Family Court to consider Emotional Abuse

Editor Note: The below article appeared recently in the Daily Telegraph, but is oddly naive to the new family violence bill, which is probably only days away from being passed by the federal Senate. This bill, when it becomes law, will re-define family violence to include anything that can be subjectively alleged to have caused harm, without the need of objective proof.

This categorically includes emotional violence, but given that the standard of proof has been significantly lowered, it will also include raising of voices, slamming of phones, using profanity and swearing, delusional allegations, confused feelings, dreams, unreasonable anxiety and apprehension, the misunderstanding of language (and body language), and malicious and knowingly false allegations.

All of the above will be considered a form of family abuse, as per the family violence bill, and the family court, will no doubt, as per its robust tradition and as instructed by the federal Attorney General, Robert McClelland, ensure that the decision of who did what will follow strict gender lines, in other words, when in doubt, always blame the Male.

Ironically, the unjustified witholding of a child from the father (as in most cases), or the alienation of the child against the father, will no longer be considered a form of abuse, as per the instructions of the Gillard government who have removed penalties against Parental Alienation from the family law act, as well as removing penalties against the making of knowingly false allegations.


blind-justice-emotional-abuse-in-family-courtThe Family Court probably has no choice but to include a greater appreciation and understanding of emotional violence in its rulings, but that plainly doesn’t mean such a course will be easy.

For obvious reasons, Family Court disputes are among the most complicated dealt with by the Australian judicial system.

These cases are invariably rife with emotional complexities even before they arrive in the court, which adds yet more difficulties.

The tasks of judges in these instances are not to be envied.

And matters may be set for yet more difficulties, with moves to consider at greater length the roles of emotional abuse, intimidation and using earnings as a weapon in settling child custody disputes.

Nobody disputes that emotional abuse is an important issue and can be extraordinarily destructive in a relationship.

It is indeed possible to agree that in many cases emotional abuse may even be more harmful than physical abuse. The problem comes when such matters are brought before a court and subject to claims of proof. While physical evidence of abuse is relatively obvious and may be easily traced to a cause, emotional abuse is, by its very nature, concealed.

This makes it at once extremely damaging but also far more difficult to prove.

There are also issues of precedent that could well emerge. If it is established in one case that a certain pattern of behaviour amounted to abuse, then it is likely that subsequent trials will follow that precedent – even if a claimant’s level of trauma in response to similar behaviour is completely different.

The Family Court probably has no choice but to include a greater appreciation and understanding of emotional violence in its rulings, but that plainly doesn’t mean such a course will be easy. The court and its judges will be working even harder under these new structures than ever before.

The Daily Telegraph



If you enjoyed this article, Get email updates (It’s Free)

Other Related Articles:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider to leave a comment or subscribe to the feed and get future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  • new games jar says:

    First of all I want to say excellent blog! I had a
    quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.

    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior
    to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?
    Many thanks!


  • Scott says:

    use what you have – the new definition of Family violence encompasses a threat to withhold children, to make you pay, etc

    file a form 4 – after all there are now no penalties for false allegations – what have you got to lose?


  • Simon says:

    The article looks like it was written by the Family Courst PR department.


  • Family Lawyer Sydney says:

    This kind of problem is everywhere even in United


  • suriver of domestic violence says:

    my children and i are all been victims of violence i have three children two are not my xs they all have a disability because of my xs how can you say that proof is a lie my xs breached three avos one he tried too kill our child and myself the other i was raped and bashed in front of my children how do you all sleep at night knowing that children are being abused raped and tortured yes some mothers can be abusive but men out weigh that there are many good fathers out there that love there children but the catch is they still have a friendship with there xs wife for it too work shared care only works when the children are not or have been exposed too abuse so before you all put hundreds of abused children including my child in further danger of being murdered stop and think who should be protected here the child or your wallet, this is not about how mum or dad feels this is about the safety and well being of every child in this country we call Australia including children that are being abused at church the schools ect not just the home so spare a thought for your child hate gets no where in this life love your children by listening too there wishes not forcing yours on them if they love you then you have nothing too fear


