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Domestic Violence - How one Federal Magistrate saw it !

Patino & Griego [2010] FMCAfam 1422 (2 December 2010)

This case is an interesting case in relation to reducing the children's contact time with the father. It appears to be a well-reasoned judgement that considers what domestic violence is not and refers to current enquiries that have taken place in the past year. The judgement also uses other country case law and shows that the Federal Magistrate is following closely, matters around the proposed changes to the ACT, that are currently before the Parliament. His honour, Federal Magistrate Harman, goes to a great deal of trouble to explain why "domestic violence" should not be reduced to a lesser type of offence than any other ordinary violent assault and this should not be of lessor importance in respect to how the law will deal with violence be it domestic or other. One has to ask if the current legislation would have made any difference at all in fact with the well-reasoned arguments and case law used in this case.
Federal Magistrate Harman said
in 84.   Domestic violence, family violence, or however one wishes to term it, are nothing more than violence. Much turns in our legislation, particularly as part of presently extant government review of the legislation, and as considered in the not less than six reports commissioned for the Federal Government in the last 12 months on how this court deals with violence.  

85.   Violence and its consideration is fundamental to everything that this court does.  It is the starting point for the inquiry in considering whether the presumption applies.  

86.   The definition under the Act as present drafted, although there is a bill before Federal Parliament to change that, is an objective and limited definition. It includes conduct, whether actual or threatened, by a person towards or towards the property of a member of the persons family that causes that, or any other member of the persons family, reasonably to fear for, or reasonably to be apprehensive about his or her personal wellbeing or safety.  

87.   As conceded by Ms Garwell, the convictions for assault and breach of domestic violence order compel a finding that there has been violence.  And I prefer the term violence rather than to seek to dignify it, or place it into some lesser category by putting the word family or domestic before it.  Violence is violence.  And, indeed, in my mind, whilst it is often suggested in uninformed media discussion that family violence is different, separate and apart and less important than violence by strangers, it is far more important. It is violence perpetrated by somebody who is supposedly in, or has previously been in, a loving relationship with the victim.  It is akin, in that sense, to home invasion, as a crime that does not only inflict violence, but fundamentally psychologically undermines trust and faith.
Would you have made a different determination and orders I wonder?

Material references:

Rice & Asplund [1978] FamCA, [1979] FLC 90-725
Browne & Dunn (1893) 6 R 67 (HL)
Blanche & Blanche & Crawford [1998] FamCA 1908, (1999) FLC 92-837
Merryman (1993) 116 FLR 87
Oakley & Cooper [2009] FamCAFC 133
Aguilera v Reid, 2006 CanLII 6169 (ON S.C)  - 2006-03-03
MMR & GR [2010] HCA 4
DCR & TMR, 2007 BCSC 1127-2007/07/27
Mazorski & Albright (2007) 37 FamLR 518
McCall & Clark [2009] FamCAFC 92, (2009) 41 Fam LR 483 at 509-510
Goode & Goode (2006) FLC 93-286
Marvel [2010] FamCAFC 101
Lewis & Wackett [2010] FamCA 717
U & U (2002) 211 CLR 238
M & M [1988] HCA 68; (1988) 166 CLR 69
B& B (1993) FLC 92-357
Bieganski (1993) FamLR 353
Dylan & Dylan FamCA 842
S & Baloyi (CCT29/999) [1999] ZACC 19; 2000 (1) BCLR 86; 2000 (2) SA 425 (CC) (3 December 1999)

Attachment
DV - Patino & Griego [2010] FMCAfam 1422 (2 December 2010)

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Hmmmm…. the father in this matter obviously has some 'personality issues'.

If the Judgement is an accurate reflection of the hearing, it does sound like the father gave the FM much of an option.

A well written and reasoned judgement by the FM.

4MYDAUGHTER
Can we really be sure that the best interests of these children have been served when any meaningful contact with their father has been effectively nullified. 

The father obviously has anger issues which should be addressed, but as the FM writes,"The danger, as I have indicated, does not come from a risk that this man is going to physically or sexually abuse his children …. these children will experience no consistency.  That has been demonstrated in the contact centre records to which I have referred.  Sometimes it is up, sometimes it is down.

If the only risk that these children are facing is a lack of consistency, is this a good enough reason to effectively sever the parental tie, and remove this man with all of his faults from the lives of his children? 

