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Statistical Evidence: Gumshoe’s Family Court Survey

Type of protection : Granting release
This article contains the replies to the survey that I conducted from November 5 to December 16, 2018.  What I was seeking to find is an explanation for the anecdotal reports of unfathomable behavior by the authorities regarding the removal of a child from an apparently good parent.

I was hoping to make some sense of the oft-heard complaint that even where there is good evidence of child abuse, the Family Court orders the child to be placed with the abuser, or in foster care.

In this article I will not offer my own analysis of the answers, but will do that separately, later. (I wrote four articles in 2018 analyzing the data of the Family Court Survey in November and December. They are: Part 1: Would You Throw Away $750,000 for a False Allegation?; Part 2: A Numbers Game — The Believers vs Non-Believers and the Spineless; Part 3: Threats to the Protector for Telling the Truth; and Part 4: Criminal Actions and the Destruction of Evidence.)

Let me anticipate a criticism of the survey – namely, that the manner in which parents were recruited to fill out the questionnaire was not scientific. That is true. I posted the questionnaire on the Internet and anyone who wished to answer it could do so (a free version through Surveyhero).

The questionnaire was posted on GumshoeNews.com, of which I am the editor. We had already published negative critiques of Australia’s Family Court. So it is likely that the word got passed around to parents who had had a bad experience with the Court. If I had been able to reach all Australians who have had a case in the Family Court, the universe would presumably include many persons who found it to be satisfactory. I ask that you interpret it as a survey of dissatisfied parents. (E.g., like those thousands of victims who presented to the Royal Commission about child abuse.)

So what value does it have? Is it merely a whinge?  No.  As you will see, the particular answers to my questions are enlightening, and often surprising, in showing which groups of people tend to believe a child’s allegations, which groups have a history of suppressing evidence, and so forth. It clearly reveal patterns.

A second anticipated criticism of this survey is a technical one. The survey’s final report is from 78 responders — but a few of the early questions show more than that. I think the problem may have occurred that one could not save and return later. So if someone started to reply and then they crashed out, they had to start again.

Statistics

You can judge for yourself what these statistics mean. But from the written answers (not included here), it is abundantly clear that these are genuine and serious cases.

  1. The first question identified who responded to the Survey. They were 70 Protective Mothers, 4 Protective Fathers, 7 Grandparents (or Aunt/Uncle), and 2 Victims over eighteen. [This question had been answered more than 78 times, which I have attributed to re-starts.]

2. How old was your child when you realised that SEXUAL ABUSE (or a serious injury) occurred? Number of responses: [79 responded to this question]

  • Less than 2 years: 11x chosen (13.92%)
  • 2 – 4 years: 33x chosen (41.77%)
  • 5 – 8 years: 27x chosen (34.18%)
  • 9 – 12 years: 7x chosen (8.86%)
  • Older than 12 years: 1x chosen (1.27%)

3. Who was the first person the child disclosed sexual abuse to? Number of responses: [75]

  • Mother or Father: 60x chosen (80.00%)
  • Grandparent: 5x chosen (6.67%)
  • Teacher, school counselor, etc: 3x chosen (4.00%)
  • Someone else: 7x chosen (9.33%)

4. Who did you contact once you realised there had been abuse?  Number of responses: [77, These were multiple choice questions, and the responder was invited to tick more than one box, e.g., MC]

  • Family (40)
  • The police (41)
  • My doctor, the hospital (34)
  • Child Protection Services (48)
  • Other (27)

5. When you confronted the perpetrator about the abuse, did they do any of the following? [77, MC]

  • Deny the allegations (60)
  • Threaten with violence (24)
  • Advance proceedings into Family Court (34)
  • Call me delusional, resulting in me having to undergo mental health health assessments (37)
  • Other (17)

Believing the child:

6. How many people [the number] has your child disclosed to so far? In most cases the child had disclosed to many people.

