Bolton & Whittaker & Anor 2010 FamCA 286

The case involved a 6 year old boy whose parents had separated when he was aged 17 months, who then lived with his mother.   The mother re-partnered when the boy was 2 years old.  The mother changed her name back to her maiden name, used her maiden name when enrolling the boy at school, and allowed the boy to refer to his stepfather as Dad (stepparent).

The biological father and paternal grandmother alleged the boy was subject to physical abuse while in his mother’s care as evidenced by bruises on his arms and legs.  The father’s family monitored the boy for bruises by undressing the boy when he arrived for access visits to check for bruises, took photos of bruises on 8 occasions, repeatedly took the boy to doctors (assessments repeated), and expressed a view that the boy might have a blood disorder leading to the bruising (monitor).  Doctors considered the bruising to be minor and part of normal childhood bruising rather than signs of abuse (capacity to protect).