Australian Institute of Criminology

Information Kit



This Information Kit has been prepared by Geoff Holland and others of the Equal Parenting Network.

Feedback, including constructive critical arguments are appreciated.

Version 07 Oct 2007

1. What is a “Presumption of Equal Parenting Time” ?
2. 10 Reasons to implement a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time
3. How the current Family Court system is failing children
4. How a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time will benefit children (more reasons)
5. Other benefits of a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time
6. When equal parenting time is not appropriate

1. What is a “Presumption of Equal Parenting Time” ?

A “Presumption of Equal Parenting Time” is a proposed amendment to the Family Law Act 1975 which means that following family separation, parenting time will be equal unless one parent prefers to have less parenting time (and therefore must pay Child Support).

It is a “presumption” which means that if there are strong grounds to demonstrate that equal parenting is not in the best interests of the child, then, following mediation in a Family Relationship Centre, the matter can go to court (the Family Court system) to test those grounds.

2. 10 Reasons to implement a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time

1. Children need both parents.

2. Children have a right to the meaningful involvement of both parents in their lives.

3. Children who do not have meaningful involvement of both parents tend to have lower academic achievement, higher teenage pregnancy rates, higher delinquency rates, substance abuse, eating disorders and incidence of depression.

4. A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time is necessary for the Family Relationship Centres to be able to achieve successful outcomes with separating couples and drastically reduce the numbers who go on to the Family Court system. Without it, the Centres will function as a waiting room.

5. A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time will remove much of the uncertainty which obliges couples to go all the way to the Final Hearing to get a verdict, and which creates more conflict and lasting animosity.

6. The lasting animosity and amplified conflict between separated couples created by the Family Court system damages children for life. A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time can prevent much of this amplified conflict.

7. Children understand fairness and equity from an early age, and research shows they desire that both parents be treated equally.

8. Active involvement of both parents in children’s lives provides more love, more security, more resources, greatest safeguard against abuse (abuse typically happens when one parent has little contact and knowledge of the day-to-day experience of their child), more parental guidance, more active role models, more wisdom and experience.

9. The Family Law Act now guarantees and imposes on parents the right to Equal Responsibility of their children. However, it is not possible to fulfil one’s obligations of Equal Responsibility without adequate time – and adequate time is best ensured with equal time.

10. A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time would significantly downsize the Family Court system which is currently wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars. These funds would be better spent on services (eg expanding Family Relationship Centres) helping parents resolve their differences, changing behaviours, developing the potential of parents, and facilitating better prospects of staying together in healthy, cooperative and loving relationships – which of course would be in the best interests of children.

3. How the current Family Court system is failing children

Children need both parents. The Family Court system has been alienating fathers and non-custodial parents (ie. sometimes mothers) for over three decades with tragic consequences for children.

The Family Court system is a blunt instrument which has caused immeasurable and needless human suffering beyond the pain that comes from family separation.

Successive Federal Governments need to accept responsibility for this tragedy in the same way they need to accept responsibility for the tragedy and shame of the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children when they relocated them away from their rightful parents.

The arrogance of the government, judges and magistrates who believe they know better than the parents as to who should look after the children, persists in the Family Court system today.

We would not expect judges and magistrates to decide who is going to look after the children when couples are together. Why should they assert such a right just because couples have separated ?

The number of families with children that end up separating is rapidly approaching 50%. It is a very common phenomenon.

Amplification of conflict damages children

We must find an alternative to the current adversarial Family Court system because the current system sets parents against each other in a “custody battle” and this amplification of conflict is most harmful to children.

The Family Court system reiterates that it is only acting in the “best interests of the children” but the tragic irony is that in alienating parents and amplifying conflict they are damaging the wellbeing of children.

The Family Court system has little accountability and is prejudiced against both fathers, and non-custodial parents (ie. sometimes mothers). This prejudice and injustice, under the guise of “best interests of the child,” causes much grief and resentment.

Suicide and murder-suicide

The Equal Parenting Network estimates that as many as 100 people (mostly dads) suicide each year as a direct result, and another 200 people (mostly dads) suicide each year as an indirect result, of the injustice and prejudice against fathers, and against non-custodial parents due to the Family Court system and the Child Support Agency regime.

