Archive for February, 2011
Finally the world has witnessed the first Government with the courage and insight to recognize and legislate for the criminalization of Parental Alienation. Brazil is the first country in the world to actually enshrine the cursed criminal behavior of Parental Alienation into its criminal code of justice. By so doing, Brazil is now leading the way into facing up to theÂ worldâ€™s human rights responsibilities, which obliges every country to protect the human rights of itâ€™s nationsâ€™ children, by ensuring all their children enjoy a continuing relationship with both of their responsible parents.
First up we speak with Brian Ludmer, Lawyer and Expert on Parental Alienation in Toronto Canada. Brian is a highly credentialed lawyer with expertise in corporate /commercial and securities law and Family Law, most particularly with Parental Alienation.
The advantages of having exposure to both fields is that his commercial background brings a perspective to what Family Law could be or should be when Family Law is often dysfunctional. The understanding promotes negotiations between parents. The difference is that in business the benefits are often shared which may not be the case in Family Law. In Family Law it is often a zero sum with winner takes all instead of the optimal situation of two healthy homes.
Brian has written many papers on PA. He defines PA as a pattern of behaviour or a strategy by an aligned parent leading to a rejection in whole or in part of the other parent. You look at the results to determine if it is mild, moderate or severe. It is sometimes called â€œParental Alienation Syndrome.â€
We then speak with Tamara Brockhausen Psychologist and writer on Parental Alienation from Sao Paolo, Brazil, who is the wife of Judge Elizio Perez, the Brazilian Judge who wrote the worldâ€™s first Law criminalising Parental Alienation from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Tamara kindly volunteered to translates the interview with Judge Perez.
Judge Perez commented that although parental alienation occurs in Brazil as it does in other countries the justice system ignored it until the legislation that he introduced.
The law has been in place in Brazil since August 2010. There is still some resistance in Brazil to even the existence of PA among professionals such as therapists so the Judge sees this as a good thing that the law is in place.
The broader application of the law is that parents who are worried that there may be PA occurring can read the law for themselves and then ask questions. They are worried about the penalties to which they may be exposing themselves.
A good thing about the new law is that PA is set out and defined so Judges can do something without having to wait for a report from Psychologists or other professional experts.
Judge Perez said that the list of symptoms set out in the law came from the professional advisers such as therapists and affected parents. When proved in Court the Judge can impose a fine or one of the other penalties.
The penalties available include uncapped fines. The Judge determines the amount of the fine after taking everything into account including the severity of the alienation and the means of the parents. Fines have ranged from $100 to $1000 a day while the alienation continues. Other remedies include increasing the time with a parent or making it joint. If joint is not possible the Judge can reverse the residence order.
Ever wanted to catch up with the latest news as it relates to fathers, family and child custody, as you wait for an appointment or Â a train, or during some idle time in between the demands of a busy life?
Well now the daily news updates provided by Fathers4Equality can be accessed from the convenience of your iPhone.
Sit back and read up on the latest changes to the laws on divorce, child custody and domestic violence.
Sit back and read up on the escalating rates of female initiated abuse and violence towards men.
Fathers4Equality News now available on the iPhone at f4e.com.au/blog
Sit back and read up on the avalanche of stories of women committing child abuse, mostly women with sole custody of their children.
Sit back and read up on the alarming rise of female sex predators, who all too often get reduced sentences simply because they are women.
Sit back and read up on the criminalization of Malehood by the Gillard Labor government and every State government that have collectively fixed a presumption in law condemning all males as being perpetrators Â of violence, unless proven otherwise.
And when the urge takes you, contribute to the discussion on these news stories, at a click of a button on your iPhone.
So make sure you stay connected and up to date on matters that matter to fathers, now available to you via the convenience of your iPhone.
A DAD who found he was not the biological father of his son, 5, during a custody battle has told of his fight to keep a role in the child’s life.
The Gold Coast real estate agent made legal history when he won shared parental access to the boy two years ago.
