Krach & Krach 2009 FamCA 507

Both parents made reciprocal allegations (mutual accusations) that the other had abused their children aged 8 and 9 years.  The mother alleged that the father sexually abused the children by actions outlined below.  The father alleged the mother exposed the children to psychological abuse by discussing sexual allegations with them.

The children had been referred to a treating psychologist with anxiety and other issues.  After 22 sessions one child spoke about how her father behaved towards her, leading to concern about sexual abuse.  A forensic and clinical psychologist engaged as a court expert noted that the treating psychologist had used a range of non-standard interventions when interviewing the child including having the mother present, use of leading questions, and not commenting about whether coaching had occurred (expert evidence unsatisfactory).  The court expert noted that allegations by the mother had escalated over time from less serious to more serious.  The mother quoted the children as reporting sexualised behaviour including: showering with their father, seeing their step-mother insert a tampon and disrobe, their father kissing them on the mouth, and their father touching the labia and vagina.

The judge considered the father to be a more reliable witness (credibility).  The judge found that the allegations of sexual abuse were not substantiated (unsubstantiated allegation).   The judge found that the mother would not allow the children to have a meaningful relationship with their father.  The judge ordered that the children live with the father and that the father have sole parenting responsibility.  The judge ordered that time the children spend with the mother be fully supervised for 6 months, followed by reduced supervision (access supervised).