11, 8, 2, 3, 4 or 5, 1, 20, 13, Only me, 2, 1, 3, 5, 2, 1, 10+, Minimum dozen people, 6, dozens, approx 20 re sexual abuse and 30 plus re physical abuse, 4, 6, 4-5, 8, 5, 6+, Four, 5, 10, 10, Three, 3, 4, more than 10, 3, 3 generations family + doctor, [Because child would not go into formal interview room alone with JIRT staff, case was closed, child was 3yrs old.] 5, Three, 6, At least 10 people, 6, 7, 7, 11, 5, Grandmother and me, to school friends also, 5, 2, 15, 9, I don’t know apart 2, 9, 6, 10, fourteen people, 10, To many to count, 3, Grandchild disclosed witnessing the oral sex to more than 10 people and assaults to 23+, 7, 1, Qld police child protection, 3, 4, 10, At least 15, 7+, 6.

7. Who DID believe your child?  Did someone (even one person) from the categories below believe your child? [71] [MC]

  • Members of my family (58)
  • Anyone in the police, detective etc (21)
  • Child Protective Service Officers (15)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (12)
  • A doctor, nurse, medical personnel (29)
  • Court reporters, supervision services (3)
  • ICL, independent child lawyer (2)
  • Your psychologist/psychiatrist (41)
  • Court appointed experts (6)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (3)
  • The judge (the court) (2)
  • Other (20)

8. Who did NOT believe your child?   Did someone (even one person) from the categories below not believe your child? [71] [MC]

  • Members of my family (11)
  • Anyone in the police, detective etc (38)
  • Child Protective Service Officers (38)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (21)
  • A doctor, nurse, medical personnel (6)
  • Court reporters, supervision services (40)
  • ICL, independent child lawyer (47)
  • Your psychologist/psychiatrist (2)
  • Court appointed experts (40)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (23)
  • The judge (the court) (49)
  • Other (12)

9. Who DID BELIEVE your child — but was/were PREVENTED from speaking or testifying in any way? [63]  [MC]

  • Members of my family (43)
  • Anyone in the police, detective etc (7)
  • Child Protective Service Officers (8)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (10)
  • A doctor, nurse, medical personnel (19)
  • Court reporters, supervision services (0)
  • ICL, independent child lawyer (1)
  • Your psychologist/psychiatrist (22)
  • Court appointed experts (0)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (1)
  • Other (16)

10. Who DID BELIEVE your child — but did NOTHING TO ASSIST? [53]  [MC]

  • Members of my family (12)
  • Anyone in the police, detective etc (23)
  • Child Protective Service Officers (20)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (10)
  • A doctor, nurse, medical personnel (12)
  • Court reporters, supervision services (6)
  • ICL, independent child lawyer (7)
  • Your psychologist/psychiatrist (7)
  • Court appointed experts (9)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (4)
  • The judge (the court) (9)
  • Other (10)

11. In what State do you live, and where did this happen?

  • NSW – 28
  • VIC – 11
  • QLD – 20
  • SA – 6
  • WA – 8
  • TAS – 3
  • NT – 0
  1. And it was spread across the country. There were no clusters. This problem is Australia-wide. The cities and towns were:

Sydney (7), Melbourne (7) Brisbane (6), Adelaide (5), Perth (4), Canberra and ACT (3), Hobart (2), Gold Coast (2), Wollongong (2), and Townsville (2). Other places include: Coffs Harbor, Wyong, Weston, Maroochydore, Mandurah, Northern Beaches, Lindfield, Bendigo, Mandurah, Hillston, Nerang, near Mullumbimby, Bunbury, Buderim, Nulkaba, Lismore, Rockhampton, Cairns, Wynyard, Newcastle, and two international responders snuck in from Harrogate, England, and Marana, Arizona US. [2 overseas responders sneaked in.]

13. How many children are involved in the family court issue? [73]

  • 1 child 34x chosen (46.58%)
  • 2 children 22x chosen (30.14%)
  • 3 or more: 17x chosen (23.29%)

14. How many years have you been ‘involved’ in family court proceedings? [72]

  • Less than 1 year: 4x chosen (5.56%)
  • 1 – 3 years: 25x chosen (34.72%)
  • 4 – 8 years: 25x chosen (34.72%)
  • More than 8 years: 18x chosen (25.00%)

15. How much MONEY have you lost (or spent) trying to achieve (or manage) your outcome in the family court, so far? (This a TOTAL of solicitor fees, transcripts, supervised visits, court fees, etc) [71]

