Jarrah & Neason and Anor 2014 FamCA 239

The case involved five children who had been placed on the Magellan list due to allegations of sexual abuse and family violence.  The father had a considerable criminal record and had a demonstrated predilection towards having sexual relationships with younger persons.   The children had been exposed to abuse and family violence either by a parent or by a person who lived with a parent and over fifty risk reports had been made to the child protection Department.

The court found on the balance of probabilities that the father had sexually assaulted two witnesses in the proceedings, that the father’s potential to meet the children’s needs was negligible, and there was an unacceptable risk to the children if they were to be placed in the father’s unsupervised care.  The court found that the mother was unable to parent and protect the children adequately without assistance provided by the Department, and the court found the mother lacked the insight and capacity to protect the children.  The court was satisfied that the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility was rebutted.

The court found that the best interests of the children required that sole parental responsibility be ordered in favour of the Minister for Family and Community Services.