The Family Justice Review Committee is opposed to all forms of violence and is particularly concerned that children do not suffer from the effects of domestic violence, either directly or indirectly. In the area of custody and access we believe that the removal or restriction of a parent's contact with his/her child is a draconian measure which should only be taken when there is clear and convincing evidence to show that there is a direct risk to the child.
Allegations of violence towards parents and allegations of sexual abuse against children are frequently made in order to gain an advantage in the court litigation process. False allegations of abuse are commonly known as the weapons of first choice in the family courts today. Unfortunately, too many people use these unethical tactics which ultimately, in most cases, only cause life-long damage to their own children.
In the vast majority of cases where domestic violence is alleged, it is by mothers using this weapon to keep a father from seeing children. The failure of the justice system to effectively deal with with those who use false allegations has created an environment where this tactic is being used without any fear at all. This abuse in itself results in higher levels of domestic violence. Abuse of process to gain power and control over another person is recognized as one of the leading causes of conflict as no person wants to be a victim causes by someone else's lie.
Many children lose contact with one of their parents (usually fathers) as a result, irrespective of the truth, for such criminal allegations are rarely examined properly in family law cases. The court may in some cases order the use of a visitation center if one is available, or order supervised contact, indirect contact, or even no contact. An unsubstantiated allegation of domestic violence is therefore a key weapon for those wishing to obstruct justice and to break a parents bond with their child. Figures indicate that up to 40% of post-separation mothers admit to thwarting the children's contact with their fathers and extended families.
Many studies world-wide shows that both men and women report broadly similar levels of domestic violence against them and that in most cases it is the woman who initiate conflict which often leads up to a domestic violence situation.
The Family Justice Review Committee believes that one of the of the basic tools to reduce domestic violence is to ensure fairness, justice and equality throughout the entire process of dealing with family law related issues. Policies and procedures developed and promoted by the Committee are designed to meet this goal.