Will unsupervised time with the father expose the children to an unacceptable risk of harm?
- The mother does not allege that the father has sexually abused the boys. Her contention that E is at an unacceptable risk of sexual abuse if she spends unsupervised time with the father rests upon a consideration of a combination of events – including the mother’s understanding of the father’s previous offences committed in the United States of America – and asserted comments by E. In particular, the mother relies upon what she describes as “disclosures” by E that the father sexually abused her.
- That is, she contends that consideration of the combination of:
- the disclosures by E to her, the police (during the interview), her aunt (Ms R Sarsgaard) and Ms P; and
- the child’s comments to others, including the supervisor (Ms D); and
- the fact of the father’s previous convictions for offences involving at least what is asserted to be an aspect of sexual behaviour (one of which was said to include or involve a child),
is such as to persuade of a conclusion that the father represents an unacceptable risk to E.
- If such conclusion is reached, it is also asserted that the boys will be at an unacceptable risk of psychological harm if they spend unsupervised time with the father because this would indicate to them that there is nothing wrong with his alleged behaviour toward E; alternatively, it is submitted that it is not in any of the children’s best interests for their time with their father to be differentiated – because of the likely impact on the sibling relationships of any care regime whereby the boys spend unsupervised time with their father and E does not.
- In assessing all of the relevant matters, it is, as always, necessary to have regard to events which predated and surrounded them.
- It is, I think, pertinent to record that, during his cross-examination, the father accepted that, if what the mother reported E as having said to her in the car on 11 April 2014 had been said to him about another person, he would have been so concerned about such comments as to make whatever inquiries were necessary to have them investigated: that is, he did not criticise the mother for going to the police following the reported comments because that was what he would have done if E had made those comments to him about someone else.
Read more here
Maroochydore / Buderim / Kawana / Nambour / Caloundra / Birtinya