Friday, 29 January 2010

Attorney-General McClelland speaks to ABC about family law reports

Attorney- General Robert McClelland spoke on AM this morning:

ATTORNEY-GENERAL


ROBERT McCLELLAND MP



INTERVIEW

ABC RADIO AM WITH LYNDAL CURTIS

FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2010



Subject: Family Law Reviews



TREMBATH: The Federal Attorney-General is moving to put the interests of children back at the centre of disputes over custody.



Robert McClelland has released a number of reports into the problems in the family law system, including how family violence is dealt with and a misunderstanding that shared parenting means a 50-50 split in custody. He's promising an education campaign, but is also prepared to change the law if needed.



Mr McClelland has told chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis, the assumption about 50-50 custody has affected the way people approach the courts.



McCLELLAND: It's being skewed in that people have approached it from the point of view of parents' rights, whereas consistently, the intention in family law has been what's in the best interests of the child.



So, it has been the case, the evidence shows in these reports that, regrettably, there have been instances where people have resolved cases, settled cases, on the assumption that the law intends an equal split of time.



CURTIS: How then do you fix it? Does it require a change to the law?



McCLELLAND: Well, there was different advice there.



The Family Law Council suggested an education program may be adequate, and, certainly, the reports themselves, highlight what the correct law is, that while the community supports and the law states the desirability of shared involvement or shared parental responsibility, the law isn't that the court presumes that there will be a sharing of time, and getting that message out will be first and foremost.



CURTIS: The report's also raised concerns about the way the courts deal with problems of family violence and allegations of family violence. Has enough been done or does there need to be legal change there?



McCLELLAND: On the facts, it's not occurring and that is an area of concern.



CURTIS: Not occurring in what way? It's not being treated as seriously as it should be, there are disincentives to people raising allegations of violence?



McCLELLAND: There are three suggested disincentives.



One is a technical document called a ‘Form 4’ that needs to be filed before the issue is activated. But there is also a potential cost disincentive if the allegation is made and not sustained. There is also a provision that considers where the parent has been a ‘cooperative parent’ as a factor considered by the court.



CURTIS: Is a result of this that children are going back into violent homes?



McCLELLAND: The answer to that is, potentially, and it needs to be addressed.



CURTIS: There will be some people who will be disappointed that the idea, the possibility of 50-50 custody seems to be being moved away from. How do you address their concerns that their rights will be adequately addressed?



McCLELLAND: Well, I'm going to say up front, that the rights that the legislation and the Parliament is most concerned with are the rights of children.



While the Parliament has, and continues to reflect the community desire that there be shared parental responsibility, at the end of the day, it is for judges and magistrates to decide what is in the interests of each specific child who is in front of them in each specific case.



It' is not for Parliament or any interest group to declare presumptions as to what is in the best interests of each and every child.



The best interest of each and every child needs to be considered in the context of that specific child, and that will be the focus of any reforms.



TREMBATH: The Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, speaking to Lyndal Curtis.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Family Law: system ain't broke but much needs to be done: 3 reports

Today was a big day in family law. Today Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland released three reports into how the 2006 children's amendments to the Family Law Act have worked in practice, including how the Family Law Act  responds to issues of violence and abuse.

The reports were by:
  • The Australian Institute of Family Studies. This review was part of the process of the 2006 changes. The conclusion- generally it's a good thing that fewer people are arguing in court, but the system has a long way to go in delaing with domestic violence cases.
  • The Family Law Council - which recommends systemic changes to assist in tackling violence issues, including suggesting a power to the Family and Federal Magistrates Courts requiring the state Departments of Child Safety to be parties in those cases, whether the Departments want to or not. This report came about due to the death of Darcey Freeman who died after being thrown off Melbourne's Westgate Bridge last year.
  • Professor Richard Chisholm. The report by the joint Commonwealth/State inquiry by academic and former Family Court judge Richard Chisholm as to how the Family Law Act responds to domestic violence. He suggested that the current approach of the various children's sections of the Family Law Act is far too complex, as we all know, and that there should be a new shopping list under s.60CC, including abolition of the friendly parent concept.
I have set out below the summaries of recommendations of each of the reports. In the next few days I will spend some more time going through and analysing each of the reports. Here goes...