I'm not so sure, surely supervised contact and counselling would have been a better option.  Isn't that what the mother wanted?
Can we really be sure that the best interests of these children have been served when any meaningful contact with their father has been effectively nullified.
No. No one can ever be sure. Decision are made on the 'balance of probabilities'.

Supervised contact at a contact centre is not a long term option, and indeed, they had been in a contact centre for some time and the availability of the centre to facilitate this child spending time with his fathers was at an end.

A court can't make 'final orders' requiring that supervised contact arrangements continue indefinitely into the future. The court has to make final orders that won't cause the parties to return to court at a later date.

The father is this matter had his opportunity to 'sort his head out' and basically squandered it. He said some really dumb things. He sabotaged his own case.

4MYDAUGHTER
The father definately did not make any real attempts to "cure his ills"…
   It was disheartening to read the contact centre workers reflection on a visit where a daughter picked up a toy phone and made a pretend call to the police asking them to take her dad to gaol. Not to know where such a notion had come to play in a young childs head. At the end of the day, he had a chance and more to the point…. has a chance, to deal with his demons and create a more positive interaction with his daughters…
It's a bit strange that did all the right things - like attending counselling, contact centre, etc - but couldn't bring himself to 'play the game' and 'say the right things' to secure shared care arrangements. It could have been so easy to achieve.

4MYDAUGHTER
4mydaughter said
It's a bit strange that did all the right things - like attending counselling, contact centre, etc - but couldn't bring himself to 'play the game' and 'say the right things' to secure shared care arrangements. It could have been so easy to achieve.
 
Could it really have been that easy? It sounds to me as though both parents have problems with each other, rather than with the children. Yes, the father failed to "play the game", but why was he forced into playing a game at all? Why was he placed in a situation (supervised contact) when there was no evidence brought that I could see to suggest that he was in any way a danger to his children or represented a threat of any kind to anyone?

I went through the supervised contact fiasco myself, which was abruptly terminated by the contact centre, after more than 8 weeks of "waiting for a spot, sorry", because I refused to take time away from a contact session to fill out forms for the woman, saying I would do it after I had finished with my children. She complained that I was "not cooperative" and said they could no longer offer me a place. Believe me when I say that made me very angry indeed and that anger is still not far below the surface.

It seems to me that just as that woman was abusive of her power, there are many examples of men being forced to "play a game" designed to impress upon them that they are powerless and the mother or her proxy holds all the cards.

I think this case was a badly flawed process and a bad outcome for all, including the mother, who will now have a much heavier burden of childcare to bear.

Shame, shame, shame.
@Craigo

The father in this matter assaulted his wife. Then he indicated though various discussions people, no personal responsibility for his actions. Further, he stated on many occasions that he felt he didn't need to change. If he had changed his attitude - yes - it could have been that easy.

In respect of your matter - what you're saying is that you didn't not 'comply' with the directions of contact centre staff. I spent more than a year and a half at the contact centre visiting with my daughter. When you're in a contact centre you do precisely as they say. End of story. It's their joint. They have rules that apply to EVERYBODY that uses the service.

If you invited a stranger into your home and whilst there did what they pleased - probably making you feel uncomfortable - would you invite them back?

I'm not going to sugar coat this for you.

Given that there are families lining up to use the service, why would they waste their time and energy, supporting any parent who isn't prepared to follow the rules and comply with directions?

About your anger. You're not angry with the contact centre.

If you look deep inside - you'll find that the TRUTH of this matter is that you're angry with yourself because you made an error of judgement in the moment and it cost you time with your child.

4MYDAUGHTER
4mydaughter said
@Craigo

The father in this matter assaulted his wife. The he indicated though various discussions people, no personal responsibility for his actions. Further, he stated on many oscasions that he felt he didn't need to change. If he had changed his attitude - yes - it could have been that easy.
I beg to differ. There was no examination of how the wife may have helped to create the poor rsituation or of whether he had any reason to be angry. Assuming he had "played the game" and told people what they wanted to hear, how would that make him a better or worse father? Why must he be forced into kowtowing to unreasonable demands imposed on him by others? Why must he be forced into a "confession", just as "witches" were in the Dark Ages? What purpose does that serve?

All the evidence seemed to point to his anger being situational and directed at his ex-wife, not at the children. the judgement even made mention of the fact he was no danger to the kids. This decision is not going to alter that situation, so his anger is going to get worse, not better. When I read of these cases, I wonder how long it'll be before the man snaps and does something extremely violent, such as in the Freeman case. I also wonder how the little girl was trained to role-play calling the police.