We also estimate that approximately 20 ex-partners and 20 children are murdered each year (mostly as murder-suicides by dads) as a result of the amplified conflict and unfair treatment of fathers and non-custodial parents in the Family Court system. Most of the suicides and murder-suicides we believe were/are preventable, and the Family Court system must bear responsibility for these preventable cases.

It is notable that the statistics for suicides and murder-suicides relating to Family Court cases and the Child Support Agency are either not officially available or have been covered up.

From the dads’ perspective (or sometimes the non-custodial mum), they lose meaningful involvement in their children’s lives, even though they are available and competent to look after them. They typically lose the family home and car, and are then forced to pay high levels of Child Support for the privilege of rarely, or sometimes never, seeing their children.

These factors together with the lies and distortions of truth generated in an adversarial system, not to mention the huge legal fees and the extended period of stress and uncertainty, constitute a powerful driver of suicide and murder-suicide.

The system reduces the chances of any form of reconciliation

The Family Court system is a formal adversarial system. It is a very expensive process, typically costing $20,000-$60,000 for each parent who uses a solicitor and barrister. This is money that should be going toward securing a home and material wellbeing for the children. The current Family Court system is deluded when it says it is acting in the best interests of children.

The Family Court system requires parents to prepare Affidavits. Family Law solicitors often encourage their clients to consider issues that were not previously issues.

Because Family law solicitors see their duty as an advocate to maximise the gains (in terms of residency and material gain) of their client irrespective of the needs of the child or fairness toward the other parent, they regularly broaden the theatre of conflict. They also need to do this to justify their exorbitant fees – typically $400 per hour, and $5,000 a day for a barrister.

In the tension of the formal, expensive, uncertain, and adversarial system which can have a wide range of outcomes depending on the broad discretionary powers (ie. largely unaccountable) of the judge or magistrate, the litigating parents begin to embellish, exaggerate and construct their Affidavits. This leads to outrage by the other parent and a round of Responses to the Affidavits follows. “Truth” becomes selective and loses balance. As they say – truth is the first casualty of war.

Because of the lies and distortions that typically eventuate from a Family Court process due to its adversarial nature, and because of the huge expense, the tension of the process that typically lasts two years before Final Orders are handed down, and because the Final Orders are typically prejudiced against and unnecessarily marginalise one of the parents, the relationship between the parents often becomes so embittered that the chances of some sort of reconciliation in the future has become highly unlikely.

The Family Court system minimises the chances of some sort of friendship reconciliation between the parents, and this is the most damaging aspect with regards to the psychological and emotional wellbeing of the children. The children are now likely to be damaged for life.

Family Court system provides incentive for conflict – does not address problems

The Family Court system currently says “if there is any evidence of conflict between the parents then equal parenting time is not an option.”

This gives incentive for the parent most likely to “win” custody (ie. usually the mum) to generate conflict.

The Family Court system has abrogated its responsibility to ensure parents behave responsibly and appropriately toward each other and toward their children (eg. to refrain from speaking badly about the other parent, known as “parental alienation”).

The response of the Family Court system is to minimise contact of the child to one of the parents (usually the dad). The authorities throw their hands in the air. In the words of one senior Family Court official “we can’t change human behaviour.”

On the contrary, case workers at the Family Relationship Centre must attempt to resolve issues of inappropriate behaviour and parental alienation, and if unsuccessful, they should be referred to the Family Court system where suitable penalties must be imposed such as Community Service, monetary fines, or even daytime jail for chronic offenders. We must address harmful behaviour and attitudes (parental alienation) by parents which are a form of emotional abuse of children.

However, reducing access of children to the offending parent should be a last resort as this penalises the children ! Better to treat the cause rather than apply a bandaid.

Penalising the parent who shows restraint

Another nonsensical policy of the Family Court system is to base residency on precedent. That is, when the case finally reaches the Final Hearing, the judge or magistrate looks at who has been the primary carer, and then awards residency to that parent.

This gives an incentive for couples to fight over residency in the two year lead-up to the Final Hearing (or at least until Interim Orders are granted which can also involve a considerable waiting time).

It means that parents who have been aggressive in maintaining majority residency prior to Orders are rewarded, and parents who have demonstrated restraint for the sake of peace and the sake of their children, are penalised.

We recommend that a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time apply from the moment of family separation, which can be backed up an immediate Recovery of Contact Order (RCO) by the police in the event that one parent is being obstructive.

