Healey & McGreary 2007 FamCA 501

Following their separation, a mother alleged that their child had been subject to sexual abuse by the father.  The child was aged 9 years at the time of later hearings.

In an initial hearing the judge found no evidence that this abuse had occurred, and found that the mother had an obsessive view that the father had abused the child.  The judge made no specific finding about abuse.  The judge ordered that the child live with the father.

The father then applied for sole parental responsibility and that the mother’s contact with the child be supervised.  The mother made other applications.

The judge ordered two reports.  A family assessment found that the child had developmental delay and was progressing while in the care of the father.

A psychiatric report on the mother found that the mother had a strong belief that the child had been sexually abused by the father although there was insufficient evidence of this.  The mother was found to show traits of a dependent personality (personality submissive), and it was considered unlikely the mother could look after the child’s emotional, physical and intellectual needs.  The mother had a complete inability to understand anyone else’s viewpoint (perspective take), was unable to follow any form of professional advice for any length of time, and showed considerable intrusiveness (parenting style intrusive).

The judge found that the mother presented an unacceptable risk to the child if contact was unsupervised, based on the mother making perpetuated allegations about the father.  The judge found that the mother was likely to try to validate her concerns if unsupervised with the child, from her desire to protect the child.  The mother was not willing to facilitate a close meaningful relationship between the child and father.