Bentleigh & Murdoch 2015 FamCA 671

An assessment by a family consultant raised serious questions about the parenting capacity of both parents of children aged 6 and 7 years.  The consultant recommended that the child protection department be invited to intervene if concerns were substantiated by information gathered by subpoena.  The ICL agreed with the proposal.

The father alleged that maternal grandparents whom the mother lived with were long-term substance users who engaged in violence between each other and others and that the children were exposed to this family violence.

The father also alleged that the mother herself engaged in longstanding drug and alcohol misuse, that the mother was mentally unwell and this affected her parenting capacity, that the mother was neglectful, engaged in criminal activity and involved the children in it, that she had failed to ensure the children regularly attend school and she verbally and physically abused the children, and threatened self-harm.

The mother reported that she had been the victim of serious physical violence and coercive and controlling behaviour perpetrated by the father, and that the father misused drugs and alcohol.

Both children reported that their parents fight every day.

The judge made an order inviting the child protection Department to intervene.