Peoples Report identifies greatest social injustice in NZ
Peoples Report identifies greatest social injustice NZ has ever seen.
Amy McDonald, founder of Parents 4 Justice, says the Peoples Report, released yesterday, identifies the greatest social injustice in NZ that has been perpetrated by our Family Court for over 30 years.
The report, commissioned by billionaire Sir Owen Glenn, is the first of a series of reports to be released on domestic violence in New Zealand.
Researchers interviewed 500 people who identified NZ’s current court system as ‘dysfunctional and broken’.
Parents 4 Justice was established in 2012 as an alternative to the family court and encourages parents to fully disclose all of their issues without fear of punishment or that that information will be used against them.
“The Family Court or associated agencies such as CYF’s does not offer such protection” she says.
“Lawyers exacerbate conflict, they are paid to do so and this introduces a systemic flaw into our legal system when money is placed above a child’s best interests – which is true when violence is present or not” says McDonald.
“Our Family Court, even with the reforms, revictimises those who have experienced domestic violence forcing them to undertake counselling and mediation with their perpetrator.
The court and its officials decide how much they will pay and how long will they stay and then they are dealt the cruellest blow. Many women think the courts will protect them but if abuse is raised in court, they have their children removed from their care on the grounds they are ‘deemed not to be supporting the child's relationship with the other parent’ and the child is given to the abusive parent” says McDonald.
McDonald congratulates Jan Logie, women’s spokesperson for the Green Party and Labour leader David Cunnliffe for their commitment to highlighting the issues raised in the report and suggestion of a cross party accord on the matter.
Former Governor General, Dame Cath Tizard, described the report as a ‘catalogue of despair'.
“Alarming dysfunction in the courts I deal with on a daily basis and it is often not just a matter of poor inter-agency collaboration or sub-standard and judgemental front line staff as identified in the report – it is collusion and corruption” says McDonald.
“Whilst the report focuses on woman and children we are aware that men are also victim to false allegations in the courts and sadly it is typically female professionals that are bullying victims, female lawyers and CYFs workers especially.
We have many great Dads in our group and they have a right to be heard too” says McDonald.
Parents 4 Justice calls for our legal system to step aside and let independent bodies well versed in abuse to halt this perpetuation of abuse on children rather than revictimize the good parent trying to stop it.
Ironically Edmund Burke, who studied law but went on to become a political activist is acclaimed for saying, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
“That is what has happened in this country. The Peoples Report presents the opportunity for the good men and women of New Zealand to now make a stand against domestic violence (DV) and systemic corruption that ultimately abuses children. We need to make perpetrators of DV and their supporters culpable” says McDonald.
Parents for Justice is an Auckland based support group representing court consumers nationwide who deem their children to have not been served justice by the Family Court and advocate for parental involvement in a child’s life.
They launched their own justice intervention assistance system the same week that the new Family Court changes were announced earlier this year.
They profess that retraining lawyers to handle dispute resolution will not change the outcome of the process for consumers when they are not paid to shut down conflict but rather paid to exacerbate it.
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