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NSW Son in Danger - DOCS Not Doing Anything - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Steve1905, 9 September 2015.

  1. Steve1905

    Steve1905 Well-Known Member

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    Hi All,

    I know this is a bit of a read but my son is in danger and I need help. I will be talking to the police about my question below but your help and experience would be greatly appreciated.

    I had my son visit for the first time in since my break up. This has been over 8 months. Family court proceedings have been put back to October.

    A little history so you understand what I'm asking:

    In July my son told me he had been bitten by his mother's partner's Rottweiler when I had been to see him at school. He showed me the puncture wound and told me how it happened. The dog attacked him because he jumped on the owner in the back yard. I reported the attack to the local council ranger and DOCS. DOCS did nothing but say I'm doing the right thing by going to court. The ranger went to the mother who denied the attack and gave consent for my son to be interviewed the next day. When the ranger interviewed him he had changed his story to make out it was an accident. The ranger could not take further action because of my son's story.

    When my son came over this weekend he asked me if the dog is going to get put down. I asked why, is it because the lady talked to you about him attacking you. He said he had been told to change his story because the ranger will kill the dog. The story he told the ranger was from a previous bite that I had not been aware of. He said this bite was an accident while teasing the dog with it's toy. He then showed me both bite marks which have scarred on his leg.

    I have reported this to DOCS and heard nothing back. The woman kept repeating to me there are no family court orders yet so why did you take him back. I took him back because its taken 8 months to see him. His mother has told him to run if he sees me in the school yard because I will snatch him and he will never see her again. I made a promise to my son I would never snatch him and if he visits he would be returned. So I returned him and am leaving my faith in DOCS and the ranger.

    I have spoken to the ranger and she isn't sure if she can re-interview my son and is checking legislation.

    If DOCS and the ranger do nothing I want to get my son out of that environment. I want to get him from school on the upcoming last day of term and send his mother an email that he will be returned at the end of the school holidays providing the dog is gone.

    My questions are: What will the police do with no court orders in place? I was the primary carer for him when in the relationship but that is hard to prove because everything leans towards the mother. Will this damage my case for primary care?

    This is only about the safety of my son and nothing would change if there were no court proceedings. I don't want to upset him but I fear he will be attacked again as the dog has established dominance over my son. If these bites had been to his face it would be all over the news and DOCS would be all over it. He is in danger and I need help.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    This is really a matter better dealt with by the local council than the family court. Report the dog bites to the local council, but they're unlikely to put a family pet down on its first offence, and it's unlikely the court will grant you sole parental responsibility because of the incident with the dog.

    The issue that will be of concern is what the mother did to aid the child following the incident - did she take him to the doctor? Does she tie the dog up to eat? Does she supervise the child when with the dog? If she acted to protect the child against future incidents, the court probably isn't going to see any long-term problems.

    Given you haven't spent time with the child for eight months, though, I am inclined to raise questions around the mother's capacity to support the child's relationship with you.
     
  3. Steve1905

    Steve1905 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks All For Her,

    The local ranger is looking into jurisdiction to see if she can interview my son again. It has bitten him twice now and his safety is my biggest concern. There is a 5mm round scar on his thigh from the puncture wound that will always be there as it was not treated. They just put a band aid over it. He still runs around the yard unsupervised with the dog untethered.

    While he was with me my family didn't probe him about his life with her but he asked some pretty disturbing questions that a 7 year old should not have to think about. I answered them carefully and truthfully which made him very confused as my answers contradicted everything he has been led to believe. He was even told I didn't want to see him or his siblings.

    My first hearings were adjourned because she hasn't bothered to do anything herself and still waiting for legal aid. I got a date set that she has to serve me by but that's still a month away and the next court date is 6 weeks away. I have studied Section 60CC and she is basically operating completely out of those rules and that is the line I will be taking. I'm sure once she gets advice that will turn around to try and appear nice and amicable to the court but as far as I'm concerned over the last 8 months she has shown her true intentions on how my son, my family, her family and I will communicate and see each other. She shouldn't need a lawyer to tell her how to be a mother or how to take my son's best interest into account.

    You have been a great help and a levelling voice for me since I joined here so thank you again.
     
  4. Steve1905

    Steve1905 Well-Known Member

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    The Ranger has since got back to me and stated there is nothing she can do. She can interview him again with me present and if he gives a different account and tells her about both bites she can issue an infringement to the owner. The problem being it will get thrown out by a magistrate as my son would be considered a non reliable witness for giving 2 different accounts of the event.
     
  5. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Once not long ago, a child I know was spending some time with her cousins while her dad was out running errands. While there, she jumped on the back of one of their dogs while he was eating, and he bit her. Although understandably the child was very distressed at the time, she had supervision, nobody was at fault, it was just an accident.

    However, the child's mother rang the council and complained at length about the dog. A full investigation was carried out and a variety of family members had to give statements for the incident, and when the investigation determined the dog was not a continuing threat, the mother became very angry that the dog - still a well-loved family pet - was not going to be put down. Not satisfied with the outcome, the incident was then detailed again at length in the mother's affidavit for parenting proceedings, which painted a dark view that the child had been brutalised by a savage beast, that her father was entirely negligent by allowing the incident to happen, and the child was now 'hysterical' around even small dogs, as though psychologically damaged by this incident. It formed the subject of a 52-page affidavit, complete with photos of the child's dog bite a week after the incident had happened.

    In this case, the court barely blinked an eye. The photographs were waved away and the matter largely ignored, except to say that the father should have taken the child to a doctor when one of the bite marks became infected.

    Why did it take this view? Because it was an accident, and accidents happen to kids, even if their parents have divorced.

    I definitely understand your concerns, but try not to get bogged down in things that are unlikely to have a long-term impact on the child. Realistically, kids get over things quicker than adults do, but that process becomes much harder when their parents make it into a 'thing'. Basically, if it's not a problem for you, it's not a problem for them, so try and keep perspective. :)
     
    DadonaMission likes this.

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