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QLD Child Safety and Domestic Violence Order - Chances of Getting Supervised Visits?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by laurenella, 12 November 2015.

  1. laurenella

    laurenella Member

    12 November 2015
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    I have final court orders that were made in May 2015. My 5 y/o daughter (school aged) lives primarily with me and my partner, and has weekend visitation and half school holidays with her father.

    Recently, she came home with a large finger print bruise on her thigh and a story about how she witnessed her father hit his new partner (they now have a son together too) in the face. She also reports being locked in a living room by his partner to protect her, the police were called etc. She is terrified to go back and cries every time she thinks her father is going to pick her up from school.

    We have been in the family court system since 2013 now.. If I'm being honest, every time we appear in front of a judge, they order 'a slow progression of time' - of which I mean, supervised care initially, to one day unsupervised, working up to a full unsupervised weekend. This was initially implemented because she was injured to a serious degree twice in his care over a month period during unsupervised time which led to my daughter suffering terrible separation anxiety which was affecting her to the point she was losing weight, couldn't be left at childcare, started wetting her pants every day and night, literally couldn't sleep away from me.

    We 'agreed' (he basically threatened me to a trial if I didn't) in May on the final orders. Since then, he emotionally abuses her by telling her that she doesn't belong with me, that I don't love her and that he will pull her out of her school (which she LOVES) and re-enrol her in a school in Brisbane (we live about 50 minutes away from my ex) and that my daughter will start living with him full time from now on.

    More recently, my daughter came home from a weekend there with this horrific bruise and this horrible story of family violence, plus her behaviour declining in school. I took her to her GP to get a mental health plan so she could go back to her psychologist (the same one she previously saw for anxiety) where she disclosed that she witnesses her father hitting his partner often, and the partner is frightened. My daughter is frightened, and my daughter's father barely spends time with her anyway. She also disclosed the abuse she witnessed to her GP and made a statement to police (I was not in the room at the time when she did this) and Child safety are now involved and investigating. She explained to the police, her psychologist and GP that her father had caused this bruise and told her to lie to me about it.

    I wasted no time re-filing back to family court.. (I filed this within 2 weeks of being told of the family violence and seeing the bruise on her thigh). I filed a new initiating application, notice of risk, non-filing for dispute resolution, many affidavits with psychology reports, pictures of her injuries (past as well as the new bruise) and her defiancee record for poor behaviour in school, plus a letter of urgency and I subpoenaed child safety records. New Family court date is now 3 weeks away. I haven't sent her back since either.

    I asked for supervised custody only, once a month at a contact centre.

    I was also encouraged by a free legal service to take out a domestic violence order naming myself and her (he harasses and intimidates me any chance he gets) which I was granted an emergency temporary order. We had a mention for the temporary order a few days ago, where my ex wanted to move it to a hearing.. no problem, that's in February now. I have evidence to support my claims, so I wasn't worried.

    After the mention, I left happy that the magistrate chose to keep the temporary order in place, which named that he couldn't come anywhere near my daughter or me (despite the fact the magistrate knew of the federal orders in place) and bought me time to protect her without fear of him taking her from school.

    He then went and varied the order 3 hours after it was in court for the mention, to try and have my daughter removed off the order (despite the fact I have photographic evidence of a bruise and reports from medical professionals attached to my application, PLUS child safety are now investigating heavily into this too).

    The magistrate ordered a temporary variation immediately basically saying that for now, as long as he complies with the federal ordered times on the consent orders, he's not in breach of anything!
    WHAT THE HELL! So he can rock up to her school as court ordered and take her, even if she's kicking and screaming, terrified of him.

    What are my chances of getting supervised time only between my daughter and her father considering the statements my daughter has made and her literal fear to return to his care?

    Sorry - He has fortnightly visitation from 3pm friday to monday at 9am, not every weekend visitation. Oops
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    The child is five, her disclosures will be compared against a significant volume of other features about the evidence, and given the child's age, it's likely the court will be asking if you have contributed to her fear of spending time with her dad in any way, or if you're taking standard bruising on a five year old and manipulating it to advance it your case such that it may suggest you're unsupportive of the child's relationship with her dad. I'm not saying that's what will happen, but it's an angle the other party may take, and one that is often taken with great success, so just be prepared for that possibility, is all.

    What are the chances of getting supervised time in the interim? Probably reasonable, because the court tends to prefer a better-safe-than-sorry method when they don't have the resources in interim hearings to test the evidence, but as final orders? Depends how persuasive your evidence is. If you're basing it solely off what the child says, the court will likely order a family report, and if the consultant doesn't see in their observations of the relationship between the child and her dad any of the risk that you've reported, then it may be persuasive in convincing the court that supervised time is unnecessary. If you're also intending on including the report from her psychologist, it might support your case further, but the court might also treat it with trepidation if the treating psychologist has not had any engagement with the father.

    Personally, I think you would need more persuasive evidence than just the statements made by your child and the alleged fear of returning to his care.
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