  • 0 – $50,000: 28x chosen (39.44%)
  • $51,000 – 150,000: 16x chosen (22.54%)
  • $151,000 – 350,000: 16x chosen (22.54%)
  • $351,000 — 750,000: 7x chosen (9.86%)
  • More than $750,000: 4x chosen (5.63%)

16. As a result, have you… [67]

  • Lost ownership of a house? (32)
  • Lost a job, or business? (38)
  • Lost support or partial support from friends and/or family? (50)
  • This has put me in debt (50)

17. Do you believe crucial evidence of abuse or injury was disregarded in your case? [69]

  • Yes: 67x chosen (97.10%)
  • No: 2x chosen (2.90%)

18. Which of these people / departments DISREGARDED evidence of abuse/injury? [67]  [MC]

  • Members of my family (7)
  • Doctor, medical personnel (13)
  • The police (46)
  • Your psychologist / psychiatrist (7)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (29)
  • Child Protective Services (44)
  • ICL, Independent child lawyer (52)
  • Court reporters, pre-court services (43)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (29)
  • Court appointed experts (45)
  • The judge (the court)  (58)
  • Other (9)

19. Was evidence DESTROYED?   (I do not want to lead the witness.) [64]

  • Yes: 36x chosen (56.25%)
  • No: 28x chosen (43.75%)

20. Which of these people / departments DESTROYED evidence of abuse? [51]  [MC]

  • Members of my family (3)
  • Doctor, medical personnel (2)
  • The police (18)
  • Your psychologist / psychiatrist (1)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (11)
  • Child Protective Services (11)
  • ICL, Independent child lawyer (14)
  • Court reporters, pre-court services (9)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (7)
  • Court appointed experts (10)
  • NO evidence was destroyed (8)
  • Other (20)

21. Did the Judge destroy evidence, or order that evidence be destroyed? [55]

  • Yes: 17x chosen (30.91%)
  • No: 38x chosen (69.09%)

22. What kind of evidence was DISREGARDED by Police, CPS or the Family Court, etc? [48] [MC]

  • Video evidence (16)
  • Audio evidence (16)
  • Photographic evidence  (22)
  • Medical reports (25)
  • Blood evidence, and/or DNA (2)
  • Child disclosures reported to me (38)
  • Child disclosures to various authorities (police, CPS etc) (36)
  • Psychology or psychiatric reports (27)
  • Any Expert (8)
  • Reports of serious behavioural problems, fears etc, (31)
  • Reports that my child ran away from the police, or from a home (9)
  • Other (6)

23. What evidence was DESTROYED, Trashed, or was ordered to be destroyed? [48] [MC]

  • Video evidence (6)
  • Audio evidence (8)
  • Photographic evidence (9)
  • Medical reports (6)
  • Blood evidence, and/or DNA (1)
  • Child disclosures reported to me (12)
  • Child disclosures to various authorities (police, CPS etc) (11)
  • Psychology or psychiatric reports (5)
  • Any Expert (1)
  • Reports of serious behavioural problems, fears etc, (12)
  • Reports that my child ran away from the police, or from a home (1)
  • Other (5)

24. Do you have physical proof (documents, injunctions, emails, etc) of the deliberate destruction of evidence? [56]

  • Yes: 21x chosen (37.50%)
  • No: 35x chosen (62.50%)

25. Who was the Judge in your case? [59]

One answer: I’m scared to divulge too much information as he is threatening further court action. Countless names — a few repeated. [as written]

Carmody, Murphy, Bell, Justice Tree, Judy Turner, Magistrate Kaeser, Scarlett, Boyle, Paul Howard, Johnston, Stewart, Deputy Chief Justice Faulks, Amanda Tonkin, Shane Gill, Justice Rees, Cronin, Judge John Coker, Judge Baker, Judge Kelly, Howard, Vasta, Justice Kirsty McMillan, Andrews, Justice Berman, John Geral Barlow, Catherine Carew, Justice Johnson, Croker, Loughnan Forrest Rees Cleary, Stephen Scarlet, Middleton, Meyers, Magistrate Joe Harman, Judge Coates, Stuart Austin, Justice Tree, Young, Demack, Duncanson, Piter, Tree, Harmon, Justice Philip Butchardt, Justice Steven Strickland, Austin, Cronin, Multiple Judges, Robert Benjamin, David Monaghan, Judge Ryan, Magistrate Berman, Pascoe, Aldridge, Ryan, Coates, Justice Barry, Jarrett, Justain Curtain, Murphy, Kent, Federal Magistrates Jarret and De Mack, Justice Kent, Justice Forrest, Justice Hogan, Judge Cassidy, Justice Forrest, Justice Katherine Carew, Loughnan