    Wander Reply:

    Well on the other hand how can YOU sleep at night knowing there are THOUSANDS of great, decent men being driven to suicide because of what they are subjected to post separation?
    Why is it that one parent should be subjected to the almost literal loss of any meaningful contact with their kids, whilst having the double blow of being completely and utterly financially hobbled?
    Then to have people like you accuse them of just thinking of their wallet?
    Well excuse me for admitting well YES thats the ONLY thing I think of after my wife left me because now it’s ALWAYS EMPTY.
    I go two places in my life….my workplace and my home.
    I dont see my kids through no fault of my own. I would have them every single day if I could….my relationship with my kids are now reduced to thoughts of pain and emptiness that I try to block out!!!!
    I have no money to socialize or even wipe myself out with booze.
    My only reason to exist is to pay bills and get hounded when I cant keep up.
    I sit every night on my couch in the same position staring at the walls wondering why.
    I can see why the piece of shit that beat you up in your relationship could be deserving of a torturous existence…but what did I do to deserve this?
    I was never violent, always faithful and a good provider. One day out of the blue I was left by myself without reason.
    I can understand why you are fearful and upset I really do…I can happily try and put myself in someone else shows and think what it would be like on the other side. But dont judge me as a selfish prick only thinking of my wallet when you obliviously havnt for one second even thought about what decent men go through in this living nightmare of divorce and separation.
    Suicide is responsible for 80% of all male deaths 18-40…yeah we do it for our wallets.


    surviver of domestic violence Reply:

    if fathers are Suicidel then they are not fit too have access


    kyle Reply:

    If you beleive they are not “fit’ to see their children then you should
    1. have not brought these children into the world to be effectively STOLEN for yourself.
    2. should not talk to men as you have no concept of what it is to be a MAN and a FATHER. Generally, we are caring and supportive and hard working. Most of all we LOVE.

    Roger from Queanbeyan Reply:

    So what your saying is, because women are not suicdel, they are better parents than men. Yeh right !!!

    melanie Reply:

    Hi Wander,

    My heart goes out to you. I know what you are going through as my brother is going through the same thing. His X has trumped up a heap of false lies about him and she holds all the power. He cant even see his child without a supervisor yet he has done nothing to her or his X. She questions her daughter after every visit and broods about not getting her own way if he doesnt change the visit day to suit her. He is a shadow of how he use to be and has for years been emotionally abused and suffers depression. She has openly said in email that her and her daughter are moving on with their lives which is fine for her but her daughter still has a father who loves her unconditionally. His X tells anyone that will listen that he is an alcolholic. He is not an alcoholic and has never been abusive. He never goes out he only works. She stripped his bank accounts before she left and even took his bank statements. Dads need more support and courts should give 50/50 until proven otherwise. Women should not have the power that they have. It should be equal, not men having to fight for what should be their rights. We have a society of young people running amok due to not having males in their lives. Its time to change this destruction.


    Phillip Reply:

    each case must turn on its own facts. Turns out my estranged wife told a friend she was thinking of leaving me because of $, she is blowing tens of thousands on lawyers to stop me seeing our daughter. Yes I shook my 10 year old daughter for 1-2 seconds, (she told me to shut up) when I was just recovering from cancer operation. Wife admits i have never laid a finger on her but because I also shook daughter 61/2 years ago when turns out wife hadn’t fed child (it was 8p.m. at night) I just got home after working about 13 hour day I am violent & dangerous. Fed Magistrate agrees – I can’t believe how biased the court is & I am a lawyer.!
    The rules of evidence don’t apply unti final hearing which is years away.
    Meanwhile by then you are broke,worn out havn’t seen your child & she thinks she will get all of whats left – whcih will be very little.
    System is a joke.
    I am ADD & Dr says no reason I shouldn’t see my daughter as I am (back on ritalin & )not a violent man. Court couldn’t care less what the specialist says. Wife just makes up lies, calls police on a regular basis trying to get me arrested. Latest tactic is to have another matter at the Local Court, I am not served & court makes order in my absence so I can’t sms my daughter! Well I just got served after the hearing – lets see if I get Justice when the court is informed I wasn’t even aware of the latest claim.
    i can understand why the man demonstrated at the Harbour Bridge. The magistrate had no right to tell him to stay away from his children – that magistrate was dealing only with the Bridge issue & had no jurisdiction.


