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WA Full Custody or Parental Responsibility for Child Protection?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Gudguhrl, 1 June 2015.

  1. Gudguhrl

    Gudguhrl Active Member

    13 September 2014
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    My husband and I wanted to have his daughter turning 9 this October 2015, for good since she was sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend cousin (the guy got charged and will go to court soon). We would like to know and get advice on what will happen and steps.

    Since then, the mother is fighting and will fight for her daughter she said and my husband and I will fight too. We are worried for her safety (daughter) since what happened. And it happened under the mother's care in her house and didn't know what is going on with her daughter and let other visitor to sleep over.

    Plus the mother keeps talking to the daughter on the phone we didn't know what they are talking and after that daughter doesn't want to come with that to come home and wants to stay with mum so our world is shattered we want her safe and her mum might be telling her things. What age can they choose to?

    Plus the mother said that the daughter wants to stay with her and it's her words not mine. In case that we would like to get the daughter and daughter and mum doesn't like but we are doing this for her safety what can we do? Shall we call the police or child protection department etc?
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    First, let me say that I completely understand your position. Parenting matters are difficult at the best of times, and doubly so when a child has been sexually abused.

    However, it's also important not to blame the mother for what happened. The only person responsible for what happened is the person who committed the crime. It's a mistake to argue that you're somehow more concerned for the child's safety than the mother, or that you're more capable of knowing when someone's partner's cousin is a sexual predator, and it's a mistake to suggest the mother is not just as traumatised as you by the incident. That is her daughter, after all.

    At the end of the day, it's the child's needs that must take priority, and what the child needs right now is the love and support of her family. What she doesn't need is to be at the centre of a tug-o-war custody battle where she's asked to choose her loyalties.

    I doubt the father would win sole parental responsibility or residency simply because the mother is dating a person who has the misfortune of being related to a criminal. Further, it's important to understand that an attempt to eavesdrop on phone conversations between the mother and daughter may paint you in a negative light. At 9 years of age, as well, the child's opinion about the situation would likely be given some weight, though it's not until a child turns 12 that the court will give more weight to their opinion than most other provisions of section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975. If the child is settled in her residence with her mother and there are no concerns for her care, welfare and development, the court would be unlikely to order a change of residence as it would disrupt her routine.

    If the father wants to pursue proceedings, however, the first step is family dispute resolution to try and reach agreement. If agreement can't be reached and mediator issues a section 60I certificate, then he can file an initiating application to the court for parenting orders. The court will only make orders deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

    I hope this provides some clarity about the situation.
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