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Australian Insititute of Family Studies

The AIFS is one of the main research (government) organisations and I presume its research agenda matches the needs of policy makers in government. It would seem essential that any lobby group interested in the family area establish links with this organisation.

The recent study
Research report, no. 15, 2007

Allegations of family violence and child abuse in family law children's proceedings:
a pre-reform exploratory study

is an interesting read as it examines details of real cases before the court (a limited number which may lack some statistical robustness for some of the more detailed figures) yet there is some heartening news for those going to court and facing allegations …

(Quote below)

7.3 Summary

The main message that resonates from the data presented in this chapter - for both non-adjudicated cases and adjudicated cases with reasons available - is that allegations of spousal violence or parental child abuse, accompanied by evidence of a strong probative weight, appeared to influence court orders. Without such evidence, allegations did not seem to have much effect on outcomes.

(End Quote)

What also would be interesting to do would be to compare the rates of alleged violence and abuse with intact couples relationships to see if there was a difference between those and people going through separation. What also would be interesting would be to look at infidelity and other reasons for separation in the same mix.

Their seminar program looks interesting - maybe people in Melbourne could take note

Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough

Be wary of family courts' definitions of 'evidence'

Always approach any AIFS publication or report with a hermeneutic (interpretation or explanation) of suspicion: the AIFS is biased toward women and a review of their publications will reveal that, as well as an almost greater focus on lesbians and lesbian households than on men, fathers, fathering and fatherhood.

These AIFS reports tend to be advocacy 'research', pushing the feminist and mothers' rights agenda that women don't lie and if they do courts are just and fair and will do the right thing by the children and father … which is generally not true.
AIFS said
The main message that resonates from the data presented in this chapter - for both non-adjudicated cases and adjudicated cases with reasons available - is that allegations of spousal violence or parental child abuse, accompanied by evidence of a strong probative weight, appeared to influence court orders. Without such evidence, allegations did not seem to have much effect on outcomes.
What does "evidence of a strong probative weight" really mean?

Does it mean real, hard evidence or just she said and the judge, on the balance of probability, said it was evidence?  This tends to happen, with the courts 'erring' on the side of 'caution' - in reality FAVOURING women - and giving women what they want (children, house, property, income).
I suppose the thing about this research is that is read by those in the courts, CSA, etc and they may be influenced by the findings. If there are specific reasons why someone (me for example) disagrees with someone else's work - unless I specifically draw attention - so everyone can plainly see - to the problems and SOLUTIONS of their work - then I will be ignored.

Unfortunately while the general community can operate on beliefs, hastily formed views, opinion, etc - the effort and rigor required to SUCCESSFULLY overcome deeply held views on complex matters is enormous and can easily be undone by inflammatory or subjective remarks.

I agree that with this research the key really is the probative weight issue - i.e. basically fundamentally different from criminal law - beyond reasonable doubt. The family law system is based on that removal of treatment of evidence and fair trial provisions that criminals get under the criminal justice system.

Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough

Circular Argument

While I am not quite of dismissive of AIFS research, from my reading they tend to conduct fairly balanced studies on topics requested by whoever pays the bill. Note the "fairly".

The AIFS was established by the original 1975 family Law Act to conduct research into family life in Australia. The key point is the conjuction, the family Court of Australia was established by the same act. Yes much of the research in the past has reflected a bias, yet interestingly, they are the one group that has been willing to comment that there may not be enough of a sample to work with.

Take for example the study on allegation of Family Violence and abuse in Family Law applications. The study was commissioned by the AG to establish base line data so that a measure of any change of frequency of allegations could be made.

Note also, the study's authors comment. Where probative evidence is available, it tends to effect the orders the courts choose to make, where there is no probative evidence, the court tends to ignore the allegation.

Where the risk lies in all this is that if the studies done by the AIFS are used as part of a feedback loop for the courts and Government, we should see them learn and improve.

If instead the research itself becomes the justification for a raft of assuptions leading to prejudged decisions in the court and in the framing of laws, then we are in trouble. Note for example the post elsewhere on this site which mentions the B & B judgement. A key point was the intervention by the AG of the day, yet the full (of itself) bench of the family court as defined by (very SMALL n) nicholson ignored the will of parliament and did its own thing.

What that left us with is very little real and tracable data on fathers involvemnt with childen post separation which was in turn used to justify not order time with fathers whcih in turn lead to nodata on children's time with fathers. And futher, the ones that didn't get to court made arrangemnts based on what they thought in the shadow of the law.

Of course nicholson spent most of his childhood at a boarding shooll in melbourne because his parents owned a plantation in the pacific islands somewhere. So his perception of normal was a child doesn't see his parents anyway, but look how he turned out, chief justice of a Federal court and able to inflict pain and suffering on an entire generation of parents and children. Yes parents, because by the time they had all finished,the courts and the social researcher, parenting had become a SOLEresponsibility with no joy allowed lest you have to share the care with someone else and get less benefits.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!