4mydaughter said
I respect of your matter - what you're saying is that you didn't not 'comply' with the directions of contact centre staff. I spent more than a year and a half at the contact centre visiting with my daughter. When you're in a contact centre you do precisely as they say. End of story. It's their joint. They have rules that apply to EVERYBODY that uses the service.
No, I was perfectly willing to comply and I said I would do so once my session was over. I waited for over half an hour before the session, but no mention was made of forms, yet as soon as the session started, I was expected to leave my children and go to an office. I regard that as unreasonable. My response was "I haven't seen my children in nearly 6 months, can't this wait?" which elicited the "not cooperative" response. My impression was that the woman was "playing a game".


4mydaughter said
If you invited a stranger into your home and whilst there did what they pleased - probably making you feel uncomfortable - would you invite them back?
I was not in someone's home, nor was I a stranger. I was there because a Court had ordered it to happen and the person was a functionary employed to enable that. I said and did nothing to make her "uncomfortable", merely made a reasonable request for her to wait a little while.

I'm not going to sugar-coat this for you either - I think you've been so busy "playing the game" you're suffering from a form of "Stockholm syndrome".


I'm not going to sugar coat this for you.

Given that there are families lining up to use the service, why would they waste their time and energy, supporting and parent who isn't prepared to follow the rules and comply with directions?

About your anger. You're not angry with the contact centre.


4mydaughter said
If you look deep inside - you'll find that the TRUTH of this matter is that you're angry with yourself because you made an error of judgement in the moment and it cost you time with your child.
 

I have looked deep inside and I am deeply angry with a system that gives dysfunctional women a spurious authority to live out their revenge fantasies on men, with absolutely no accountability. The woman at the contact centre deliberately interrupted my time with my children for no good reason. Why should I not object?I'm also very sorry for you that you had to go through the farce. I think if you look deep inside you'll realise you're trying to defend the indefensible to justify your own "playing of the game" and your sense of shame at what you endured.

BTW, unlike the father in this case, I didn't assault my wife or anyone else. My crime ("poor judgment, if you prefer) was to be so beaten down by the system that I attempted to take my own life and didn't succeed. I was not offered any form of assistance by anyone - simply ever-increasing assaults on me and my relationship with the children and an interim order to stop me even hugging my son on his 6th birthday. I had to leave his present on the front doorstep while he cried inside. The police were, of course, called.

To get back to the original post,  I think this is a very woolly decision that wanders from pillar to post reliant largely on the testimony of one witness and the CL's mandatory concerns about "consistency". If consistency is to be the measure, I reckon there are probably 100,000 kids who shouldn't be seeing either one of their parents…
No, I was perfectly willing to comply and I said I would do so once my session was over.

Exactly. You weren't prepared to comply with their terms. You wanted to manage their processes, your way. That's called non-compliance.


I'm not going to sugar-coat this for you either - I think you've been so busy "playing the game" you're suffering from a form of "Stockholm syndrome".

I played the game. I played the game better than anyone else. Result? I've been successful in all my family law/avo matters. I've got shared care arrangements completely on my terms.


I have looked deep inside and I am deeply angry with a system that gives dysfunctional women a spurious authority to live out their revenge fantasies on men, with absolutely no accountability.

How this anger working out for you? Does it service you in getting what you want or does it hinder your efforts to get what you want?

You're entitled to feel anger.

But really… feeling angry about matters is a waste of time and energy. Anger is a distraction. Anger overrides common sense judgement. Anger destructive. Anger make people do stupid things. Mainly anger is counter-productive.

And at the end of the day feeling angry is just a choice.

4MYDAUGHTER
Craigo said
I went through the supervised contact fiasco myself, which was abruptly terminated by the contact centre, after more than 8 weeks of "waiting for a spot, sorry", because I refused to take time away from a contact session to fill out forms for the woman, saying I would do it after I had finished with my children. She complained that I was "not cooperative" and said they could no longer offer me a place. Believe me when I say that made me very angry indeed and that anger is still not far below the surface.
I am very surprised to hear this. It is clear that the contact time is extremely limited at these centres and I, like you, would have been pretty upset at having to fill in forms DURING the limited time allocated. I don't believe such a process is reasonable and the mundane form filling in can take place BEFORE the allotted time or AFTER the allotted time. If you want to supply me the Centre details in a  personal post I will call the departmental officer in charge of the centre to see if they have a policy around the forms and how they would treat filling in forms before, during and or after such contact visits.

