New Case: child lives with father where both parties violent
In the recent case of GTS and DMS, Lucev FM had to consider whether a child should continue to live with the mother in Brisbane or move to the father in Adelaide.
The child was to move to live with the father.
One of the issues was that of violence, when it appeared that, in what appears to have been skillful cross-examination of the mother:
– the father had been violent to the mother
– the mother in turn had been violent to the child
– the child had been violent to the mother, and
-one of the mother’s post-separation partners had been violent to the child:
The need to protect the Child – section 60CC(2)(b)
The evidence discloses:
a) that the Father has been violent toward the Mother on two or three occasions, resulting in the issuance of Protection Orders under the Domestic Violence Protection Act, 1989 (Qld) against the Father (in relation to the Mother only) in April 2000 and July 2003 (the latter expiring in July 2005); …
b) no history of violence between the Father and the Child; …; and
c) recent violent and abusive episodes between the Mother and the Child; including:
i) the Mother intentionally stepping on the Child’s foot with a stiletto heel; ……………………;
ii) the Child being hit by the Mother (allegedly because he had “been throwing toys and tried to hit her”; …………..;
iii) general pushing and shoving, angrily, between Mother and Child; ………;
iv) the Child throwing food at the Mother and wiping it on her face; ……; and
v) the Child threatening to “knuckle” the Mother and punching her in the back and temple; ……..;
i) although the Mother asserts that she has not “been physical” …..with the Child a consideration of the evidence overall indicates that it is more than likely that she has “been physical” with the Child …;
ii) the conclusion in (i) is reinforced by the Mother’s evidence. When asked about controlling the Child she responded:
“I can control him, my oath I can”. […; and
“I can control him, don’t you worry”. ….
The words “my oath I can” and “don’t you worry” were delivered in a manner which was menacing; and
e) the Child has been the subject of physical abuse by one of the Mother’s partners (in 2004); ….
It is axiomatic that violence by or toward a Child is to be abhorred, and prevented if possible, and that abuse by or toward a Child ought not be tolerated, and likewise, prevented if possible. In this case the Child has been violent and abusive toward the Mother (and she likewise towards him). One of the Mother’s former post-separation partners has been violent to the Child. On the evidence it seems that as the Child, through adolescence, grows increasingly independent, this conflict between Mother and Child living in the confines of a Brisbane suburban unit, is likely to increase. There is no evidence of actual, or likely, violence towards the Child from the Father, the Father’s Friend (with whom he resides, and with whom the Child would reside if living with the Father) or the Father’s relatives living in South Australia.
Although the evidence of violence or abuse is recent and not prolific, in terms of the need to protect the Child from violence or abuse in the future, it seems to the Court that that protection would best be afforded by the Father.