Michaels & Talbot 2014 FamCA 1080

The case involved a boy aged 17 years and a girl aged 14 years whose parents had separated.  When visiting the father, the girl told the father that she had been involved in sexual abuse by her brother while in the mother’s house.  The father informed authorities, and the allegation was substantiated. However the mother minimised the allegations.

An expert noted that the boy was prescribed medication for ADHD, anxiety and OCD, and considered that the boy may have an autism spectrum disorder.  The expert considered that the older boy was dependent on his younger sister who took on a role of an older sibling, and that the sister was protective towards her brother.  The sister was removed from living with her brother and she considered that she was being punished for making the disclosure.

The mother had herself been removed from the care of her mother and stepfather at the age of 16 years after she reported sexual abuse by her own stepfather (stepparent).   The mother later stated that she had made up the story of sexual abuse after seeing that a friend who had been molested was removed from her parents and had greater freedom, and the mother considered this a good way to get away from her own strict parents.   When the mother informed the Department that she had told a lie she had been allowed to return to live with her own mother.    The stepfather had by then left the home.

The expert recommended that the boy live with the father and that the girl live with the mother, and that the children be prohibited from coming into contact unless they were supervised (sibling supervision).   The judge implemented these recommendations.