Children need a real choice and a real voice!
The Inquiry into Family Law now being instigated by the Coalition does not appear to be focused on what’s happening to children in Family Law. It seems set up as a vehicle for Father’s Rights groups to vilify and condemn mothers.
What is desperately needed is first – action on some of the changes recommended by ALRC reports and others to protect children and their protectors and second, a Royal Commission into Children and Family Law.
It is truly sad that after all the years of struggle by people like Rosie Batty and Hetty Johnston we have arrived at a place where the farcical and yet tragic outcome is this Inquiry.
Anyone who has been through the Family Court or who understands what happens to so many innocent children and their protectors through its inability to listen to them will be astounded and angry with this result.
The adversarial system of the Family Court is unable to give children meaningful representation. So-called representation by ICLs (Independent Children's Lawyers) is often a parody and betrayal of their clients' needs.
If the whole process was conducted from the child up rather than the remote judicial officers down, there might be better results for all children involved.
Assessing the welfare, wellbeing, safety and future of children must be done through a child-focused professional group of people (people with empathy and understanding of children) over a period of time in real life circumstances - with mother, father, grandparents etc etc.
A better way of assessing where children are at and their possible future might be some sort of variation on the Family Group conferencing system used by FACS in NSW.
Justice for Children Australia and many other organisations who have children’s real ‘best interests’ at heart have been trying for years to change Family Law to give children a real voice and a real choice in decisions which have such a far reaching and often harmful effect on their lives. We don't believe that the adversarial legal system is the best place for children's welfare, wellbeing, safety and happiness to be decided.
22 September 2019