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Family Court access orders under spotlight

Family Court access orders under spotlight

More than 15, 000 children are being forced into access visits with parents the Family Court sees as violent, The National Council for Children Post-Separation (NCCPS) has estimated.NCCPS…

More than 15, 000 children are being forced into access visits with parents the Family Court sees as violent, The National Council for Children Post-Separation (NCCPS) has estimated.

NCCPS Director Barbara Biggs last week said there was a culture in the Family Court which wrongly presumed that allegations of abuse and violence were false.

"This means parents often come to consent to orders when they fear for their children's safety because parents raising allegations of abuse in this environment [fear it] could mean losing custody of their children," she said.

Chief Justice Diana Bryant told the Sun Herald in May that "tension" existed between what the Family Law Act described as "the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child's parents" and "the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence".

However, Bryant also said at that time that incorrect assumptions were being made that the court was implementing requirements of the act to apply equal shared parental responsibility and time with children. She said statistics showed that only in 15 per cent of litigated cases was there a 50/50 parenting arrangement awarded and that 19 per cent of cases consented to an equally shared arrangement.

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Family Court access orders under spotlight
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