He says his love as a father is undimmed. “He’s my son and I love him,” he told The Sunday Mail, speaking about the case for the first time.
But in a twist threatening to cut him off from his son, a prominent businessman was this month identified through a DNA test as the “real” father. The child, now eight, was named in the Federal Magistrates Court only as “S” and his non-biological father given the alias of “Mr Mulvany”.
Other dads routinely go to the court to sever their financial and parental responsibilities for children after finding out they are not the biological father.
But Mr Mulvany demanded and won the right to raise the child, despite knowing he was not the father.
Government figures last week revealed almost 600 men in Australia in the past four years used testing to show they were not biologically related to their children.
It prompted the Men’s Rights Agency to call for mandatory parental testing at birth and sparked a debate about men paying for children who aren’t theirs.
Sole Parents’ Union president Kathleen Swinbourne said relationships were as important as DNA – the key was to put the welfare of children first.
“I don’t think he’s alone. I think there are a number of men out there who are fabulous fathers and no DNA test should be able to take that away from them.”
Mr Mulvany’s wife gave birth to the boy in 2002 after trying to conceive for three months. During custody proceedings in 2007, his estranged wife said he may not be the father and asked him to have a DNA test, which confirmed he was unrelated to his son.
Government figures last week revealed almost 600 men in Australia in the past four years used testing to show they were not biologically related to their children.
But three Family Court judges found in 2009 the boy had a right to a meaningful relationship with the man he’d always known as his father.
The biological father had been a mystery until two weeks ago when Mr Mulvany received a legal letter from a high-profile businessman, who said a DNA test on February 3 confirmed he was the dad.
A COURT has stopped a lesbian mother from moving interstate with her child, ruling her ex-partner had the same rights as biological parents.
The 41-year-old mother had asked the Family Court to grant her sole parental responsibility for the four-year-old girl, conceived via an anonymous sperm donor, noting that her ex-partner was not listed as a parent on the child’s birth certificate.
But Family Court Justice Paul Cronin disagreed ruling that the women “had equal shared responsibility” for the child.
In deciding whether to let the mother relocate the child from Queensland to NSW, Justice Cronin also took into account the girl’s relationship as a sister to the second woman’s eight-year-old daughter.
It was decided the move would not be in the girl’s best interests until she was old enough to understand and maintain a long-distance relationship with her non-biological mother and sister.
The complex case highlighted the difficulties in dealing with separation of homosexual couples who have one or more children with differing biological relationships.
“Much of the judicial history about “relocation” cases has focussed on heterosexual parents where biological connection was clear,” Justice Cronin said in his judgement.
“This case highlights the reality rather than the abstract of a breakdown of a same-sex relationship into which had been born children by artificial conception procedures to two different mothers.”
The court heard the mother and her 39-year-old former partner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were in a committed relationship from January 2002 until early 2008 and lived together in Queensland.
During that time the 39-year-old gave birth to a daughter, now aged 8, via IVF using a friend’s sperm.
Four years later, the 41-year-old woman gave birth to the four-year-old girl, conceived via an anonymous sperm donor.
In ruling the women had shared responsibility for both children, Justice Cronin referred to a November 2008 amendment to the Family Law Act which states that if a woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination and she has a spouse or defacto partner at the time of conception, then they are legally considered to be the second parent of the child regardless of biology.
The law is applicable to both heterosexual and lesbian relationships is only considered not relevant if the woman’s partner actively objected to his or her partner becoming pregnant.
While they lived together as a family, the women both acted as parents to the girls with the children calling one mummy and the other mumma, the court heard.
“There is no doubt that to the extent that they can understand the concept, the children not only love each other but also consider themselves to be sisters,” Justice Cronin said.
“Each child shows love and affection towards their non-biological mother.”
When the couple separated in 2008 each woman took custody of her own biological child, but the girls continued seeing the other parent on alternate weekends and during school holidays.
Almost immediately after the separation, the 41-year-old woman told her former partner of her plan to move with the four-year-old girl to NSW for work and family reasons.
