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Mediator Suggested contacting DOCS

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My Husband has a 4yr old Daughter with a woman who he had a short term relationship with.  Things are a bit of a mess right now in regards to him having any relationship at all with his daughter so we have started the mediation process.  My husband went to meeting to discuss the issues with the mediator to see if they are things that could be worked out with mediation.  One issue that came up was her safety which is obviously quite a concern and of the safety issues the most worrying one is her oldest half brother (aged 11) was sexually abused by his uncle for a number of years before the abuse was discovered.  The abuse was never reported and the Oldest Half Brother never received help for what happened to him the concern being that he may carry on the behavior he learn with his sister.  On explaining this and other safety concerns to the mediator she felt My Husband should seek legal advise (currently in the process and have no idea who to go to) and contact DOCS.  I am a bit worried about contacting DOCS having heard horror stories about them and I wondered if anybody else has dealt with them and how did they find them.

Has the uncle ever been convicted for this sexual abuse?

There are so many questions that would be needed to be ask regarding reporting things to DOC's too many to say whether this would be the right thing to do, did the mediator suggest that he approached mediation with the mother of his child ???

If he has attended the mediators to find information and advise on what is legally expected that he do if concerns are legitimate the the person may have suggested going to a lawyer for legal advice and then off to DOC's if there was still concern but all this is just a guess of probability and not a suggestion of direction.

Although it may not be a popular view there is always a need to question where and why this information comes to hand and it's validity.

In some situations the child may be manipulated to agree with what an adults opinion is.

No doubt as this has not been reported it will easily be denied and if it never happened the boy may show none of the things you fear.

By all means if you really feel abuse is happening then something must be done.

Perhaps mediation may be one avenue to ask these questions ?
The uncle (mothers brother) was never charged for anything.  She covered it up but does not have anything to do with her brother anymore and the oldest half brother had/has some behavior issues so I think it is more probable that the sexual abuse happened.  My Husband found this out when he was in the relationship with his Ex my feeling is that because nothing was ever said to outside authorities about what had happened something like this may well end up in a he said she said type of thing.  The mediator on talking to my husband was concerned enough about what he told her that she wanted him to seek legal advise on that issue and then call DOCS. She did not suggest bring it up in mediation and also said depending on what DOCS say she will issue a certificate and he can take things from there which I assume would mean court/ legal action.  I on the other hand think its kind of blindsided my husband in his attempt to start mediation with his Ex.  I would rather get the mediation started and try to work through some of the many other issues that are of concern as I think if these safety issues are brought up it will be all that get focused on.  For me I think it would be better to gain contact again and we would get a better feel for how things are going for her (4yr old daughter) as there may be nothing going on but at the same time its hard because you would not want to any child in an environment that compromises there well-being.  
You are wise fixingthings I hope your partner listens to your council.

I have known of several fathers who have had similar tactics used against them to bi-pass mediation though it is easier for the mothers to use this tactic it still needs cautious action like it or not it is still a bias system at this point in time.

I can vouch for how much a concern it is to have your child in a position where they may be in an environment that will possibly cause them harm as I can vouch for the need to accept certain aspects of their life with the other parent.

It is never easy and as you have said developing a good relationship with the child as well as contact is paramount to establish if they are indeed in harms way.

Even though I understand how he feels I would still suggest mediation and now you have explained a little more I would also suggest that addressing the subject at this point would not be the best due to the expected outcome and possible retaliation by the mother.

No parent wants their children in possible harms way but we also need to be sure that what we suspect has grounding and not just a feeling, unfortunately in some cases this does mean the child may suffer because of the system that exists initiating outdated gender bias control over the situation without taking concerns into account and falling back on " support the mother ". Not every case but DOC's have a worse reputation than exposed in the media in certain situations expressed by people I spoken to mainly fathers.

Using hear say as a base to a case is not the best situation especially if there is no proof, I would suggest that he consider caution and go through mediation as you have suggested, perhaps another opinion by others could be expressed or conformation to support how others feel would be the best emotional and legal option.

Support in this position for yourself is difficult because you are a partner and your opinion though very valid may not carry as much weight as another opinion so try to remember that it's not that your words do not carry common sense and good advice but simply your closeness sometimes means your words may not be heard.

Best of luck D4E
D4E Thank you for your reply.  We are  going to continue on with mediation but leave the safety issue out of things as it is a separate issue and should be dealt with away from the other issues but we are still going to talk to a lawyer about our concerns.