I would have thought any reasonable person would have allowed forms to be filled in before or after the contact had taken place. You say you were there early and therefore could have done that at that time. They may have been busy and forgotten about the form perhaps but could have left it until afterwards UNLESS a signature or the form binds you and THEM to certain conduct, duty of care and other regulations that have legislated backing.It could be such forms were needed before the contact took place.
Craigo said
I think this case was a badly flawed process and a bad outcome for all, including the mother, who will now have a much heavier burden of childcare to bear.

Shame, shame, shame.
If you read the complete case and look at how the mother received numerous "Bashings" do you think there were other remedies here?

23.   Mr B had also advanced comments as follows:
I cannot accurately judge how much verbal restraint Mr Patino is capable of, if challenged from another adult in the presence of the children.  Mr Patino finds it difficult to back away from having his views challenged, as he highly values his point of view as his right.  I am concerned Mr Patino may be verbally aggressive in front of children with other adults, if he perceives himself as being disrespected or attacked.
21. Mr Patino has admitted responsibility for being physically abusive to his former partner, Ms Griego [Being Ms Griego]. Despite this, Mr Patino can find justification in his opinions and defend them assertively. However, if he is challenged in what he understands is aggression, he will respond in kind.  The worker offered Mr Patino to work on developing his assertiveness skills and continue work on his thoughts and beliefs that influence his negative reactions to others.
34.   It was put to Mr B whether he considered that it was significant that every relationship Mr Patino had had with a woman had ended in physical violence, and he agreed that this suggested that it was a serious and chronic issue.  And notwithstanding Mr Patinos conviction with respect to Ms Griego, that he still did not perceive any problem with violence or aggression, Mr Bs answer was that there has been, in his view, violence.  
I think many of the points are clear. There is a situation of aggravated domestic violence and assault all proved. The person cannot or will not control his outbursts and there is a danger to the children here.
16.   The issues that really arise relate to a balancing of the primary considerations in a real and meaningful sense, it being suggested that the benefits to these children, whose right, if indeed it is found to be consistent with their best interests, is to have a relationship with their father, rather than the other way around, is outweighed by their right to safety, stability and consistency.

The court considered the above at length. The orders were consistent with the children being kept safe.

What would you have suggested be done? The father denies there is a problem, doesn't believe the mother is fearful and thinks its all someone else's problem. What could the court have offered do you think, that may have allowed a better outcome. I am genuinely interested in your view in this regard. Would supervised contact with a third party family member involved be an option? Would there be any time you would offered non supervised contact. How else could this Federal Magistrate have dealt with matters?

The Government has a zero tolerance policy to family violence. They are expecting the courts to implement that policy and the legislation is available for a court to do so.

Legal interpretation is not always simply about what it is the Act as you need also to look outside the Act at what the Government is saying through the official records (Hansard). There is no second , third or fourth chance any more. Courts are coming down hard on violence in the community because it is what the community is expecting. In this case he has virtually a 12 year sentence with the most minimal contact with the two children. It may be that things change in time. It could be when the children are older around 10 -14 they start to push to see the father. One thing is for certain it is a case with no positive outcome for anyone other then one could expect the mother to be protected from further violence.
6.   The potential difficulty that arises with that position is that one of the exhibits in the proceedings, being a letter from the [A] Children's Contact Service, where visits are presently occurring, indicates that the Centre is not in a position to maintain a service for these parties on a long term basis, or indeed, very much beyond the short term after the conclusion of this matter, although they may be able to provide some assistance with periodic visits for special occasions.  
This is concerning point as without the centre support it appears all contact may be unavailable.






Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
Secretary SPCA said
It is clear that the contact time is extremely limited at these centres and I, like you, would have been pretty upset at having to fill in forms DURING the limited time allocated. I don't believe such a process is reasonable and the mundane form filling in can take place BEFORE the allotted time or AFTER the allotted time.
That was and is precisely my view. I suspect that it would be the view of any independent observer.

Secretary SPCA said
If you read the complete case and look at how the mother received numerous "Bashings" do you think there were other remedies here?
Did she really receive "numerous bashings", or was there a single train of escalating behaviours leading to a physical confrontation? The reasons for judgement don't make that clear. They do mention that the father had a history of relationships ending amid claims of violence, but the evidence provided is not convincing.