But, following Justice Cronin’s decision, she will be unable to do that until next year.
Justice Cronin ruled that that is when girl, who will then be five-and-a-half, will be old enough to understand her parents separation and be capable of maintaining a relationship with her non-biological mother and sister who she will speak to weekly and visit several times a year.
Justice Cronin referred to a November 2008 amendment to the Family Law Act which states that if a woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination and she has a spouse or defacto partner at the time of conception, then they are legally considered to be the second parent of the child regardless of biology.
University of Sydney Law Professor Patrick Parkinson said the case was an example of “biology being irrelevant” when it comes to Family Law.
“Emotional reality is very different to the legal situation,” he said.
“Where there isn’t a biological connection (between the child and the other parent) it’s very easy to say this is my child, not ours.
“There are no easy answers to these issues.”
Professor Parkinson said there were more cases of homosexual couples with children separating coming before the court system.
“But overall there are still only a small number of children living in families with same sex parents,” he said.
Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis and Attorney General Robert McClelland today announced the endorsement of Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010â€“2022.
The National Plan is a single unified strategy that brings together government efforts to reduce violence against women. The National Plan is the first of its kind to focus so strongly on prevention, including building respectful relationships amongst young people and working to increase gender equality to stop violence from occurring in the first place.
According to Minister Ellis, a recent internet survey has indicated that 98% of all women are victims of violence and abuse from men. She claimed that this internet survey was completed by a women’s shelter and is a real eye opener at the extent of violence faced by women in this country.
Key actions under the National Plan include:
- Supporting local community action to reduce violence against women
- Commitment to support the inclusion of respectful relationships education in phase three of the Australian Curriculum.
- Provision of telephone support for frontline workers such as allied health, child care and paramedics to better assist clients who have experienced violence.
- New programs to stop perpetrators committing acts of violence and national standards for perpetrator programs.
- Establishing a national Centre of Excellence to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to reduce violence against women.
- A Personal Safety Survey and National Community Attitudes Survey to be conducted by the ABC to track the impact of the new action plans every four years.
- Encouraging young people to develop healthy and respectful relationships through the continuation of â€˜The Lineâ€™ campaign and respectful relationships program.
- The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the impact of Commonwealth laws on those experiencing family violence.
Minister Ellis said that the National Plan has been built from an evidence base of new research and extensive consultation with experts and the community, and sets out a framework for action over the next 12 years.
â€œSince April 2009, the Australian Government has committed over $86 million to initiatives under the National Plan, to improve the lives of women who have experienced violence and most importantly to stop violence from occurring,â€ Ms Ellis said.
In response to what efforts the Government has initiated to protect men from domestic abuse and violence, Minister Ellis has confirmed that men are not victims of domestic violence, as her Department has re-defined domestic violence to apply only to women and children.
â€œA national 1800 RESPECT Counselling Service for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault was launched in October 2010. The hotline gives callers access to professional counsellors around the clock.â€
â€œWork is also underway on community activities to support the National Plan, including funding support for sporting codes to establish zero tolerance programs in local clubs.â€
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that domestic violence and sexual assault are the most pervasive forms of violence experienced by women in Australia. He claimed that previous research given to him from women’s groups indicated that one in three women reported to have experienced physical violence in Australia since the age of 15. However new research based on a internet survey which is equally credible to the previous research, claims that 98% of women are victims of physical violence at some point in their lives, from men.
The Attorney-General also confirmed that he rejected the notion that men are ever abused by women in domestic relationships, and rejects the bulk of recent research highlighting that women engage in domestic abuse against men to an equal degree as men.
When queried about the ladette culture of young women engaging in Â sex and violence to a similar degree as young men, as reported by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Attorney-General dismissed the report as media mischief.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that “females are not biologically capable of violence against men or children, so these claims are laughable.”
â€œHowever almost all women are victims of violence instigated by men, and it is time for this to change,â€ Mr McClelland said.
