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FLAST CASE BRIEF: Cannon & Wescott [2019] FamCA 148 (12 March 2019)

Shocking Case, “the father” is restrained from spending any time or communicating with the children!

"There are times when the constant parade of misery in this Court threatens to take its toll on those charged with dispensing justice for children within the confines of applying the law pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”)."

This judgment came after the father was a no show at the hearing and just after the father abused the ICL and the Court in an Email.

The Court Orders

The mother shall have sole parental responsibility for the children.

Mr Cannon (“the father”) is restrained and an injunction hereby issues restraining him from spending any time or communicating with the children.

The father is restrained and an injunction hereby issues restraining him from initiating any communication with the mother.

In the current case, the applicant, did not bother to turn up to the hearing of his application for a parenting order.

A recent communication from the father to the independent children’s lawyer (“ICL”) was in these terms: (as per original) [ex 7]

I will when I am ready
The dumb c#$t could of fixed it himself, but he wouldn’t have the brains to reading all his mistakes in his family reports.

His history as a "father" has a long criminal record that included pedophilia.

"It was during this time that it appears highly likely that the two female children were sexually abused by their father. Hardly surprising one might have thought."

The judgment is scathing of the "system", it is a short judgement and well worth reading, some quotes from the judge include:

"The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women should not conclude that this order is intended to be an endorsement of the mother’s capacity to provide a safe and stable environment for the children in the long term"

"There are times when the constant parade of misery in this Court threatens to take its toll on those charged with dispensing justice for children within the confines of applying the law pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”). "

"The children have had a dreadful life to date but they, like so many children seen in this Court and various other courts in Australia, are what I consider can aptly be described as ‘the forgotten ones’.

"I say this because, for some people, it seems easier to turn away than to confront some harsh realities about a society that not only permits but encourages children to be born into households where their parents are incapable of providing safe, stable and loving homes and where the children are frequently subjected to the most horrific abuse."

A truly shocking case for all involved.

This case can be found on FLAST Channels on .  Case : Cannon & Wescott [2019] FamCA 148 (12 March 2019)

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  • Reading section 10 of the judge's comments I am reminded of the adage 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'  .......children from functioning two parent families are, I'd suggest, "our country's most important asset" - those children whom make good (break the cycle) from single parent households are the fortunate minority.  Good law, thoughtful law gives due consideration to process, cost, equity, time and creates natural disincentives that would do violence to civil society.  (As an aside I am not convinced that the ALRC's Family Law System 2019 recommendations to the Attorney General give due consideration to 'prevention' but rather favour 'cure'.)


    10. The millions of dollars routinely wasted by governments of all persuasions on endless enquiries and royal commissions into child safety could actually make a real difference if redirected to the lives of these forgotten children. Children are this country’s most important asset yet the courts and front line services such as the variously named Departments of Child Safety and Police, charged with trying to protect them, are simply starved of sufficient funds to make a difference. Foster carers are few and far between and time and time again parents are afforded second chances at the expense of their children

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    New child protection screenings required in South Australia from July 1 


    The new working with children check (WWCC) will mean that anyone working with children will require a check by law. Many organisations currently require a Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DSCI) clearance as a matter of policy for those working directly with children, however the changes will legislate this as a legal requirement.

    The checks will be valid for five years, will be transferable between jobs and will align South Australia with new national standards. Importantly, those wishing to apply for a WWCC will be able to apply for the check directly, meaning the check will be more readily transferable between roles.
    Professions requiring a Department of Human Services WWCC check for the first time include:
    Preschool, primary school and secondary school educators
    Ministers of religion
    Healthcare workers
    Emergency services personnel
    Children’s party entertainers
    “The State Government’s new mandatory WWCC puts the safety of children front and centre, as they should be,” said South Australian Minister for Human Services, Michelle Lensink, adding that the new laws are being introduced “in response to recommendations from both Federal and South Australian Royal Commissions, to help better protect children in our communities.”
    The new laws replace the current system where people can have a number of different clearances, such as a national police check, with the WWCC replacing all other types of child-related screening checks, with a 12-month transitional process in moving to the new scheme.
    “We (the South Australian Government) recognise that implementing such a big change requires some flexibility, which is why we are proposing a transition period for people affected by the new requirements,” said Ms Lensink.
    When South Australian parliament resumes in late February, the State Government will move to amend the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 so that it aligns with the National Standards for WWCC and allow information about prohibited persons to be shared across State and Commonwealth jurisdictions, Minister Lensink said.
    Those South Australians who hold a current, valid DHS child-related employment screening on July 1 will be recognised as having a valid WWCC until their current screening expires, with transition support processes in place for those professions requiring a WWCC for the first time having arrangements in place to support their transition into the scheme.
    Ms Lensink said that, for most South Australians, no immediate action will be required “Over the coming months, the Department of Human Services will work closely with communities and industry groups to provide more detailed information about individual circumstances and what the new laws mean for them.”
    The current cost of the check remains $107.80 and $59.40 for students.


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    Departments failed to act on allegations of violence, neglect, drug abuse in four Kimberley child suicides: Coroner reveals

    February 7, 2019

    A coronial inquest into the suicide deaths of 12 young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley has found the Department of Child Protection and Family Support failed to act on allegations of violence, neglect and drug abuse in four of the horrific cases.