Mr B's evidence is not at all convincing to me. He often simply acquiesces with whatever is put to him and he offers lots of vague opinion rather than substantive proof of evidence. Mr B is described as a "counsellor", not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I saw no evidence of his qualifications to act as an expert witness in the case. At best he should have been called to provide factual evidence of statements made by the father, not to provide an expert opinion.

In the factual evidence he says:
Mr Patino has admitted responsibility for being physically abusive to his former partner, Ms Griego [Being Ms Griego]. Despite this, Mr Patino can find justification in his opinions and defend them assertively. However, if he is challenged in what he understands is aggression, he will respond in kind.
So it is a matter of fact that the father has accepted responsibility for a physical assault of some unspecified kind (did he push her, or bash her in the head with a rock? Are they equivalent?). The next sentence is unrelated to that statement, since defending opinions aggressively is not a physical assault, nor is responding to verbal aggression with verbal aggression, even if it may be somewhat counter-productive to achieving a sustainable outcome. Why must he be the one to pull his head in every time?

Mr Patino even questioned the quality of the evidence presented by Mr B, to receive a very sarcastic backhander in the judge's reasons, with no justification provided.

Another comment from Mr B the judge thought noteworthy was
Mr B said
I cannot accurately judge how much verbal restraint Mr Patino is capable of, if challenged from another adult in the presence of the children.  Mr Patino finds it difficult to back away from having his views challenged, as he highly values his point of view as his right.  I am concerned Mr Patino may be verbally aggressive in front of children with other adults, if he perceives himself as being disrespected or attacked.
It seems to me that the judge is asking Mr Patino to show saint-like qualities that are not present in the vast majority of the population if he regards this as a fair basis for preventing his children from having anything to do with him. I'd like to bet his Honour has let fly a few times when kids were about, even if it may have been in more "learned" terms than Mr Patino may have employed. It is also instructive that Mr B carefully says "if challenged from [sic] another adult", while the children are not mentioned as in any danger. Mr B doesn't even offer a proper opinion, saying:"I cannot accurately judge", so why is this even relevant testimony?

Another beautifully self-contradictory paragraph occurs in Para 32:

Questions were also put to Mr B, in a number of forms, that, the past behaviour complained of, including behaviour that led to convictions for assault and breach of domestic violence orders, were not so much acknowledged as inappropriate as simply an agreement by Mr Patino with propositions put to him.  Mr B agreed that when propositions were put to Mr Patino by Mr B, being propositions that his behaviour was inappropriate, Mr B agreed that Mr Patino was not owning responsibility, but simply agreeing with a proposition when put to him. Ultimately, Mr B agreed that was the form in which the alleged acknowledgement had come about
So, in other words, Mr B ultimately agreeing with a series of propositions put to him is perfectly acceptable as evidence, yet Mr Patino doing the same to a series of questions from Mr B was evidence that he was acting duplicitously? Is the Judge senile?

It seems to me that the Judge simply took a dislike to Mr Patino. Para 55
 The other aspects of Mr Patinos evidence cause me, overall, some concern that the evidence he gave was given, in large part, in a fashion that was glib, overly self assured and at times, smug. Accordingly, when in conflict with other aspects of the evidence, including those to which I have already referred, Mr Patinos evidence is not to be preferred.
Couldn't be clearer.

Para 56
 Another aspect that was particularly troubling in relation to Mr Patinos evidence, the focus of it being, after all, upon Mr Patinos behaviour in the past, was, when I had asked him questions in relation to the offence of breach domestic violence order, for which he had been convicted

Mr Patino indicated that it related to him having sent 263 text messages over a space of three or four months, all of which were entirely related to issues pertaining to the children, such as confirming arrangements, changing times and the like.  A few moments later, when cross-examined briefly by Ms Griego, it was conceded that, rather than there having been one conviction for breach domestic violence order, there were, in fact, two, and that the other matter had related to over 400 phone calls in a period of two to three months.  The willingness to not frankly disclose those circumstances and, indeed, to minimise them troubles me.
  So he sent approximately 2 texts per day and tried to ring a few times each day, no doubt unanswered. The evidence that these were questions about the children was not questioned. Hardly a gorefest, is it?

