NSW Alcohol and Drugs - Help with Stepchild's Welfare?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


14 October 2019

I need some help.

A bit of background:

I have a 6-year-old child/stepchild whom my partner has equal custody with his stepson's mother. My partner and I also have an 18-month-old together, so it is my stepson's half-sister.

There has been a lot of questionable things happening at the stepson's mum's home in the past 2 years. I’ll cover that later.

Last week, he came over with his iPad, which has photos that his mother took at his request, photos that I don’t believe should have been taken. Can we leave it at that?

My partner and I are obviously distraught. There are also other photos he’s taken of his mum and boyfriend lounged out on the couch ciggies and wine on the table, it’s a trashie scene.

My partner is planning a talk with her to ask for full custody until she sorts herself out but I don’t think she will go for it. in the meantime:

1) Should I keep the iPad and hide it for evidence if needed or with I then be in possession of these disturbing images?

2) Her email is unprotected in the iPad, can we look through this or will this be an offence? I want to see if there’s anything we can use if need be.

2 years ago, she met a much younger guy who parties, I’m sure takes lots of drugs, but no proof, there have been 20-somethings staying over on 6-year-old's eve of 1st day of school. She also takes 6-year-old SS to parties late at night and his social contact when at hers is limited to 20-somethings all smoking, drinking and I’m sure drugs.

She is in her late 30s. He even knows the sign for a bong, which no 6-year-old should know. Very concerned about her judgement.

We have limited proof except for the iPad and some photos she has accidentally sent to my partner of a pipe and weed on her lap. She’s recently deleted all incriminating evidence off her social media as she knows something is up.

Don’t want to call social services as will tear little SS’s life apart and don’t believe he is in immediate danger but I can see things escalating if we don’t do something.

Help? This is messy :(


Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
Accessing her email - I'd do it if I knew I would get away with it...

Being able to use them in court? It might be difficult. But let's do one step at a time.

I hate to say it but what you're talking about is bad parenting. So really you're not gonna get far with DHS / Docs.

Dad can talk to mum, mention that the kid clearly has exposure to some stuff that isn't ok for a child and offer to be a primary carer?

Not much help am I? But look, I've found with my nutter ex - when I tell her I know a bit about what goes on, she usually lies/denies or says it's a one-off. But often I do not see a repeat of the behaviour and all I want is for the crazy stuff to stop... That said, my kids are in my care 80% of the time, so I'm not as worried as I would be if it were a 50/50 set up.