The AIFS recommends:

The evaluation evidence indicates that the 2006 reforms to the family law system have had a


positive impact in some areas and have had a less positive impact in others. Overall, there is

more use of relationship services, a decline in filings in the courts in children’s cases, and some

evidence of a shift away from an automatic recourse to legal solutions in response to postseparation

relationship difficulties.

A significant proportion of separated parents are able to sort out their post-separation

arrangements with minimal engagement with the formal system. There is also evidence that

FDR [ Don't you love jargon? Not Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but family dispute resolution] is assisting parents to work out their parenting arrangements.



No, not him

A central point, however, is that many separated families are affected by issues such as family

violence, safety concerns, mental health problems and substance misuse issues, and these

families are the predominant users of the service and legal sectors. In relation to these families,

resolution of post-separation disputes presents some complex issues for the family law system

as whole, and the evaluation has identified ongoing challenges in this area. In particular,

professional practices and understandings in relation to identifying matters where FDR should

not be attempted require continuing development. This is an area where collaboration between

relationship service professionals, family law system professionals and courts needs to be

facilitated so that shared understandings about what types of matters are not suitable for FDR

can be developed and so that other options can be better facilitated.

Beyond effective screening, possible ways forward include:

■■ continued development of protocols for the sharing of information within the family

relationship service sector and between the sector and other critical areas, such as child

protection;

■■ development of protocols for cooperation between family relationship service professionals

and independent children’s lawyers;

■■ development of protocols for cooperation between family relationship service professionals

and lawyers acting as advocates for individual parents;23

■■ a considerably improved capacity in courts to solicit or provide high-quality assessments

that will assist them to make safe, timely and child-focused decisions, especially at the

interim stage; and

■■ consideration of whether (and if so how) information already gained via sometimes extensive screening procedures within the family relationship service sector can be used by

judicial officers or by those providing court assessments to assist in the process of judicial

determination.

While communication in relation to privileged and confidential disclosures made in assessment

and FDR processes raises some complex questions, investigation of how such communication

could potentially occur may be an avenue for achieving greater coordination and ensuring

expeditious handling of these matters. Currently, much relevant information may be collected

by family relationship service professionals in screening and assessment processes, but this

information is not transmissible between professionals in this sector and professionals in the

legal sector, or between other agencies and services responsible for providing assistance.

Effectively, families who move from one part of the system to the other often have to start all

over again. For families already under stress as a result of family violence, safety concerns and

other complex issues, this may delay resolution and compound disadvantages.

Effective responses to families where complex issues exist entail ensuring they have access

to appropriate services to not only resolve their parenting issues but also deal with the wider

issues affecting the family. Such responses involve identifying such concerns and assisting such

parents to use the dispute resolution mechanism that is most appropriate for their circumstances.

Effective responses should ensure that the parenting arrangements put in place for children in

families with complex issues are appropriate to the children’s needs and do not put their short or

long-term wellbeing at risk. Further examination of the needs and trajectories of families who are unsuitable for FDR would assist in identifying what measures are required to assist

these families (to some extent, LSSF W2 2009 may assist with this). A key question is the extent

to which such families then access the legal/court system and whether there are barriers or

impediments (e.g., financial or personal) to them doing so.

The evidence of poorer wellbeing for children where there are safety concerns—across the

range of parenting arrangements, but particularly acutely in shared care-time arrangements—

highlights the importance of identifying families where safety concerns are pertinent and

assisting them in making arrangements that promote the wellbeing of their children.

This evaluation has highlighted the complex and varied issues faced by separating parents and

their children and the diverse range of services required in order to ensure the best possible

outcomes for children. Ultimately, while there are many perspectives within the family law

system and, many conflicting needs, it is important to maintain the primacy of focusing on the

best interests of children and protecting all family members from harm.


