Parents forcefully blocked from seeing kids could be abuse
STOPPING parents from seeing their children could fall under the definition of child abuse if George Christensen gets his way.
The Federal Member for Dawson said he would lobby with Victorian independent Senator John Madigan to have the definition of child abuse widened to include parental alienation.
Mr Christensen said the current system for family law and child support was broken.
"My view is parental alienation is a form of child abuse," he said.
"If one parent is cutting off the meaningful relationship with the other parent, unless they are violent, etc, then that is abuse."
He said hundreds of constituents had come to him after the other parent had decided they were going to breach court orders and deny access to the child.
"Literally the only redress they have is to take the matter to court, which considering the fact many are also paying child support, is so costly it's almost impossible," he said.
While he acknowledged broadening the definition of child abuse could cause problems, he said the current system could only be improved.
Solicitor and family law specialist Jenny Hamilton said the idea was "worthy of consideration".
"Childhood alienation is a very serious problem. It is very common," Mrs Hamilton said.
"Often they need psychiatric support to prove the child's emotions have been manipulated to prove alienation has happened."
Mr Christensen said another change he would like to see was for the equivalent parole officers to enforce child custody arrangements.
He said the only way to have custody arrangements enforced at the moment was to take the matter to court, which was a costly exercise for parents.
"I would like to see a model like in Denmark," he said.
"If there is a court ordered custody arrangement breached, there is enforcement, like a parole officer."
He said this would stop parents having to return to court just to get orders enforced.
"The current system is unfair," Mr Christensen said.
Mrs Hamilton said he was right, but she did not think enforcement would be possible.
Do you think parental alienation is a form of child abuse?
This poll ended on 18 June 2015.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.