â€œProtecting children and families from harm is a critical issue for the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
â€œTogether with our State and Territory colleagues we are determined to back this commitment with action, and the National Plan sets out our framework for doing this over the next 12 years.
â€œToday we send a clear message that violence by men is totally unacceptable.
â€œThe Governmentâ€™s work to strengthen family violence laws is an important part of this process.
â€œThese reforms have overwhelming community support and the Government is determined to see them implemented.
â€œThe Gillard Government is also working with the States and Territories to develop a national recognition scheme for domestic and family violence orders.
â€œThe scheme will include a national database for orders to assist the enforcement of orders by State and Territory Police.â€œ
Minister Ellis said that under the National Plan the Australian Government would support a series of projects over the next three years to improve services for women victims of domestic violence.
When challenged as to whether these policies are sexist by definition, and contravene the basic principles of equality that Australian law is based on, Minister Ellis stated that “it is not sexist if it is men who are discriminated against.”
She further stated that: “We will also fund the Personal Safety Survey and the National Community Attitudes Survey every four years to track the impact of the National Plan,â€ Ms Ellis said.
â€œWe need to develop a clearer picture of the impact government efforts to reduce violence against women are actually having in the community. We cannot afford to be distracted by complaints of sexism by the perpetrators of violence, or by child abusive men.â€
Studies commissioned by the Australian Government in 2009 also show that in addition to the immeasurable emotional and personal impacts of violence, there is an enormous economic cost.Â Domestic violence and sexual assault perpetrated against women costs the nation $13.6Â billion each year.
Minister Ellis said that it is the responsibility of all Australians to both reject and prevent violence.
â€œThe National Plan is underpinned by the belief that involving all governments and the wider community is pivotal to reducing violence both in the short and longer term,â€ Ms Ellis said.
â€œNo government or group can tackle this problem alone â€“ by working together and challenging the attitudes and behaviours that allow violence to occur, all Australian Governments are saying a very loud â€™noâ€™ to violence.â€
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010â€“2022 is available online at www.fahcsia.gov.au
This article has been endorsed by the Federal government of Australia, and represents the genuine views of Minister Ellis and Attorney-General Robert McClelland, whether they admit it or not.
A father has been forbidden by the Family Court from taking his 11-year-old twin daughters on a holiday to Disneyland because their parent-child relationship could be damaged if the trip did not go well.
The girls were scared of flying, caused in part by watching TV shows such as Air Crash Investigations and had told their mother that they did not want to go to the US.
The father claimed the mother, from whom he is separated, “put the girls up to it” because he had not allowed them to go on a holiday to Bali the previous year, citing security concerns. The parents have joint custody.
“It is my view that the children will enjoy the trip to Disneyland once they are on the aircraft to the US,” he said.
But the court heard the girls were “adamant that they do not wish to go to Disneyland” because it is “too far away” and they did not want to sleep on a plane.
Federal Magistrate Stuart Roberts said that, if the girls were forced to go to Disneyland and during the trip had a bad time or were scared, it might make them resentful of their father, which would be harmful for their long-term relationship.
The girls, who usually spoke using the pronouns “we” and “us”, had been assessed by a court-appointed family consultant as being “warm, happy and friendly” but having “generalised anxiety” about travelling overseas.
“Both girls acknowledge that watching television shows such as Air Crash Investigations make them feel worried about airplane travel,” the consultant found.
One twin was particularly fearful because she has a heart condition.
Their apprehension was probably exacerbated by their father’s “thoughtless” comment that “little blonde haired girls get stolen in Bali” in his reasons for not allowing them to travel to Indonesia with their mother in 2008, Mr Roberts said.
The case came before the court in March last year when the father asked the registrar to force the mother, known by the pseudonym Ms Albelo, to sign the girls’ passport applications and, if she refused, for the court to sign them on her behalf.
Known by the pseudonym Mr Reeds, he admitted the children did not like flying but on a previous flight to Queensland they had been quite happy once on the plane.