It is often agued that a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time will put some children at risk.

If children are at risk from one of their parents, reducing contact from 50% to 40%, 30% or even 20% will not remove the danger. By not awarding equal parenting, the Family Court system is not solving problems of children at risk.

If a child is at risk from one of the parents, that situation requires a definitive response from the Child Protection Agency.

The most recent statistics indicate that the Family Court awarded Joint Custody in 2.5% of cases (2000/01) 1.. Equal Custody would have been awarded in only a fraction of 2.5% of cases. Are we suggesting that children were at risk in over 97.5% of these cases ?

1. "Family Court of Australia, Residence and Contact orders - Any Application, For children by outcome 1994-95 to 2000-01"

4. How a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time will benefit children (more reasons)

A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time means that even before couples separate, they will know what the residency arrangements will be for the children (except in special circumstances where there is evidence of abuse). Couples will know this even before they have children. It will come as no surprise.

The Federal Government has set up a network of Family Relationship Centres around the country. This is an excellent initiative provided they are transparent and accountable. They are a recognition that the current Family Court system is seriously flawed. The Family Relationship Centres should have been introduced decades ago.

The idea of the Family Relationship Centres is to provide a free or low-cost service in an informal and friendly environment so professional mediators can assist separating couples in working out the details of their Parenting Plan.

If couples are unable to agree, the matter can then move on to the Family Court system. The mediator will write a report, and include details of whether one or both parents were inflexible or unwilling to negotiate.

We recommend that if a parent has been advised by a Family Relationship Centre mediator that the Family Court system will most likely award equal parenting time, yet they insist on refusing to negotiate, but instead take the matter to the Family Court system, and equal parenting time is then awarded, that parent would be responsible for the other parent’s legal fees as well as court costs.

So the Family Relationship Centres can succeed

The Family Relationship Centres are unlikely to be effective (and anecdotal evidence suggests that the success rate is so far quite low) until they are backed up by a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time, because typically dads want half time with their children and many mums do not accept this (perhaps because they are resentful or for other reasons which do not justify reducing the children’s contact with the dad).

Children have a right to spend maximum time with both parents. The way to express this right is with a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time.

Studies demonstrate that a consistent concern of children going through the experience of family separation is that they want to see their parents being treated equally.

Children who do not have a meaningful role of both parents in their lives are handicapped. Research demonstrates that children in single parent families have higher incidences of teenage pregnancy, lower academic performance, higher drop-out and delinquency rates, as well as higher rates of depression, substance abuse and eating disorders.

With equal parenting, where one parent is deficient in one area, another parent is there to compensate.

Equal parenting time gives each parent a chance to recharge their batteries. They are likely to appreciate more spending quality time with their children during their contact days. Equal parenting time allows both parents a chance to find a balance between work and family life, and also to enjoy their social life.

Equal parenting time means that children can have contact with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles on both sides of their family.

The old argument that mums had custody because the dads are working no longer applies. The Family Court system regularly awards residency to mums who work full time. They have even been known to award residency to fulltime working mothers when the dads were not working or had flexible work arrangements !

More block time
It is often argued that equal parenting time is not good for children because it will involve more handovers and greater instability. But equal parenting time does not have to involve more handovers, and in most cases will require less handovers (for example in the most common pattern of “week-about”). Since the Family Court system has begun allowing children to spend more time with their dads by throwing in an afternoon after school, they have created more instability. Any child psychologist will tell you that children prefer not fragmented time but block time.

Once again, in an effort to hold on to a flawed regime, as well as their own centrality in family separation outcomes, the Family Court system compromises to best interests of children.

“If the judiciary is viewed in part as a business, as Charles Dickens suggested, the family courts’ customers are divorcing mothers who hope to win custody and windfall settlements. The more satisfied customers an enterprise has, the more it prospers. So it is not surprising that family courts are interested in attracting and satisfying customers.”

“The Myth of Deadbeat Dads” Baskerville, Stephen PhD. Liberty p28 June 2002 pp27-32

5. Other benefits of a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time

Downsizing the Child Support Agency
The Child Support regime is also a cause for much bitterness and even suicide in some cases. With a Presumption of Equal Parenting Time, the bitterness of Child Support will simply disappear in most cases.