By chance we were talking to one of our neighbors and happens to work for DOCS as a case worker in the state we live in.  So my husband asked her about the gender bias and she said that was probably the least of the problems going on in the department across the country as the main ones are lack of staff, funds and foster parents.  She said she has cases where she knows the child or children are being sexually abused but she can't do anything about it because there are no foster parents so she has to leave them there.  She also said to call up the department in the state and area she is in (they live over 3000 km away) and make an anonymous report as they probably won't act one report, but the family may already be on their radar and having another person call may cause them to investigate the family.  So we are going to do that and it also leaves things open for us to take things further at another time if there is evidence of sexual abuse going on. 

We found out through internet researching (this is how we found out where she now located) that Miss 4 is attending kindergarten this year.  My other thought was to contact the kindergarten Miss 4 attends and talk to her teachers (my husband would need to prove who he with the birth certificate was to them as I am sure he is not listed as her father in her enrollment form) and let them know of the situation and ask them to keep an eye on her because at least they are an outside authority who she has regular contact with and my husband can talk to them about how she is etc.

I try to be as practical and sensible about the whole situation as possible but it can be hard not get upset about the whole mess as the Ex certainly knows how to be less than nice.  I get to a point that I can be a little kinder in my thoughts towards her than she will do something and I feel like doing everything we can from a legal family law point of view to nail her to a wall so she can't move an inch.  But I know that is not the best way work things out because the basic fact is she is the mother and Miss 4 loves her and that no matter how much of a ………. (I could insert quite a few descriptive words here) she is to my husband it comes back to that. Its also just not fair on Miss 4 to have either of her parents interfere with her relationship with either of her parents (although the mother has done a very good job at excluding my husband from his daughters life to the point she has no idea he exists or is her father).

Also a big thank you to everybody involved with this site it has been excellent for many reasons for us in our attempts so far to fix up the big mess surrounding Miss 4.
It's a sad state of affairs that children have to be left in this position those involved with DOC's I feel should express their situation publicly perhaps Mr Rudd would see this a greater need than building infrastructure and roads.

You may find the school has a copy of the birth certificate or information there from, I would however air caution on how you approach the school and your concerns, sometimes school administration can form opinions that are negative especially if his X has informed them you may call and use false allegations. You may find it better to speak to a local school counsellor on how best to approach the situation to benefit the child.

I know what you mean about " The comfort zone " there just is no rationality, it can sort a be like getting a pat one second then a belting the next you never know which one it is going to be and if you actually show any real effects it is used next time along with another issue.

You are right to accept a stance of not bringing issues into the childs life, even if the other parent does. Once there is contact the child will be grateful for the lack of antagonistic view of her other parent and thrive in a constructive environment.

I know it can be hard not to come to your husbands defence and aid as well as it being difficult not be upset by the treatment he receives but you are well set if you can manage, he is the one who controls his situation in these regards and sometime we men tend to allow our self to be berated for the future better good if this makes sense.

Best of luck to you both if you are in need of some more emotional support there is also the DID's forum which tends to deal more in support not regarding legal issues but to help people through trying to understand where they are in themselves.

All best D4E

school daze

Hi Fixingthings

Don't expect any help from the school. I have been through this one myself. The school doesn't want to get involved in the issues between Miss 4's parents. The school will most likely openly side with the custodial parent who they see each day picking up the child. The school won't do anything to help unless ordered to by the Family Court. If your husband's ex has succeeded in disassociating him from the child, as is the situation in my case, then you stand little chance of the school giving you the time of day.

The school that my daughter attends even states on their website that they will only supply school reports and information about the enrolled child to the custodial parent. My partner and I have found evidence that states that the school can't legally do that, but there it is on their website.

Good luck with it all

Pariah ;)
Guest said
The school won't do anything to help unless ordered to by the Family Court. If your husband's ex has succeeded in disassociating himfrom the child, as is the situation in my case, then you stand little chance of the school giving you the time of day.

The school that my daughter attends even states on their websitethat they will only supply school reports and information about the enrolled child to the custodial parent.
Please publish the URL link for the web site. We want to have a look at exactly what they are publishing. We have found schools generally to be pretty good when approached. The FLRA who have a community presence here on the site have a strong affiliation with schools and educational institutes and often a joint approach can make a change in these matters. The FLRA have had much input into the legislation and the legislation is on the site here. The main problem we have is that rules and legislation is not consistent over all states and the FLRA are attempting to get the NSW legislation implemented as the Federa template. Not an easy job either I might add reading some of the correspondence back from the respective Ministers.

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
Guest, please send the link by private message.

It would not do to identify such in a public forum.

It is very important that schools respect the requirement for parents to know and understand their children, so long as there are no issues with contact such as DVOs, AVOs and the like.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
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