Para 57
Ms M gave evidence, and I accept her as substantially a witness of truth. The one puzzling element that I have previously referred to about the police being called may well have some explanation by Ms M having indicated on several occasions that Mr Patino had come to her home late of an evening, a very different time to the one Mr Patino had suggested, and that she could smell alcohol on him and was a little concerned.  She expressed that her concern was not necessarily for immediate personal safety, but that she had baggage and bad past experiences of violence, and particularly related to alcohol with other men. She indicated Mr Patino was talking loudly, and as a consequence of that and of smelling of alcohol and by reference to past experiences personal to her, and the fact he was talking loudly, she felt uncomfortable.
  So she called the cops because "she had baggage", not because Mr Patino represented any kind of threat. No wonder he was upset. Still no gorefest here though, but a pretty good witch hunt going on in Albury Family Court.

Apart from the physical assault, which was in the past and Mr Patino had admitted and acknowledged was wrong, there was no evidence tendered that Mr Patino was a violent man. Mr B, the Court's own tame witness, offered the view that he was not aggressive, but "confrontingly assertive" a term the judge seemed to find difficult to understand. I guess he's more used to doing it than thinking about it.

I suggest that what should have happened was a period of family-supervised contact, moving to a more permanent and stable arrangement as time passed and all parties got over the raw emotion. What this Judge has done is to entrench a bad temporary situation because he simply didn't like the applicant. What a disgrace.

I hope Mr Patino appeals. The judge deserves a good kick up the clacker.
I also attended a contact centre where I was seen before a visit to "smooth over" the actions of an employee that had upset me. That employee had made a phone call and been polite in leaving a message, but after leaving the message did not end the call correctly and could then be heard denegrating and "bad mouthing" me. This was recorded on a mobile phone voicemail.
I was allowed 1 hour visit on that week and staff kept me in the office away from the child I was to see for 20 minutes of the time for the visit as well as the time I was early.
FASCIA was approached about many improper actions of this centre. A manager sacked and staff re-educated in correct practices. Unfortunately in the complaining to FASCIA all visits were cancelled due to "no vacancy" at the centre and it took 6 months to see child unsupervised (when the mother admitted there was no reason for supervision).
My apologies to the Albury Family court. The person deserving the good kick up the clacker is of course Harman FM.

From Kalimnadancer's post it seems that I'm not the only one who's experienced interference with contact at a contact centre. Makes ya proud to be an Aussie…
@Craigo & Secretary SPCA

Contact Centres have fairly strict policies and guidelines they need to adhere to for all sorts of very good reasons.

A parents compliance or non-compliance with service delivery guidelines is a really big thing.

Parents that challenge contact centre service delivery guidelines and don't follow directions/instructions etc. are seen as a potential THREAT.

You would have signed an undertaking to the contact centre to comply with the terms of service delivery. You refused to fill out a form prior to the commencement of contact - on the first occasion you spent time with your child at the centre.

You applied the term 'stockholm syndrome'.

I'm a 6'3" Maori with a shaved head. My mere presence can make people feel uncomfortable - and when I'm not smiling - some would find me threatening.

So for me, I have to sometimes go out of my way to make people feel comfortable about me.

During my time at Interrelate I had to go out of my way to make the staff feel comfortable about me.

There were some very frustrating moments I had to deal with. And I had to bite my tongue, put a smile on my face and just go with the flow.

Because I had complied with contact centre guidelines - in the final few months at the centre - I was allowed to take my daughter for 'off-site' contact visits. I was able to take her to a nearby park, accompanied by a contact centre supervisor.

Compliance in a contact centre setting is a major deal. Compliance a key indicator in assessing threat and security levels.






4MYDAUGHTER
Should we be asking judges and magistrates to order all paperwork to be completed prior to actual  contact time so as to maximise contact time with children as in most instances contact at a contact centre happens after extraordinarily large lengths of time where no contact has taken place.

As for contact centre staff feeling threatened I would have to say get a new job. Contact centre staff surely must have training re confrontations  etc therefore I would have to assume they have also had significant training to understand what is threatening behavior and what is not.

Another case of Power being abused Just as if you are speaking to a police officer and they  can arrest you for hindering  them in there work or terminate a call simply by saying  that you have raised your voice to them despite having other witnesses who disagree.

Is the judge going to put the contact centre staff member on the stand and  allow the person they have accused's solicitor or barrister question why they chose to do paperwork during contact time when the parent was present 15 mins or longer before this time? I think not.

This abuse of power is another way of the system enabling parental alienation.