26. Who was/were the Expert/s in your case? [58]

A few names did keep surfacing. One was Dr Rikard Bell, whom I have written about before. I was appalled by his interview with the ABC. His name came up 15 times as an expert, and as someone who obstructed justice. (Will include in a separate article.)

27. Anyone that you believe OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE for your child? [57]

Those who obstructed justice will have to be an article all of its own. Countless names, and organisations — across the board.

28. Did a court EXPERT, i.e., PSYCHIATRIST, claim that you were “coaching” — i.e. that you were trying to sway or enhance your child’s version? [66]

  • Yes: 53x chosen (80.30%)
  • No: 13x chosen (19.70%)

29. Who was the Psychiatrist / Expert? [54 replied with names.]

30. Do you believe someone in the authority tried to “COACH” your child — and sway your child’s version to him/her admitting to less or no abuse?[62]

  • Yes: 42x chosen (67.74%)
  • No: 20x chosen (32.26%)

31. Who do you believe “COACHED” your child — or altered their original disclosures, or outlook? (The next question is about changing reports etc) [48]  [MC]

  • Members of my family (9)
  • Doctor, medical personnel (3)
  • The police (13)
  • Your psychologist / psychiatrist (7)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (8)
  • Child Protective Services (14)
  • ICL, Independent child lawyer (19)
  • Court reporters, pre-court services (16)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (10)
  • Court appointed experts (13)
  • The judge (the court) (4)
  • Other (20)

32. Who do you believe CHANGED, or FALSIFIED REPORTS — or COMMITTED PEJURY?  [53]  [MC] [NOTE: Questionnaire misspelled ‘perjury’]

  • Members of my family (7)
  • Doctor, medical personnel (5)
  • The police (17)
  • Your psychologist / psychiatrist (9)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (12)
  • Child Protective Services (26)
  • ICL, Independent child lawyer (28)
  • Court reporters, pre-court services (25)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (16)
  • Court appointed experts (15)
  • The judge (the court) (21)
  • Other (19)

33. Do you have physical evidence of this corruption, falsifying reports and people committing purgury? [59]

  • Yes: 34x chosen (57.63%)
  • No: 25x chosen (42.37%)

34. Explain briefly who, what and how evidence was falsified — if applicable. [36 responded]

35. Have you presented this proof to authorities?[53]

  • Yes: 22x chosen (41.51%)
  • No: 31x chosen (58.49%)

36. Were you told by your legal representative NOT to report abuse — as you could be at risk of losing custody? [63]

  • Yes: 49x chosen (77.78%)
  • No: 14x chosen (22.22%)

37. Did the police, at any time, REFUSE to investigate abuse claims because the matter was before the Family court? [62]

  • Yes: 50x chosen (80.65%)
  • No: 12x chosen (19.35%)

38. During or after court proceedings, did anyone warn you to NOT REPORT any further abuse — or any further claims? [54] [MC]

  • Doctor, medical personnel (4)
  • The police (17)
  • Social workers, supervised visit personnel (8)
  • Child Protective Services (16)
  • ICL, Independent child lawyer (17) (Amazing)
  • Court reporters, pre-court services (8)
  • Court appointed psychiatrist (6)
  • The Judge (the court) (18)
  • Other (30)

39. What “punishment” would be put on you, if you did bring forward more accounts or evidence of abuse? [55]

Nearly all were threatened that they’d never see their kids again. No contact.