Also we will save tens of millions of dollars from downsizing the Child Support Agency. It is estimated that it costs the Child Support Agency, ie taxpayers, about $2.00 for every $1.00 recovered by the Child Support Agency from marginalised parents who resist payment on principle.

Naturally, a fair Child Support regime must remain for parents who are not willing to care for their children half the time.

We argue that there be no Child Support obligations where there is equal parenting time, no matter what the respective income of either parent after separation. The reason for this is that it acts as a disincentive for both parents to look for ways to increase their own income, which is not beneficial for the children.

In cases where one parent argues they have limited capacity to generate income because they were looking after the children in the relationship while the other parent developed their career, compensation can be made in terms of division of assets at the time of separation, leaving no open-ended obligations.

Many alienated parents (typically dads) remain on low income or Unemployment Benefits in order to minimise their Child Support payments. This is not beneficial to the children or the national economy.

Many alienated parents (typically dads) skip the country often taking their assets with them as they know that they will lose most of their assets and gain little contact with their children if they stay. There is a huge ex-patriot population living overseas because of the unjust Family Law regime we currently have. Typically when they move overseas they lose all, or virtually all, contact with their children which is detrimental to the children.

This also means a considerable drain of assets out of the country which is a negative for the national economy.

Family Court system bursting at the seams

The Family Court system is bursting at the seams. There are now more Family Court judges and Federal Magistrates than ever before. The typical period of a case going to Final Hearing is two years – two years of posturing by the parents, of uncertainty, tension and stress. Judges and magistrates regularly make mistakes due to the pressure of work. They often make judgements on the run.

The Family Court system costs tens of millions of dollars a year to maintain.

The rate of family separation, when including de facto relationships, is steadily increasing. We need to find a way to assist separating couples resolve their differences quickly, before they have time to ferment and conflict escalates.

Presumption of Equal Parenting Time will downsize the Family Law industry

The Family Court system is to some extent “captured” by a very lucrative billion dollar Family Law industry from which most judges and magistrates originate. The Family Law industry has spent considerable sums of money preparing submissions arguing against sensible reform of Family Law, in order to preserve its prosperous existence.

Family Law solicitors have been known to undermine negotiations at pre-trial conferences.

Limited (and weak) reforms have been introduced in 2005 and 2006 which included the establishment of the Family Relationship Centres. Immediately the Family Law industry lobbied the government to guarantee themselves a slice of the new Family Law mediation industry.

But Family Law solicitors have been trained in adversarial methods and techniques, and not in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, mediation, family psychology and child psychology etc. We believe they should be excluded from such mediation services.

In fact, we believe that all couples must attend a designated Family Relationship Centre before they can enter into the Family Court system. At present couples merely have to assert they have attempted some sort of mediation somewhere.

It is important to restrict pre-Court mediation to the Family Relationship Centres in order to maintain an adequate and consistent level of quality control, and to be able to conduct comprehensive retrospective analyses of their effectiveness.

Allowing Family Law solicitors to conduct pre-Court mediation makes a mockery of the new mediation strategy. Solicitors say they will sign contracts which will bar them from representing either party following mediation, but while this may prevent individual conflict of interest, it does not prevent industry conflict of interest.

Family Law solicitors are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

A Presumption of Equal Parenting Time will allow Family Relationship Centres to achieve successful outcomes and make much of the Family Law industry redundant.

6. When equal parenting time is not appropriate

Reasons why equal parenting time may not apply include
6.1 child abuse
6.2 chronic neglect
6.3 parent has moved away

6.1 Child abuse
In the case of child abuse, sexual child abuse would indicate that the offending parent would have no unsupervised contact, at least until after a long period of monitored rehabilitation.

In the case of physical and emotional abuse, Child Protection officers in conjunction with a case worker from the Family Relationship Centre would determine the severity of the abuse, and make recommendations to the judge or magistrate as to the level of contact. Emphasis would be placed on rehabilitation of the offending parent with the aim of achieving equal parenting.

Child Protection Agencies must investigate allegations of child abuse immediately, whether parents are together or separated. Both parents must be investigated to determine the truth. There must be appropriate penalties in place for false allegations, and of course immediate action to protect children in cases of demonstrated abuse, as well as appropriate penalties for the offending parent. The process of investigation must be transparent and accountable.

We should make polygraph tests / lie-detectors available to parents.

Parents must have recourse to a dedicated Ombudsman for Family Issues.