Family Law Council recommends:
 
The report recommends:


_ The definition of “family violence” in the Family Law Act be widened to include

a range of threatening behaviour.

_ That the Attorney General establish an expert panel under the direction of the

Australian Institute of Family Studies to create an easy-to-understand

“common knowledge base” on the known patterns and effects of family

violence. This easily accessible information will assist to provide common and

up-to-date information to all those involved in the family relationship and

legal systems, including parents, relatives, counsellors, mediators, FRCS, legal

aid officers, lawyers and courts.

_ The Law Council of Australia and the Family Law Council co-operate to revise

the booklet “Best Practice Guidelines for Lawyers Doing Family Law Work” to

incorporate detailed information on family violence.

_ A number of reforms take place to improve co-ordination and collaboration

between the state and territory child protection agencies, and the federal

Family Law Act, including: the transportability of state family violence

injunctive orders; the establishment of a national register of family and

violence orders ; and the establishment of a network data base which records

family violence orders, and a residual family court power to require state

Child Protection Agencies to become parties to Family Law Court proceedings

about children.

_ A further report be prepared on whether FDRP should be required to provide a

report to the Family Law Courts or other bodies in some or all structure where

family violence is admitted or suspected.

_ The forms notifying the Family Law Courts about family violence be simplified.

_ Consideration be given on how to educate the Australian public about certain

widespread misunderstandings of the Family Law Act including:

o Recurrent gossip that notification of family violence may lead to a

judicial perception that the notifier is an “unfriendly parent”

o Widespread perception that each parent now has a “starting right” to

equal time (50/50) with children

o Common belief that a parent will receive both substantial time with a

child, and equal shared parental responsibility, (similar to historic

“guardianship”), despite a history of poor communication and hostility

between parents; and despite the long term health and emotional

consequences for children as casualties on such parental battlefields.

These recommendations of the Family Law Council will need to be amalgamated with

the various reports on family violence emerging in the next year.

Professor Chisholm recommends:

(The recommendations start at 2.1. There are no recommendations before that.)


Recommendation 2.1

That whatever steps are taken in relation to the future of the Family Court of Australia

and the Federal Magistrates Court, the Government should ensure that the federal

court or courts administering family law have judicial officers with an understanding

of family law and a desire to work in that field, and procedures and resources

specifically adapted to the requirements of family law, and particularly to the

requirements of cases involving issues of family violence.

Recommendation 2.2

That the family law courts conduct a thorough review of their procedures and

practices in parenting cases, especially those involving issues of family violence, and

that the Government provide the necessary resources to support such a review.

Recommendation 2.3

That the Government consider amending s 60K so that it provides that in each

parenting case the court must conduct a risk identification and assessment, rather than providing for the filing of a document that will require the courts to take particular actions.

Recommendation 2.4

That the Government consider the most appropriate ways of conducting such a risk

identification and assessment, having regard to the resources available to the courts,

and to the possibility of arranging for the assessment of risk to be conducted in part or

whole by an external agency.

Recommendation 2.5

That the Government consider amending provisions of the Act relating to the

confidentiality of information held by agencies outside the court, including dispute resolution agencies, so that information relevant to the assessment of the risks from

violence or other causes could be more readily available to the courts.

Recommendation 2.6

That the Government consider providing the family courts with the additional

resources necessary to ensure that adequate attention can be given to children’s cases

in interim proceedings, especially cases involving allegations of family violence.

PART 3 (LEGISLATION)

Recommendation 3.1

That if recommendations 3.3 and 3.4 are adopted, section 63DA be replaced by a

simpler provision, in substance directing advisers to have regard to the principles

stated in the Act about the best interests of children; and if recommendations 3.3 and

3.4 are not adopted, s 63DA be amended to emphasise the need to ensure the safety of

children and family members.