As for Craigo's comment regarding having to  get on youre hands and knees and kiss everyone from youre ex to the judge to the contact centre staff to the schoolteacher etc's feet everytime youre within 50 km's of them just so you can spend time with youre kids I agree wholeheartedly. It speaks volumes for the way our system works if this is what is needed to spend time with youre kids after seperation. Is it really in the best interest of  our children to see the parent they spend time with to have to back down  like a nice doggie and take the scraps they are allowed  all the time?

You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cant fool all of the people all of  the time unless they work for CSA and youre a Payee:)
Leroy, you are angry and I can see that. Probably with reason. I hope things improve.
4mydaughter I know the contact centre involved and the ONLY reason that you were given any lee way was because your Ex allowed this to occur or gave permission. Their practice was (and probably still is) to 100% only allow the wishes of the residential parent in all areas.
My time at this contact centre was not under court order, but voluntary as it was the only way the other parent would allow contact. Court procedure was very slow and a lot of valuablt time was lost - over 12 months.
Also I had to travel 6 hours in a day for each contact and the mother 10 minutes. So yes time was precious.
4mydaughter said
Parents that challenge contact centre service delivery guidelines and don't follow directions/instructions etc. are seen as a potential THREAT.
Actually, the THREAT was that if I didn't do exactly as I was told at all times, In would not be able to see my children. I don't lnow about you, but I reckon being told "do what you're told without any questions asked or else" is the sort of thing that belongs in prison camps and totalitarian regimes, not in a Western nation.

The centre involved didn't say anything about being threatened or anything else, simply saying they could "no longer offer me a service" because I was "not cooperative". It's nice that you reckon that's OK, but I reckon it stinks.

4mydaughter said
You refused to fill out a form prior to the commencement of contact
No, I asked if it could wait. I had already been to an "intake interview" where I filled out reams of forms and was made to sit quietly while the Chief Warde…manager told me what I had to do "or else". If there were additional forms, why weren't they provided then? How many forms does it take to provide such a service?

For the record, I'm not a 6'3" Maori, I'm a 5'11" Caucasian Australian born Australian citizen. I have never made any threat of any kind to anyone and I don't scare people with my presence - not even children. Your point is not well made.

4mydaughter said
Because I had complied with contact centre guidelines - in the final few months at the centre - I was allowed to take my daughter
How nice for you that the gulag staff regarded you as a "trusty". I'm afraid I don't see that as something worth the aspiration though.

To get back to the topic, does anyone really think this was a good judgement and if so, why? How did it advance anyone's interests?
I reckon your experience probably stinks too. The whole custody/family law system probably sticks. But at the end of the day, its the only one there is and the system that we all have to deal with. So I'd suggest whether or not it stinks is irrelevant.

The nature of the game is the one we are stuck with.

The objective of 'the game' is to 'maintain contact' with your child and don't do anything or behaviour in a manner that would put that objective in jeopardy. Contact Centres are privately run organisations. They are under no obligation to have you at the contact centre what-so-ever.

For the record, I'm not a 6'3" Maori, I'm a 5'11" Caucasian Australian born Australian citizen. I have never made any threat of any kind to anyone and I don't scare people with my presence - not even children. Your point is not well made.

My point is fairly straight-forward. I felt had to go out of my way to make the staff at the contact centre feel comfortable and safe about me and around me. My 'strategy' and 'attitude' was to make everybody feel good in an environment that is not altogether pleasant for everyone. Sometimes I'd bring in fruit or food and share it with the staff and other parents and kids at the centre. I tried to influence matters such that everyone was having fun. I get the staff to participate in games. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I would comply with every direction given - and with a smile.

And after a period of time - after having won everyone over and having complied with the rules - I then found myself in a space where if rules need to be bent - they would be bent in my favour.

And finally - when the contact centre notes and reports were presented in evidence in the family court proceedings - all the material painted me in a very positive way and there was not one adverse instance noted me in this material that the mother could use against in court.

I'd suggest that as a parent wishing to spend time with their children - like you and the father in the matter of Patino & Griego - would/will/should do what ever is necessary and required in order to spend time with their child. Isn't that the most important thing?

How nice for you that the gulag staff regarded you as a "trusty". I'm afraid I don't see that as something worth the aspiration though.

Don't hate the player. Hate the game.

4MYDAUGHTER
Craigo certainly makes interesting points worth considering and in fact one problem in reading a judgement like this is the lack of attached material, reports, affidavits, police files etc..

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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