Finally: Some one is doing their job.

19 02 2011

The Australian Family Law act requires divorcing couples to undertake mediation; and thus free up the court system. There are a couple of exceptions; one of them being the case of domestic violence. I choose to go ahead with the mediation because I felt it was safer for me to do that; with a facilitator; then what it would have been in any face to face negotiation.

During that time; I challenged the facilitator about the lack of services and options that his company provided for male victims of DV. I have blogged about this before. Last week I received a phone call from the centre wanting to do a questionnaire with me about their services and how effective I found them.

I told her that I was extremely dissatisfied. That the process had empowered my ex’s abuse; and that I was really peeved that when entering the office, the walls were plastered with posters about dv being a crime and that all the public pamphlets in that office were to do with women being assaulted and they had nothing on display for men. Further more I told the lady about my questioning the facilitator about this and he went to look for some information for me and came back with a pamphlet from a mob who do general counselling…

To the credit of this lady on the phone; she seemed a little shocked. And she asked me if it was OK for her to put some stuff together and send it to me. I said thank you. Two days later I get a bulky envelope containing some brochures; fridge magnets, etc from various org’s. Such as Dad’s in Distress, Men’s Line, Catholic Care, Father’s Support Service and as well a photocopied list of various specific services; with the ones specific for men highlighted. She had also hand written some numbers on this paper with the name and number of someone from the Salvation Army.

I cried when I got this information. And while I still hold my reservations about the overall mediation experience; I say to this lady “Well done and thank you!”

Is there institutional abuse within the family mediation process.

26 11 2010

A close friend of mine went through the family mediation process with Relationship Australia in Campbelltown NSW earlier this year and both he and his ex wife signed off on the parenting plan and how to divide the mutual assets in May. He was told he would soon receive the Family Dispute Resolution Certificate in the mail; which never came and he was told a number of times it would be sent out soon.

14 weeks ago his ex wife moved to a new address without informing him where they were living and took away the phone he had given the girls so he could not contact them. He then gets a phone call from a Relationships Australia office; this time in Fairfield NSW telling him he had to come into the office for another mediation session.

He was then told a number of stories about the previous Family Dispute Resolution Certificate in that they would send it out soon and then lately he was told they will not issue it until he finishes this current mediation process.

There is a huge problem with this. For the Australian Family Law says that he cannot apply to the court for the signed parenting plan to be binding; without this Family Dispute Resolution Certificate. Today I made some enquiries for him from a friend within the legal profession who gave me some phone numbers and suggested he contact the National Office of Relationship’s Australia and if he got no satisfaction there; to ring the Executive Officer for this company.

He rang them both today and was curtly told that he had to finish the current mediation session before they would issue the Family Dispute Resolution Certificate to him.

This means for the last 14 weeks he has had little contact with his daughters; and no access what so ever and a useless parenting plan that had been agreed and signed off 6 months previously. His next step will be to contact to the Department of the Attorney General so that he can finally get the certificate that by law he should have been given 6 months earlier….. or was he?