Who’s looking after the children?
Unfortunately many family law matters today involve allegations of violence or abuse. Whilst some of these allegations may be unfounded, it has been reported that one in three Australian women will be assaulted or abused in their lifetime (source: www.whiteribbonday.org.au).
Whilst this figure seems unbelievable to most of us, the sad truth is that we are hearing about more and more cases in which families, and in some cases whole communities, have been destroyed by acts of domestic violence. Earlier this month, a man was arrested in Perth over the murder of his former partner and mother of his child, after a history of violence in the relationship had led her to take out a Violence Restraining Order against him.
As family lawyers, we are often called upon to represent and advise clients in matters that involve domestic violence or abuse. We take these matters very seriously and understand the need to act quickly and decisively whenever there is a threat to the personal safety of a client or family member.
Very often however, the hardest issues we have to address involve matters in which children might be at risk. Who can forget the heartbreaking details and images of the cases we have heard about this year? The reports of Darcey Freeman, a defenceless four year old thrown from a Melbourne bridge, and six year-old Kiesha Abrahams, whose mother and stepfather have recently been charged with her murder, have shocked us all.
If anyone believes they, or someone they know, is potentially at risk of violence or abuse they should seek immediate advice and assistance from the police. Experienced family lawyers can then provide assistance with ensuring their long-term safety and resolving the issues surrounding their family break-down or, in some cases, determining the most appropriate solution for a child’s ongoing care.
At Coleman Greig we have a team of dedicated, empathetic and experienced family lawyers, as well as senior lawyers who are members of the Panel of Independent Children’s Lawyers in NSW and can represent the specific interests of children in a family dispute.