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Forum held over Family Court complaints

By January 24, 2017No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

A virtual forum organised by child protection agency Bravehearts was held across Australia last week, to probe allegations related to the Family Court of Australia made by users and practitioners and gathered by the agency over the past four years.

The four state forum, held in Brisbane, was aimed at collecting on film the accusations of complainants regarding failures of the Family Court. Complainants, whose identities were protected, included a ‘whistleblowing’ Family Court barrister with an apparently lengthy file of allegations against the court.

The forum is part of Bravehearts’ continuing lobbying of the Turnbull Government, in which it seeks to have the Government broaden the terms of reference of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  In December, the founder of Bravehearts, Ms Hetty Johnson, had encouraging discussions with the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. However as yet, he has not made any formal decision regarding bringing the Family court into the frame of reference for the Royal Commission. Bravehearts argues that the Royal Commission already possesses the necessary bureaucratic infrastructure to also examine the Family Court.

Accusations have been made that children are routinely “being released into the custody of sexual predators”, which Bravehearts blames on an allegedly dangerous culture of minimising complaints of abuse aired in the Family Court. One lawyer appearing at the forum claimed the courts have “developed a mind-set where allegations of sexual abuse were almost automatically treated with skepticism, leaving many children at grave risk.”

While the Family Court is tasked with acting in the best interests of children, Bravehearts claims it is failing, saying it is “secretive and extraordinarily powerful institution…simply the most dangerous institute in Australia for children.”

The Family Court of Australia has not yet commented on the issue.



Do you need assistance with a family law matter? Please contact Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.


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