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QLD Ex Claiming Domestic Violence on Son - Deal with False Allegations?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by JessicaJes, 13 May 2015.

  1. JessicaJes

    JessicaJes Member

    13 May 2015
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    Hello, My sister's ex is claiming she is abusing her son and he is now taking it further as my sister has stopped her ex-mother-in-law from seeing her son due to issues between my sister and the ex-mother-in-law. Her ex is claiming he has photos to show bruises and scratches that she has left on her son's body and text messages between them and his mother proving that she smacks their son and uses a wooden spoon.

    Firstly, my sister does not abuse her son; if he is naughty she will smack him from time to time but that is it. There have been bruises and scratches on him (as he is a regular 3 year old boy who plays rough) but nothing to indicate he is being physically abused or domestic violence.

    Is there a chance my sister's ex has a child protection case against her even though these allegations are false? What would he need as proof for this matter to be escalated?
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    Unfortunately, this is a fairly common theme in family law proceedings. Luckily, it's also quite an unsuccessful tactic.

    Until evidence is tested at trial, it remains an allegation, and it takes a significant volume of proof to persuade the court that child abuse is taking place. Put simply, if there is no corroborating evidence from, for example, police, medical practitioners, family consultants, or the Department of Human Services, the allegations will ordinarily be treated with scepticism. Further, it will come down to the credibility of witnesses, as well, which is assessed during cross-examination. A witness who is defensive, aggressive and evasive will appear to the court as less credible than a witness who is honest, composed and thoughtful in response.

    Of course, in interim proceedings, which take place while the evidence remains untested, the court must err on the side of caution and will at times order supervised contact between a parent and child.

    This may not be the outcome, of course. The court may find the allegations too frivolous to act on. Some things that can impact the interim outcome will be things like whether the allegations pre-date proceedings, whether there is any corroborating evidence in the affidavits to support the annexed photographs, whether there have been other reports from third parties about the allegations.

    However, if supervised contact was ordered in the interim, it serves two purposes. First, it's a precautionary step until the evidence can be tested, and second, it will protect your sister from any further allegations being made against her.

    If the court finds the allegations were fabricated, it tends to frown upon the party that fabricated them. On many occasions, particularly in recent years, this has led the court to order on a final basis that a child spend either no time, supervised time, or minimised time with the alleging party. Thus, it's best to avoid fabricating stories to advance a case.

    Likewise, if the court does find evidence of child abuse, it will go to extreme lengths to rehabilitate the parent long before it will oust the parent from the child's life. This can be supervised visits accompanied by psychological assessment or parenting courses or anger management depends on the nature of the beast. It's only if a parent shows no intention to change their behaviour that the court will then make an order for no contact.

    It's of course wise to dispute the allegations in an affidavit, but if there's no corroborating evidence from a third party, then it's probably best to do so without excessive focus. Make the point that the child receives physical discipline when he/she misbehaves but that it is not with unreasonable force. The court recognises that kids get bruises, and also that warring parents will fabricate stories to support their case, but it's up to the other party to prove on the balance of probabilities that the child is being subject to abuse. If the mother is a credible witness, and the father hasn't sought any professional intervention for the abuse of the kids despite it being such a serious allegation, then it may not be seen as probable that the abuse is taking place.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. I'm sorry that your sister is going through this, too. Family law is never easy.
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    T_C likes this.

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