In a growing chorus of alarm, national experts in child protecting including NGOs, advocacy groups, legal professionals, academics and combined men’s and women’s parenting groups across Australia have joined voices to call for a Royal Commission into the family law system.
Hetty Johnston AM, Bravehearts founder, made the announcement on Universal Children’s Day, 20th November, at Brisbane’s State Library as scores of events were held around the nation to demonstrate public support to “Step Up for Kids” (#StepUp). Participants joined together to demand a safe and transparent child protection system in Australia.
Earlier this month UNICEF’s Children’s Report called out government breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, labelling Australia’s child protection system as “failing”.
Hetty Johnston said, “the current family law system is the most dangerous institution Australia has ever seen. We have lobbied for years for a Royal Commission after seeing too many children exposed to sexual assault, serious harm and even death”.
Dr Deborah Walsh, Lecturer and Domestic and Family Violence Specialist at the University of Queensland, said she is hoping to see a Royal Commission in the near future. “It is without any hesitation that I co-sign the letter requesting a Royal Commission into Australia’s Family Law System,” Dr Walsh told Bravehearts. “For far too long women and children victims of domestic and family violence have suffered and, indeed, been tortured by the family law system.”
Hetty said the national show of support is indicative of the level of concern being expressed by those in the current system. “From the very top to the bottom and those on the sidelines, all share grave concerns and many have publicly labelled the system as ‘in crisis’,” Hetty said.
With a federal election on the way, now is the perfect time for all Australians to show they care about child safety in the family law system. “The entire family law system is dysfunctional, deadly and broken,” said Hetty. “Most involved in this system know how bad it is and yet our national leaders, despite their seemingly sincere words at the National Apology, seem content to turn the other cheek. The rot needs to be exposed. We cannot betray nor abandon these children.”
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