Recommendation 3.2

That s 117AB be repealed, and consideration be given to amending s 117 to make

specific reference to the giving of knowingly false evidence, for example by inserting

a new paragraph in subsection (2A) to the following effect: ‘Whether a party has

knowingly given false evidence in the proceedings’.

Recommendation 3.3

That the Government give consideration to retaining the present provisions relating to

parental responsibility (ss 61B, 61C, and 61DA), but amending the Act so that the

guidelines for determining arrangements for the care of children (s 60CC) are

independent of the provisions dealing with parental responsibility, and amending

s 61DA so that it creates a presumption in favour of each parent having “parental

responsibility”.

Recommendation 3.4

That the Government give consideration to amending s 60CC to provide, in substance,

as follows:

(1) In considering what parenting orders to make, the court must not assume that any

particular parenting arrangement is more likely than others to be in the child’s

best interests, but should seek to identify the arrangements that are most likely to

advance the child’s best interests in the circumstances of each case.

(2) In considering what parenting orders to make, the court must take into account

the following matters, so far as they are relevant:

(a) any views expressed by the child concerning the child’s relationship with

each parent and with other persons, and about any other matters that are

important to the child;

(b) the nature of the relationship of the child with each of the child’s parents,

and with other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the

child);

(c) the benefit the child has received, and is likely to receive, from a meaningful

relationship with both of the child’s parents;

(d) the capacity and willingness of each parent or other relevant person to

provide for the child’s safety, welfare and well-being, and the extent to

which each of the child’s parents has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, his or her

responsibilities as a parent;

(e) any likely advantages to the child if each parent regularly spends time with

the child on weekdays as well as weekends and holidays, and is involved in

the child’s daily routine and occasions and events that are of particular

significance to the child;

(f) the likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including any

separation from either parent or any other child or adult with whom the child

has been living;

(g) the maturity, sex, lifestyle and background (including lifestyle, culture and

traditions) of the child and of either of the child’s parents, and any other characteristics of the child that the court thinks are relevant;

(h) whether it would be preferable to make the order that would be least likely to

lead to the institution of further proceedings in relation to the child; and

(i) any other fact or circumstance that the court thinks is relevant.

(3) In determining the extent to which each of the child’s parents has fulfilled, or

failed to fulfil, his or her responsibilities as a parent (paragraph (d)), the court

must consider, in particular, the extent to which each of the child’s parents:

(a) has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity to participate in making

decisions about major long-term issues in relation to the child; and to spend

time and communicate with the child;

(b) has facilitated, or failed to facilitate, the other parent in making decisions

about major long-term issues in relation to the child, and spending time and

communicating with the child; and

(c) has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, the parent’s obligation to maintain the child.

(4) If the child is an Aboriginal child or a Torres Strait Islander child, the court must

also take into account the child’s right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres

Strait Islander culture (including the right to enjoy that culture with other people

who share it), and the likely impact any proposed parenting order under this Part

will have on that right.

For the purpose of this subsection, the child’s right to enjoy his or her Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture includes the right:

(a) to maintain a connection with that culture;

(b) to have the support, opportunity and encouragement necessary to explore

the full extent of that culture, consistent with the child’s age and

developmental level and the child’s views; and

15

(c) to develop a positive appreciation of that culture.

Recommendation 3.5

That if Recommendation 3.4 is not adopted, s 60CC(3)(c) be amended to read:

(c) the capacity and willingness of each parent to provide for the developmental

needs of the child in the circumstances of each case, taking into account,

among other things, children’s need for safety and the benefits of a close and

continuing relationship with both parents.

Recommendation 3.6

That if Recommendation 3.4 is not adopted, the Government strengthen the

provisions of the Act relating to family violence, including more detail about the

nature and consequences of family violence, and that it consider in this connection

adapting some of the provisions of Victorian or other state and territory legislation

relating to family violence.

Recommendation 3.7

That the Government give consideration to revising s 60B(2).