6.2 Chronic neglect
Child Protection officers in conjunction with a case worker from the Family Relationship Centre would work with the parent in question to achieve a high level of quality care. If after a period of time this has not been achieved, then the presumption of equal parenting time can be withdrawn and contact reduced until such time the parent has demonstrated responsible and adequate parenting skills.

6.3 Parent has moved away
It is not fair on children to expect them to regularly travel long distances between parents’ homes, which increases the risk of car accident. Likewise excessive travel to school is not in the child’s best interests.

If a parent has moved more than half an hour’s drive from where family separation occurred, they must be given the opportunity to move back closer or risk losing the Presumption of Equal Parenting Time.

(If both parents have moved away more than half an hour’s drive from the place where family separation occurred, parents can structure equal parenting on a three-year rotational basis, for example).

Either parent can move half an hour by car away from the point where family separation occurred without forfeiting the Presumption of Equal Parenting Time, so children may be up to one hour’s drive away from the other parent, but still only half an hour’s drive from their school.


This Information Kit has been prepared by Geoff Holland and others of the Equal Parenting Network

Feedback, including constructive critical arguments are appreciated.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

CSA 1950's propaganda

A recent mailout from the Child Support Agency includes the following article:

Me and my family

My name is Stuart and I would like to share my story with you about how my ex-wife and I have managed our relationship since we separated.

As far fetched as it sounds, and despite the circumstances, I have been able to maintain a strong relationship with my two daughters.

My ex-wife and I have a private arrangement for child support payments. After our marriage ended we managed to amicably sort out our financial matters and made a conscious effort to remain friends, for the benefit of our kids.

Four years down the track, we remain good friends and have found a balance, centred on our children. We openly discuss and mutually agree on any changes to our regular child care arrangements.

I know that my children love to come and stay with me and my new partner every second weekend.

As well as the regular child care arrangements, I look after the kids in the school holidays to minimise school holiday care.

[bold added]

The biggest positive of the arrangement is that our children are happy. They can openly talk to either parent and know they will get an equally open and unbiased answer or advice.

I strongly recommend that any parent put aside issues they have with their ex-partners and change the focus to what is better for the children.

If any other separated parents read this and it makes a difference to them and their children, I know sharing this story is well worth the effort.

Next edition: A mum's case study


This sounds as subtle and credible as a page out of a 1950's propaganda leaflet.

A friend of mine who was handed down exactly the same formula as the one recommended above (and they say the system has changed ?) - that is, every second weekend and half the school holidays - ie the same stew they've been dishing out since the 1975 Family Law Act, has been seeing a counsellor to help him deal with his frustrations.

The female counsellor said to him on his most recent visit:

"I don't know why you are still coming along [to counselling]. There is nothing I can do for you until you accept your situation [two days a fortnight]"

This female counsellor is using a mild form of blackmail (conditional counselling) to force her agenda. Another option would be to suggest how my friend could channel his frustration into constructive activism to change a system which extinguishes rights and generates, not averts, confict.

This friend has a son 5yrs old. The school has contacted him to get together with a guidance officer. The impact of conflict is beginning to show in the emotional and psychological wellbeing of his son.

The preventative cost of assigning case workers to situations such as these would be far less than the remedial cost of a boy who grows up a man permanently damaged by chronic passive conflict and parental alienation.

The government and Family Court system do not take preventative measures. On the contrary their policies are harmful to children. In this case the mother is behaving in a way (parental alientation) which is very harmful to the boy.

The father (my friend) could also probably learn something from a course in parental cooperation. A case worker could organise both parents to do such a course - and learn about the harm of passive and chronic conflict and parental alienation on the child, and the statistics of such children ending up in suicide or drug addiction or mental disorders such as depression etc. A case worker could also follow up to make sure the course or courses have had an impact on the behaviour of the parents.

Penalties need to be in place for parents who behave inappropriately.

A Family Court Registrar said to me "we can't change people's behaviour."

The Family Court system throws its hands up in the air unable to respond to inappropriate behaviour. The philosophy is - if there is any conflict, shared parenting is not an option. But can't they see that even if you marginalise the father, the problem is not going to go away? It is no solution. The solution is in respecting rights of both parents, and the rights of the child to both parents, and in EDUCATION as well as a raft of PENALTIES for ongoing inappropriate behaviour.