The need for family law reform has been widely discussed over the past year, including by campaigners like child protection advocate organisation Bravehearts, who argue the “broken” system is failing children.
And now Bravehearts’ fight for a federal royal commission into our family law system has received a major boost with the news of an anonymous donation of half a million dollars to help fund its campaign. The funding has come from an anonymous donor who is motivated by a personal struggle with the legal system.
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston says the donation will be used to “help demolish and rebuild” the family court system. Ms Johnston says,“We needed this royal commission yesterday. It’s deadly serious because kids are dying.”
Following two years of research, Bravehearts last year released a report titled “Abbey’s Project” which examined 15 case studies and gathered the views of 320 families and professionals who have experience in the Family Court process.
Based on its report, Bravehearts argues that “lawyers routinely advise that allegations of child sexual assault shouldn’t be raised” for fear of losing custody on the basis of making false allegations or attempting to alienate the accused parent. Ms Johnston argues succeeding in the courts is a case of which parent has the “deepest pockets” to fund litigation. She further argues that children making allegations of abuse are regularly disbelieved.
The criticisms levelled at the “tyrannical” and “broken” family court system by Bravehearts are that it is “the most untransparent, unaccountable and dangerous institution for children in this country”. Among the problems besetting the system are the way the federal system interacts with state authorities, which doesn’t enable sharing of information.
We have asked Bravehearts for a comment on the issue, specifically as to the response (if any) they have received from government to their repeated calls for a royal commission. We’ll keep you posted.
If you need assistance with a family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Cristina Huesch or one of our experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law, on (02) 6223 2400. Your first no-obligation conference is free, so why not let us help you figure out the best way forward.