    Ian Mack Reply:

    You say you are a lawyer but your knowledge of the law and Court practice does not support this, are you in corporate or some other law that has shielded you from the Court injustices caused on the Common Person by the instruments of the Court being the judiciary?

    Sorry I am digressed by other Family Law issues being presented here in my home by another but will come back later if you want me to.


    Ian Mack Reply:

    Suriver of domestic violence,

    I am sorry you and your children are in the minority of people or should I say families who are subjects of such dysfunctional behaviour.

    Please remember you are not alone, others, both male and female go through what you say you and your children have gone through similar if not the same.

    Yes, it sounds like your case is an extreme and I am sorry for that.

    A female friend of mine has been hit with a hammer and a male friend has been knocked out leaving him with 2 black eyes that took more than 2 weeks to clear.
    My son had a rope burn mark around his throat from his mother and that same woman almost strangled her neighbours’ daughter aged 12 or 13yrs who could not talk for about 10 days afterward.

    No, you are not alone and it is not always men who do the wrong.


    survivor of a mentally ill mother to my children Reply:

    No amount of domestic violence is a match to being alienated from your children. I haven’t seen my kids for over 20 months and I don’t know when I will see them. All because their mentally ill mother.


    survivor of a mentally ill mother to my children Reply:

    Domestic violence for women is simple to deal with in this day and age – you walk away from it.

    Parental alienation for men is not as simple to deal with in this day and age – simply because there is no solution to it.

    This country needs to grow up and put its priorities in the right place.


  • L&L says:

    The point of the family law amendments is to protect children and their non perpetrating parents from abuse. It is not about keeping loving fathers from their children. Even when children are under threat every opportunity will still be given to both parents to have safe access to their children. Shared parenting is still a highlighted factor in the amendments. However safety is a priority. What society wouldn’t want safety for children first, then ensure that parents who have been abusive get safe access and support to look at their behaviour. Many parents are not abusive and shared parenting works well. It is a problem for abused kids though. This isn’t about mums and dads – men or women it is about people who abuse and the right of children to be safe.


    Ian Mack Reply:

    I agree in the principals of what you say but the practice does not support the principals you and I support.

    That is, most people who do not end up in Court Hearings also support what you and I say.

    But those who do go to Court, curtain judges and moreover certain lawyers cause the opposite to occur.

    Like the Qld judge who took 2 daughters off a father and gave them to a priest of a conflicting religion that caused 1 of those daughters to attempt self harm then suicide after saying the father was a better parent other than BY NOT causing the children to go to the abusive mother.

    Like the judge citied in a Writ of Certiorari application, I am assisting in, for: concealment of a mothers lies in the Court, the mothers fabricated photographic evidence the mother has admitted she caused the damage photographed, and concealment of police evidence.

    Like the judge who aided and abetted my ex to fabricate evidence, fabricated evidence ON MY EX’S BEHALF, and threatened to badger my mother if she gave evidence that did not support my ex.

    The point of the Family Law amendments is only supported by those who have not been given the backhand of a judge for challenging the FamCA priority of protecting mothers and concealment of the abuse of mothers on their children and the fathers of those children.

    L&L take off your blinkers and see the FamCA for what it is.