They were also booked to fly to Canberra later that year.
Furthermore, he said: “As the children are only 11 years old I say it is my choice as to what activities they should do while they are in my care.”
But Mr Roberts did not agree and said “the children’s concerns about travel to Disneyland are clearly real and should be given appropriate weight”.
Louise Hall is a Herald Court Reporter.
JASON Donovan has betrayed his family to make millions, claims his estranged mother.
Former ABC presenter Sue McIntosh, 63, who hasn’t spoken toÂ Donovan in years, has told Woman’s Day that his biography, Between The Lines: My Story Uncut, has painted an unfair picture of her.
â€œJason and I were finally in a good place and I had thought the past was put to bedÂ - but I was wrong,â€ Ms McIntosh told Woman’s Day.
â€œJason knows the truthÂ - I didnâ€™t abandon him.”
Donovan’s book saysÂ McIntosh left the family four years after she gave birth to Donovan at age 21.
“I couldnâ€™t understand why she had left,” Donovan wrote.
McIntosh, who wasn’t invited to her son’s wedding and heard about her third grandson on the radio,Â told the magazineÂ that Donovan hadÂ twisted the story in favour of his father, Terence Donovan, and didn’t publish her version of events.
â€œHe thinks Iâ€™m a liar, about why I left, and that canâ€™t be resolved until he is totally accepting of the truth,”Â she said.
She said that Donovan had forgotten that she had left a “horrendous situation” with him in tow at age four,Â but that hadÂ asked to return to his father in Melbourne.
McIntosh lostÂ the resultingÂ bitter custody disputeÂ and the pairÂ have not spoken for 35 years.
Ms McIntosh says she found it too distressing to seeÂ Donovan with his father, who she claims was a drinker, so she “simply stepped out of the picture”.
“I was floundering,” she said. “Looking back, I probably wasnâ€™t tough enough and I wish more than anything Iâ€™d had more grit.â€
Donovan’s book, which also details the London-based actor’s relationship with Kylie Minogue and his battle with drugs, was written in secrecy,Â McIntosh said.
“Why my parents couldnâ€™t have put their differences behind them for the sake of their child still remains a mystery to me.â€
The normally private Ms McIntosh claims Donovan paid a family friend to approach her inner circle for more information.
“Privacy is hard won, so it hurts when itâ€™s thrown away without you having any say in it,â€ McIntosh said.
“Jason has taken the dollars and had a good crack at people he does love deep down. I just hope in later years he finds itâ€™s all been worthwhile.â€
Donovan said that he was emotionally scarred by the split.
â€œThe sad truth about divorce, especially an acrimonious one, is that it really does tear people apart, and ultimately, as with all battles, there has to be winners and losers,” he wrote.
“Why my parents couldnâ€™t have put their differences behind them for the sake of their child still remains a mystery to me.â€
Even those of us who have left our teens far behind may still remember the mixture of awkwardness and ambivalence that accompanied our first sexual experience. We all appreciate that â€˜the first timeâ€™ is as likely to be filled with embarrassment as ecstasy. Now an unfortunate 16-year-old girl in Gloucestershire, England has been forced to add a criminal conviction to this potent cocktail.
A 14-year-old boy had sex with the then 15-year-old girl in his bedroom, with two of their friends present. About a week later, the girlâ€™s mother took her to the police station to report this as rape. The incident was thoroughly investigated and the boy was arrested. But inconsistencies began to emerge in the girlâ€™s account. For example, she had claimed that no one else was in the room at the time, leading her to be convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice by making a false allegation of rape.
The harm that the involvement of the law has caused is particularly vivid in this instance, given that the girl and boy still live half a mile away from each other in a small village. According to the Guardian, the girl herself hardly ever goes out, dreading the taunts on the school bus, and her school grades have suffered. The boy still receives threats and abuse which make him fear for his safety, and even the other children who were in the room (one of whom gave evidence against the girl in court) have become more withdrawn. To say that this has caused a rift in a small community is an understatement.