Recommendation 3.8

That the Government undertake a technical revision of Part VII of the Family Law

Act and related provisions, with a view to clarifying and simplifying the law.

PART 4 (OTHER MATTERS)

Recommendation 4.1

That the Government consider the desirability of providing additional funding in

relation to the family law system, including funding that would support the work of

contact centres, family dispute resolution agencies, legal aid, and family consultants

in reducing the risk of family violence.

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Recommendation 4.2

That the Government provide the necessary funding and other assistance so that the

family law courts can review the adequacy of existing policies, facilities and

arrangements for the safety of people in the courts, and address any deficiencies or

difficulties revealed by that review.

Recommendation 4.3

That the Government, the family law courts, and other agencies and bodies forming

part of the family law system consider ways in which those working in the family law

system might be better educated in relation to issues of family violence.

Recommendation 4.4

That experience and knowledge of family violence be taken into account when

considering the appointment of persons to significant positions in organisations

forming part of the family law system.

Recommendation 4.5

That in the funding and administration of legal aid, careful consideration should be

given to the serious implications of parties, and especially children, being legally

unrepresented.

Recommendation 4.6

That organisations of lawyers and bodies responsible for legal education give due

weight to the importance of including programs about issues relating to family

violence, including its effects on children.

Recommendation 4.7

That consideration be given to amending s 118 to enable the court to entertain such an

application of its own motion.

Recommendation 4.8

That the family law courts review the extent to which judicial officers in the Family

Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court use and benefit from the Best

Practice Principles for use in Parenting Disputes when Family Violence or Abuse is

Alleged, and consider any measures that might lead to the Principles becoming more

influential.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Family Court judges can now be forced to take a break, counselling

Recent changes give the heads of the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court the power to force other judges to deliver judgments on time, take a break, and if necessary go to counselling.

The changes, to the Family Law Act and the Federal Magistrates Act, have strengthened the hands of the Chief Justice and Chief Federal Magistrate respectively.

Under the changes:
  • the Chief Justice and Chief Federal Magistrate can do the following:
    • determine which judges are to sit on the Full Court, or the court in particular types of matters;
    • assign caseloads, classes of cases or particular functions to judges [ and no doubt the reverse- if the Chief Judge were of the view that a particular judge is not performing, remove caseloads or classes of cases];
    • temporarily restrict a judge to non-sitting duties [ for example if a judge is unable to perform due to personal issues, or needs more time to write judgments];
    • ensure that judges have annual checkups, short-term counselling, and judicial education.
  • the Family Law Act has also been amended so that the Chief Justice can now enter into contracts on behalf of the court up to $250,000 without first obtaining approval of the Attorney-General. This should speed up the paper trial of bureaucracy in many adminstrative steps.
The powers should hand to the chiefs potent weapons in particular to ensure that judgments are completed in a timely manner. Until these changes, the method of complaining about judges who did not deliver judgments within the usual 3 months was to have the President of the Law Society or Bar Association to write to the Chief Justice or Chief Federal Magistrate. It was hoped that the complaint, by shining a light on the delays of the slow judge, would cause that judge to speed up judgment. Unfortunately, that did not always happen. Sometimes, no doubt due to the extreme workload, judgment has been delivered up to a year after the trial.


In exercising their powers to move judges and their workloads around, the two chiefs in these new administrative powers, now have the usual immunity that they have as judges. This no doubt was included so as to avoid a repeat of the jailing (then release) of the then Queensland Chief Magistrate Di Fingleton. Ms Fingleton was prosecuted  out of a dispute which arose from her seeking to take action against a fellow magistrate. The High Court ultimately held that she was entitled to immunity and should not have been charged.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Family Court judge, magistrate, academic and child protector recognised on Australia Day

A retired Family Court judge, a prominent magistrate with a keen interest in child abuse and family violence a renowned legal academic and a woman who has devoted herself to the protection of children have been made Members of the Order of Australia in today's Australia Day list.

