Wolford & Attorney-General’s Dept (Cth) 2014 FamCAFC 197

A mother who had lived with the father in England appealed against an order requiring her to return to England with her two young children.  The mother reported that she had been subjected to verbal and emotional abuse from the father when they lived together.  The mother was concerned that if she returned to England then the children would be exposed to a risk of adverse consequences, in part because of her own increased stress, depression and anxiety.  The mother submitted a treatment report from a treating psychologist whom she had seen on 8 occasions in Australia.  While the trial judge accepted that there was some risk to the children if they returned to England, the judge ruled that the risk did not meet the criterion of being a ‘grave risk of harm’ (unacceptable risk)

The judge noted that the mother had experienced depression while living in England and this had been treated using medication and counselling.  The mother had some relatives in England, although these were not her preferred relatives for providing support when she had young children.  There was an agreement that the mother would not live with the father on her return to England.

The appeal was dismissed.