Womenâ€™s rights campaigners have rightly condemned this prosecution. As one feminist blogger put it, the girl may have lied â€˜as a reflection of her shame/embarrassment at the situation, of her emotional trauma and confusion, or any number of other thingsâ€™. But what womenâ€™s rights advocates have failed to acknowledge is that the increasing number of prosecutions for false allegations of rape is the inevitable outcome of their own campaigns…………….
Helen Reece is a reader in law at the London School of Economics
Read the full article at: http://www.ezinenewsarticles.com/rape-law-reforms-are-poisoning-relationships/
USA: A Dane County jury granted $1 million to Dr. Charles and Karen Johnson, who claimed mental health care providers led their daughter to falsely accuse her parents of sexual and physical abuse Sunday.
In 1991, Charlotte Johnson, who opposed the lawsuit, confronted her parents about memories of sexual and physical abuse.
Recovered memory therapy is said to be a controversial approach that therapists use to help patients recover alleged repressed memories.
In 1996, the Johnsons sued Roger Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc and Heartland Counseling Services in Madison. The couple also sued Madison therapist Kay Phillips, Oconomowoc therapists Jeff Hollowell and Tim Reisenauer and the therapists’ insurers, according to court records.
The Johnsons claimed their daughter’s treatment was negligent, caused emotional distress and breached a contract to provide appropriate care.
The jury found Hollowell and Phillips negligent, but Reisenauer was found not negligent. The lawsuit against Rogers Memorial Hospital was settled out of court prior to the verdict.
Johnson’s attorney, William Smoler, of Hausmann-McNally S.C., has argued five cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the past 10 years. These cases have resulted in new laws and rights for people who were the victims of practitioners implanting false memories of childhood abuse, according to Hausmann-McNally’s website.
The verdict came after a two-week trial and 10 hours of deliberation. The case was brought before the Wisconsin Supreme Court twice.
Dr. Charles Johnson is a former Madison physician and Karen Johnson is a former nurse. They currently live in St. Louis.
Published: Monday, January 24, 2011
TWO sets of warring parents forced the courts to decide where their children should start Year 7 this week.
In both cases judges ruled a mother knows best.
In one case a father offered to pay $25,000 a year in fees to send his son to a private Sydney school with his friends rather than send him to the Catholic high school his mother preferred.
And in a pitched battle to rival any schoolyard barney, a mother went behind her ex-husband’s back and enrolled their 12-year-old daughter in a school without telling him when the girl failed to gain entry to a selective high school they both liked.
The Family Court last week dismissed an appeal by a dad to cover expensive school fees provided his son go to a private school where most of his friends were enrolled.
The court heard the couple, who split shortly before the birth of their 11-year-old son, could not reach an agreement.
It was revealed the boy’s father was about $86,000 behind in child support, having never made a payment, and offered to catch up by paying fees for his son to go to private school with his friends so he would not get bullied.
"If the father pays a minimum $25,000 a year for the boy to go to [school] and if you multiply it by five, at least you will be in some [way] compensated for all the financial burden you have carried," the dad’s solicitor told the mum.
The mother argued she was worried their son was falling in with the wrong crowd.
In the end the court upheld a judge’s earlier decision on the grounds the dad’s lacklustre financial support to date meant he was likely to default in covering the tuition costs.
In the other case the Federal Magistrates Court upheld a mother’s decision to go behind her ex’s back and enrol their daughter in an all-girls school instead of a co-educational school they had both agreed on previously.
The legal spat erupted after the mother secretly put her name on a waiting list thinking she would not be accepted.
The ex-husband had concerns over the school’s "reputation" after his daughter told him she did not want to go.
"It was awful. The girls were all stuck up and snobby. They all had their skirts up real short," she told him.
While the court accepted the father’s concerns it found the girl had settled in at the school and because it was closer to her home she should remain enrolled there.
- Richard Noone
- From: The Daily Telegraph
- February 03, 2011