The judge is Justice Lloyd Waddy, who until his retirement last year sat as a Family Court judge at Parramatta.


The magistrate is Karen Fryer from Canberra.

The academic is US expatriate Professor Patricia Easteal from Canberra.

The child protector is Karen Flanagan from Victoria.



The Judge




The Honourable Justice Lloyd Stacy Waddy RFD


For service to the law, the constitutional debate, and to the community through a range of educational and arts organisations.

Judge, Family Court of Australia,  1998 to 2009.

Appointed Queen’s Counsel, 1988.

Settlor and Founding Councillor, Constitutional Education Fund of Australia, since 2004.

Foundation Chairman, Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, 1992-1998.

President and President, Law Graduates Association, University of Sydney, 1964-1998.

Assistant Secretary, Law Council of Australia, 1970-1974.

Chairman, St Paul’s College, University of Sydney, since 2006.

Foundation Vice-Chairman, St Paul's College Foundation, since 1977; Fellow 1971.

Chairman, Kings School Council, 1996-1999; Governor since 1975.

Chairman, Elizabethan Theatre Trust, since 1992.

Director, Marionette Theatre, 1974-1988.

Vice-President, Royal Agricultural Society, since 1993; Councillor, since 1975; served on a number of committees including Disciplinary Committee; Cat Committee, 1979-1993, Education and Projects Committee, 1994-1996; Publicity Committee, 1978-1987; Arts and Crafts Committee, 1986-1995; and Agricultural Societies Committee, 1991-2002.

President, Australia-Britain Society, 1989-1992; Vice-President 1976-1989.

Awards/recognition include:

Reserve Force Decoration, long service award presented to officers in the Reserve elements of the Australian Defence Force.


The Magistrate
Ms Karen Margaret Fryar

For service to the community of the Australian Capital Territory as a magistrate and through contributions to the prevention of family violence.

Appointed to the ACT Magistrates Court in 1993.

- Coordinating Magistrate, Family Violence List, since 2000.

- Instrumental in the production of the ACT Family Violence Practice Direction.

- Leadership role in the Family Violence Intervention Program, since 1998.

Member, National Leadership Group, National White Ribbon Campaign, since 2004.

Assistant Executive Officer, Legal Aid ACT, 1989-1993.

Judicial Member, ACT Bar Association, since 1993.

Member, ACT Law Society, 1982-1992.

Awards/recognition include:

Recipient, ACT International Women's Day Award, ACT Government, 2008; for her contributions to the ACT community in the delivery of law and justice, particularly in the area of family violence.



The Academic



Professor Patricia Lynn Easteal

Faculty of Law, University of Canberra
For service to the community, education and the law through promoting awareness and understanding of violence against women, discrimination and access to justice for minority groups.

Member, ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council, 2002-2009.

Member, Reference Group Meeting on Violence and Safety Issues for Women, ACT Government; Member, ACT Corrections Inter-sectoral Group on Women and Prison.

Member, Reference Group, Women's Safety Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Member, Committee, Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, 'for a decade'; Access and Equity Researcher 1998-1999.

Member, Management Committees, Toora and Doris Women's Refuges, for several years.

Executive Director, Women's Resource Centre, Norman Oklahoma.

Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Canberra, since 2008; Convenor of the Honours Program, since 2006; Adjunct Professor of Law, 2001-2008.

Visiting Fellow, Law Faculty, Australian National University, 1995-2002; Course organiser and lecturer, Centre for Continuing Education, 1996-2001; Visiting Fellow, Sociology Department, 1989-1991.

Senior Criminologist, Australian Institute of Criminology, 1991-1995; Criminologist, 1990.

Recent research projects include Relocation cases in Family Court; The Age Discrimination Act; Credibility and Sexual Harassment; Discrimination Law in the ACT employment context; History of the ACT Council of Social Services; Partner rape; Women and Gambling problems; Women interacting with the Australian legal system as defendants, victims and practitioners; andAccess of migrants, the elderly and disabled to the criminal justice system.