    Apologise to the half of the Honest and Honourable Judges of the FamCA but you are tarred by the DISHONOURABLE BRUSH of the CJ and the other half who are other than Honourable.


    melanie Reply:

    it states non perpetrating parent. does that mean the other is perpetrating? What if neither are but one says the other is…This is what men complain about and needs to be dealt with. Made up stories that make one a perpetrator and the other not…Both should be considered non perpetrating until prove otherwise. And if one parent makes false accusations they should be held accountable which is not presently done and the new amendments will make it easier for one to lie against the other.


  • Roscoe says:

    This week the Courier Mail (Qld) ran the results of a supposedly-international survey with reference to spanking a child. While the majority of the replies to the article supported spanking, I would like to warn fathers in a deteriorating relationship to watch their step in this matter. Many women postpone punishment ’till your father comes home’ so that men finish up being the ogre. Can you imagine how much ammunition this gives a woman in a breakup–’Oh, he always beat the kids’. So, boys, try to get your honey to do her share of spanking. Even a few pix might come in handy if the going gets rough.


    Ian Mack Reply:

    In regard to spanking a child, what I have seen and heard more often is the mother has spanked the child and the child in effect laughed at the mother because her spanks were not as hard as dads.

    But I agree, woman do also use the father as an Ogre figure to emotionally punish the child by the thought the child is going to be punished more harshly by dad, a second time, for the single mister meaner.

    You should have seen the NZ adds about the NZ No Smacking Laws, 75+% of the examples were of woman committing an offence against the NZ No Smacking Laws.


    L&L Reply:

    Or let’s all just agree to stop spanking kids. There are other much more positive ways of setting boundaries. Personally, if I do something someone doesn’t like or make a mistake or mess up, I like to be told about it – not hit! It can never be a good example for our kids to hit them. When they enter the school yard and to the same to a person in the play ground who may have done something wrong to them and they hit them – they are in big trouble! Let’s teach our kids to behave as we’d like them to do in the world by role modelling respectful ways of dealing with inappropriate behaviour.


    Scott Reply:

    You will change your opinion when you have children – sometimes the only thing that works is to smack a child.

    You also need to be careful about how you approach this issue – smacking a child is referenced in the bible, we know the effects of doing it – But raising a child without smacking has never been scientifically investigated – it is just a theory…

    What people such as your self are suggesting is that we take an unproven, untested theory and apply it to raising the next generation – this matches the dictionary definition of experiment.

    BUT – the international treaty on children makes not only experimenting on children an offense, but advocating for such experiments…


  • Yanta says:

    I don’t think any part of family law, social security or any support or welfare agency comprehends the fact that women are far more emotionally, psychgologically and economically abusive then men ever will be.

    As far as these groups are concerned it is not possible to emotioally, psychologically or economically abuse a male. Ergo, all decisions will be against the male.

    This is clearly a move to demonise and persecute men, and nothing more. There is no intent to protect children, if there was they would be making sure more men had meaninful, if not sole, care of their children.

    As for sending stuff around; I’ve already had several people complain to me about the stuff that I send them. Seems many males just don’t want to know about whats really going on.

    Women say “When women stick together, women win”. It’s about time men started sticking together, but we need an effective way of getting the message around, which is difficult with the media squashing all communications, and the government refusing to provide funding on an equitable basis.


  • Old Tom says:

    This is fine by me. I’ve got enough evidence of emotional violence against my ex to sink a ship….or is it only emotional violence if a male slams a phone or makes delusional allegations?


  • Greg Canning says:

    Have already written to Juliar and Khate Ellis, on this , got the typical feminazi propaganda reply. Will keep trying , but really our only hope is to get rid of this government, the bill cannot be stopped in the senate now as I understand it? – we should be asking Australians for a no confidence vote in this government and a new election – probably more people are pissed off about the carbon tax , so this could get more action.


  • Steve says:

    Australian Kids need your support more than ever.

    We need to show numbers, join up, register now, send this link on to everyone you know, mates, family, friends … Send this to your member of parliment and every other member you can now before it’s to late…


Leave Comment


Subscribe to Fathers4Equality Email for Updates