Salib & Salib 2015 FamCA 489

A child aged 7 years who lived with the mother refused to continue to spend supervised time with her father, and no contacts had been arranged for a year despite efforts (refused contact).   Both parents had a history of substance abuse, but the mother gave evidence of having ceased this use.   The parents agreed they were unable to communicate.

The mother reported fearing the father and having left the relationship only when he was incarcerated.  The father had a history of being imprisoned several times for offences including violence.

The child had been exposed to violence by the father towards the mother (family violence).  The child reported being scared of the father, and of having nightmares after being required to visit him.  The father had arrived late to some visits in a contact centre and had cancelled other visits.  Centre staff reported that the father spoke to the child about the mother during contacts (parental disputes).  The child did not report any specific actions by the father during contact visits to justify her dislike of the father.

The judge ordered that the child live with the mother and that the mother have sole parental responsibility.  The judge ordered that the father be at liberty to send the child gifts and cards via the mother, but that the father have no other communication with the child.