Recent expert evidence, advice and submissions include:

Submission to the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children, 2008.

Advice and drafting on proposal to Law Council on female court appearance survey, Australian Women Lawyers, 2007.

Research and advice on Indigenous women and sexual violence by a partner, Upper Murray CASA and Women's Health Goulburn North East, 2006.

Volunteer research, ACT Human Rights Office, 2006.

Report and testimony on battered women who kill, NSW Legal Aid Office, 2005.

Submission on domestic violence and the law, Amnesty International, 2004.

Submission on homicide defences, Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2003.

Professor Easteal has written 11 books including Women and the Law in Australia (in preparation for publication in 2010); edited a further 3; and published over 100 academic journal articles.

Other books include:

Real Rape, Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners, 2006.

Less than Equal:Women and the Australian Legal System 2001.

Balancing the Scales: Rape, Law Reform and Australian Culture, 1998.

Shattered Dreams, Marital Violence Against Women: The Overseas-born in Australia,1996.

Voices of the Survivors, 1994.

Killing the Beloved: Homicide between Adult Sexual Intimates, 1993.

The Forgotten Few: Migrant Women in Australian Prisons,1992.

Member, Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, since 1996.

Member, Australian Institute of Health Law and Ethics, 1996-2000.

Member, Australian Academy of Forensic Science, since 2007.

Member, Australasian Law Teachers Association, since 2004.

Member, Australian Council of Social Service (ACT), since 2001.

Member, Australian Institute for Women's Research and Policy, 1993.

Member, National Women's Justice Coalition, 1995-2000.

Member, Australian Women's Electoral Lobby, 2001-2005.

Awards/recognition include:

ACT Woman of the Year, 2001.

Carrick Institute Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, 2007.

Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, University of Canberra, 2007.

Australia Learning and Teaching Council Award for Teaching Excellence, 2008.

Nominated for Human Rights Medal, 2008.

Her books Voices of the Survivors and Less than Equal:Women and the Australian Legal System were nominated for the Human Rights Medal in 1991 and 2004 respectively.



The Child Protector
 
Ms Karen  Flanagan, Victoria

For service to the community in the area of child protection through contributions to policy and program development and legislative reform.

Child Protection Program Manager, Child Wise, 2003-2009; Board Member, since 2000; volunteer, for several years.

International Training Consultant in the United Kingdom, Asian and Pacific nations.

Researched and wrote the draft AusAID Child Protection Policy which was officially launched in 2008.

Designed and wrote the Child Protection Audit System to enable organisations and communities to develop policies and implement strategies to reduce the risk of child abuse.

Manager, Sexual Abuse Counselling and Prevention Program, Children's Protection Society, 1996-2003.

Researched, designed, and implemented, Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Program, 1993-1996.

Involved in program design and model of operation, Adolescent Sex Offender Treatment Program, 1994.

Involved with the planning and program design, 1st National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse, 1994.

Developed a range of training packages delivered around Australia and overseas, 1993-2003.

Senior Consultant, Child Protection Training Team, Department of Human Services, 1990-1992.

Acting Coordinator, Child Protection Unit, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne; Social Worker; employed 1986-1990.

Board Member, KIDs.ap, since 2000.

Founding Member, Victorian Offender Treatment Association, 1993-1998.

Founding Member, Victorian Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, 1983-1987.
 

Monday, 25 January 2010

Top 10 discipline methods NOT to use on your kids- the Ozarks one is amazing. Thanks to Michael Rich. http://ow.ly/102tx

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Back into it

I hope everyone has had a chance of a break over Christmas. Thankfully I did, and will have plenty of new posts in 2010. Two things are certain:
  • the Family and Federal Magistrates Courts will continue to publish judgments at such a frenetic pace that it will remain impossible for virtually everyone to keep up; and
  • there will be changes to family law in 2010. Whether this is just in case law, or in statute remains to be seen. Family law continues to remain topic du jour amongst MP's, so it's likely that there will be more statutory changes.