Lansdowne & Shannon 2014 FamCA 331
The father acknowledged that he had behaved towards the mother in a manner that was mean spirited and verbally abusive towards the mother at times, and that some of this behaviour had occurred in front of the children. The father at other times described the mother’s allegations of domestic violence and abuse as being “absurd” and “delusional” because they “completely twisted events,” leaving him with the view that he was “being framed.”
The father acknowledged that he had smashed a window at the family home, and when asked how the mother would feel, he replied that she would be frightened and then added that she would feel scared and intimidated as well.
The judge found that the father had initially minimised the effect of his aggression on family members. There was no suggestion that the children had been subjected to abuse or neglect.
The judge found that the father had frequently engaged in verbal abuse of the mother and had used nasty, denigrating and foul language towards her, and that this amounted to family violence. The judge found that the family violence the children had been exposed to was not coercive controlling violence but was situational violence. A consultant had not observed signs of trauma in the children (child traumatised).
The judge was not satisfied that the reported level of family violence posed an unacceptable risk that would prevent allocation of equal shared parental responsibility or prevent the children from spending time with the father as both the mother and father proposed.
The judge found that it was in the best interests of the children to issue an order for equal shared parental responsibility.
The judge issued an order for targeted counselling to build the children’s resilience and ability to cope with changes in their two households (therapy for child).