I emailed researchers at the University of Newcastle in the research area of "Gender, Health and Aging" to ask what research they were doing and if they knew anyone who was doing research on males and what it would take for males to be an interesting research topic. I got no response but it seems quite clear that the research they are doing is essentially around females.

From the topics they have focussed on and the gender makeup of their "research" team I don't think "Gender, Health and Aging" accurately affects their focus area.;)

I think , given the amount of funding and effort associated with research around the country, it would be good if I could feel like there was a high level of professionalism and equity in the way these people examined issues. I wonder how many educational institutions have a balanced approach to research topics - particularly on gender.:|

Further examination lead me to ANU website

which again has the name

Graduate Studies in Gender, Sexuality and Culture

But clearly it is concentrated on female issues.

Now I remember in the 70's this used to be the joke about 'inconsequential studies" etc. But obviously we now have generations of people out of universities steeped in female specific issues with NO BALANCED VIEW provided. This people go on to get research grants and occupy positions in AIFS and god knows where else - and their whole view of "Culture" "gender" and "Sexuality" comes from these places.:o

The problem is that other people might think that these "Researchers" have come from some sort of balanced academic study background but if you read the information from these universities they are quite simply and unashamably feminist in their teachings - or so it seems to me.

The other issues with this is that while large numbers of the University graduates make up a proportion of "researchers" - on balance - as a group - they seem to all come from one direction - with a set of preconceived notions and influences.

I can see why some governments want to reduce funding to universities.

Last edit: by Jon Pearson

Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
"The AIFS was established by the original 1975 family Law Act to conduct research into family life in Australia."
S. 114A …………………………… ad. No. 23, 1979 am. No. 76, 1986; No. 82, 2006

Profanity deleted by site admin

Last edit: by OneRingRules

Getting the Fact Straight

Guest said
"The AIFS was established by the original 1975 family Law Act to conduct research into family life in Australia.";
S. 114A … ad. No. 23, 1979 am. No. 76, 1986; No. 82, 2006

Before the profanity was remove - guest suggested that the facts about the AIFS were incorrect. Technically, Guest is correct, The AIFS came into being with the 1979 amendments to the Family Law Act.

Before the AIFS was the Institute of Family Studies created by the Original Family Law Act of 1975 -

FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 No. 53 of 1975 - SECT. 116.
Institute of Family Studies.

116. (1) There is established by this Act an Institute by the name of the Institute of Family Studies.

(2) The Institute shall consist of-

(a) a Director; and

(b) 4 or more other members, each of whom shall be appointed by the Attorney-General.

(3) The functions of the Institute are -

(a) to promote, by the encouragement and co-ordination of research and

other appropriate means, the identification of, and development of understanding of, the factors affecting marital and family stability in Australia, with the object of promoting the protection of the family as the natural and fundamental group unit in society; and

(b) to advise and assist the Attorney-General in relation to the making of grants, out of moneys available under appropriations made by the Parliament, for purposes related to the functions of the Institute and the supervising of the employment of grants so made.

(4) The regulations may prescribe any matters that are necessary or convenient to be prescribed in connexion with the conduct of the affairs of the Institute, including matters relating to the conduct of the meetings of the Institute, and, subject to the Remuneration Tribunals Act 1973-1974, payment of remuneration and allowances to the Director or other members of the Institute.

(5) The Director may, on behalf of Australia and with the approval of the Attorney-General, employ persons as members of the staff of the Institute and engage persons to assist the Institute as consultants or otherwise.

(6) The terms and conditions of employment or engagement of persons under this section are such as are from time to time determined by the Director with the approval of the Attorney-General.

(7) Where a member of the staff of the Institute was, immediately before his appointment, an officer of the Australian Public Service or a person to whom the Officers' Rights Declaration Act 1928-1975 applied-

(a) he retains his existing and accruing rights;

(b) for the purpose of determining those rights, his service as a member of the staff of the Institute shall be taken into account as if it were service in the Australian Public Service; and

the Officers' Rights Declaration Act 1928-1975 applies as if this Act and this section had been specified in the Schedule to that Act.

(8) This section has effect notwithstanding the Public Service Act 1922-1975 but subject to any other Act relating to persons employed by Australia.

So while technically, Guest may be correct, focussing on a more constructive critisism my be useful

Profanity deleted by site admin

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
The thing about research and researchers is the natural biases - the background from whence they come.

Professional agencies - like the ABS - do more than just about anyone in addressing the problems of bias and perceptions of bias because they know that it casts doubt on the voracity of their work.

If you have a whole raft of 'specialists' who have come of of universities who have offered training in 'Gender, Culture' etc and those universities themselves are a hotbed of feminism where those courses are designed to portray a feminist ideology - then envitibly the researchers who emerge from those places are unlikely to have a balanced view.

I would like to see researchers list the universities they came from the the classes in 'culture' they attended - along with any 'research' they produce.

That at least would give the consumer some sort of view of the possible biases in their work.

What also is of concern is the seeming lack of 'balance' currently in universities - they may well argue they are catering for 'demand' i.e. not at lot of people interested in 'males' - but they does not engender much respect in their curriculum or professionalism.

Universities and schools need balance.

Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
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