Congratulations: 20 Years Of The Family Court
Stopping Violence Services congratulate staff and Judges of the Family Court Courts for twenty years of supporting families in New Zealand.
‘The Family Court is provides as safe a place as possible for families to sort out their problems. They provide counselling and emphasise mediation as a way to work through difficulties. Where there is violence, the Court provides an opportunity for all members of the family to get help, and attend programmes. As such most of its work is behind the scenes’ said Paul Prestidge, the Executive Officer. ‘Before the Family Court we had the awful situation with the personal; details of family breakdown could be splashed in the media; where the best lawyer won and where children were pawns in a struggle between the parents.’
The current system won’t suit everyone, and in the relatively few cases that need a Court hearing, one or both of the parents will often feel wronged. ‘This will often be men who are used to getting their own way. We are concerned that a campaign by a small band of there bitter men and their hangers on to discredit the family court must be shown up for what it is’ said Paul Prestidge. ‘The calls for so-called shared parenting are a ruse to avoid paying for the support of their children, and claims of gender bias are unfounded’
Like any organisation, there is room for improvement. It doesn’t always get it right – and in difficult situations we need to ensure that the Court maintains an unequivocal stand that supports the rights of children over the wishes of parents, promotes responsibility by parents and seeks to broker situations so that the vulnerable – usually the children and women who are subjected to violence, are safe.
Stopping Violence Services provide a range of programmes, mainly for people affected by domestic violence. The Family Court refers a significant number of people to these programmes when they either take out, or are the respondents to a protection order. Independent evaluations show that most of the people referred make significant changes in their lives and relationships as a result of attending a programme.
For further information or comment, contact:
The National Network Stopping Violence Services
Ph 04 499 6384
Mobile 025 529556
Fax 04 4996387