40. SUPERVISED VISITATION: Have you in the past, or are you presently in an arrangement of supervised visitation’? [64]

  • Yes: 35x chosen (54.69%)
  • No: 29x chosen (45.31%)

41. Were THREATS ever made by supervision personnel that you could lose visitation rights, or your child altogether? [56]

  • Yes: 26x chosen (46.43%)
  • No: 30x chosen (53.57%)

42. Anything to add for advice and threats? [36 responded] (Part of another article)

43. Was your child asked to reveal their disclosures in an interview — with their abuser present?: [59]

  • Yes: 26x chosen (44.07%)
  • No: 33x chosen (55.93%)

44. Did the court ever PREVENT you from seeking medical or psychological assistance for your child? [64]

  • Yes: 42x chosen (65.63%)
  • No: 12x chosen (18.75%)
  • Other: 10x chosen (15.63%)

45. Did the ICL (Independent Children’s lawyer) speak with the child they were representing or rely on information given to them? [62] [Sorry, this question is confusing]

  • Yes: 10x chosen (16.13%)
  • No: 31x chosen (50.00%)
  • Other: 21x chosen (33.87%)

46. Did your child undergo ‘therapy’ ordered by the Judge to ‘make them understand that the abuse NEVER happened’? [64]

  • Yes: 12x chosen (18.75%)
  • No: 38x chosen (59.38%)
  • Other: 14x chosen (21.88%)

47. Did you have to undergo MENTAL HEALTH assessments? [65]

  • Yes: 35x chosen (53.85%)
  • No: 19x chosen (29.23%)
  • Other: 11x chosen (16.92%)

48. At any point, was your child removed from you, because your were/are labelled an “ANXIOUS PARENT”? [64]

  • Yes: 12x chosen (18.75%)
  • No: 36x chosen (56.25%)
  • Other: 16x chosen (25.00%)

49. (Sorry to ask) What abuse do you believe occurred — or was disclosed in some way?   [64] [MC]

  • They don’t want to say (7)
  • Touching, Fiddling, (38)
  • “Milking the cow”  (one kid) “Doodle vomit” (another example) (13)
  • Photographic or video sessions (camera flashes) (12)
  • Penetration (18)
  • Bleeding rectum etc (9)
  • Injuries, scars (29)
  • Rashes, swelling, other medical issues (26)
  • Descriptions of sex toys (7)
  • Rituals (7)
  • Urolagnia, other fetishes (6)
  • Other (39)

50. In general, what is or has been the emotional state of your child — on the whole? [65] [MC]

  • Okay, managing (8)
  • Appears to be dissociating (33)
  • Behavioural problems (anger, etc) (48)
  • Has run away (16)
  • Suicidal, or talked about that (32)
  • In fear of his/her life (25)
  • Other (25)

51. Was the abuser, the alleged pedophile, investigated? [60]

  • Yes: 15x chosen (25.00%)
  • No: 45x chosen (75.00%)

52. Was the abuser, the alleged pedophile, prosecuted? [61]

  • Yes: 3x chosen (4.92%)
  • No: 58x chosen (95.08%)

53. Did anyone go to jail? [63]

  • Yes: 2x chosen (3.17%)
  • No: 61x chosen (96.83%)

54. Did the court order that your child/ren live with their abuser after evidence of abuse was presented?  [61]

  • Yes: 40x chosen (65.57%)
  • No: 21x chosen (34.43%)

55. If you only had ONE choice — what OUTCOME would you vote for? [65]

  • A Royal Commission into the Family Court: 28x chosen (43.08%)
  • A Special Unit, with the power to prosecute, to investigate criminality in the Family Court, CPS etc — with the promise to jail anyone that broke the law : 35x chosen (53.85%)
  • Financial Compensation : 2x chosen (3.08%)

The protective parents and others want justice — more than the apology that will result from a Royal Commission, and much more than compensation.

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  1. Amazing that Item #50 says 32 children are thinking of, or talking about, suicide.

    Thia article is perfect, Dee. It will help everyone. It will even help the bad guys. They need to see that that are cornered. This cannot continue. We can help them “recover.”

  2. Australia has no Bill of Rights and no explicit right to freedom of speech in our Constitution .

    In the absence of a Bill of Rights , the Australian government can pass new laws that
    override our implied freedom .

  3. I hate to say it, but so long as the bulk of Australians remain unwilling to accept the fact that the Country’s so-called authorities don’t have the will or the means to deal with any serious moral breach of any nature nothing’s going to change.

  4. I think a q and a panel for protective parents would be an eye-opener for public.

    Source : https://gumshoenews.com/2019/01/02/statistical-evidence-gumshoes-family-court-survey/

 

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