    It has also been revealed for one of the four cases, a Youth Justice team delayed arranging a mental health referral for a 12-year-old girl in Wyndham, despite the young girl’s family twice telling police she wanted to kill herself.

    The young girl took her own life on the same day her appointment to see a visiting mental health professional was cancelled by the service for the second time. She never accessed any assistance.

    The department was also found to have failed to support the girl in the last 11 months of her life, despite knowing she was living in an overcrowded and dysfunctional household, using alcohol and drugs, and walking the streets at night unsupervised.

    The adverse findings against the government departments have formed part of State Coroner Ros Fogliani’s 42 recommendations handed down on Thursday, following the completion of the inquest.

    10-year-old girl from Looma

    Of the four cases where adverse findings were made against the Department of Child Protection and Family Support, one related to the 10-year-old girl who took her own life in Looma Aboriginal Community in 2016, sparking the coronial inquest into her death, and others like hers.

    Two-and-a-half years before her death, shortly after her sister had committed suicide, a social worker expressed concerns to the department that the girl, whose mother was not fit to care for her, had been hit by a carer.

    The social worker informed the department of the girl's sister’s recent suicide, and the violence the girl had witnessed between her parents in the past.

    Nothing was done.

    Four months later the same social worker reported to the department the then-eight-year-old girl was no longing attending school, had stopped engaging with her, and had moved from Perth to the remote community of Looma.

    No action was taken and the department advised the social worker the girl’s case had been closed a month prior as there were no child protection concerns that had been noted.

    Two years later, the girl took her own life.

    The department, during the coronial inquest, conceded the girl’s welfare should have been checked following the allegations of violence and her sister’s suicide; and her living arrangements should have been reviewed, following her move to Looma

    Counsel assisting the Coroner, Phillip Urquart submitted the girl’s family life, which included entrenched violence, alcohol abuse and neglectful parenting, coupled with her sister’s suicide, ought to have “cried out” for the girl to be assessed.

    “It cannot in retrospect be known what the outcome of those assessments would have been, but I am satisfied that they could potentially have helped this child,” Ms Fogliani found.

    The department has since changed its policy so that if a concern is raised about one child in a household, the other children within that household are also assessed.

    12-year-old girl from Wyndham

    Authorities were made aware in 2009 that a 12-year-old girl from Oombulgurri Community was living in a dysfunctional household from at least the age of eight.

    The closure of the community in 2010 forced the distraught family to move to Wyndham, where their residence became known as a party house and was often overcrowded with people abusing alcohol.

    The girl rarely attended school, smoked ‘gunga’ and drank alcohol, and often walked the streets at night unsupervised.

    One month before her death in February 2013, her family told police on two occasions she wanted to hang herself.

    Her tragic death came on the day she was meant to see a visiting mental health professional, however the meeting was cancelled due to service priorities in other areas of the Kimberley.

    It was the second time in days the meeting had been cancelled following a three week delay by the Youth Justice team to refer her to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for assessment after the agency learnt of her suicidal thoughts.

    She never accessed any mental health assistance.

    The delay in assisting the girl was due to staff shortages, and the difficulties around recruiting people to the East Kimberley.

    The Youth Justice team now has an additional regional manager (two in total) and three additional officers (11 in total) to better manage the area’s case load of around 100 children.

    The inquest also found the girl was not adequately assessed by the Department of Child Protection and Family Support in the last 11 months of her life, despite authorities knowing she was living in unsafe conditions.

    Ms Fogliani said various agencies had tried, however, to assist the girl’s family over the years.

    “It cannot now be known what the outcome of that (mental health) referral might have been,” she said.

    “Suicide is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict.

    “With the benefit of hindsight the matter was clearly urgent. The child was very vulnerable as a result of long-standing and entrenched trauma and she had already expressed an intention to take her life.

    “Numerous attempts had been made by agencies over an extended period to help her and her family under very difficult and trying circumstances.”

    13-year-old girl from Kalumburu

    On two occasions, the Department of Child Protection and Family Support was tipped off that a young girl in the Kimberley, aged around five or six, was being neglected by her mother and was asked to intervene.

    When the department learnt the child had been voluntarily placed in the informal care of extended relatives, no assessment of the child, or her living conditions was conducted and she was never placed under the agency’s care.

    The department did not know where she lived from the time of the most recent complaint in 2006 to her death in 2013.

    It was revealed during the inquest she was moved to Derby to live with extended family where she witnessed alcohol abuse and domestic violence. She then lived with her aunt in Kalumburu for six or seven years until 2011 when her mother took her back to Derby.

    During the inquest, the department conceded that at the time, it was common for the agency to rely on informal arrangements when a child went to live with other family.

    It now requires more formal placement arrangements which include an assessment of the child’s living conditions and checks-ups.

    The Department of Child Protection and Family Support previous Executive Director of Country Services and Therapeutic Care, Ms Julianne Davis, told the inquest no assessment of the child was ever undertaken.

    “A retrospective review of [the child’s] case highlights the prominence of alcohol abuse, domestic violence, neglectful parenting, the absence of a responsible legal guardian and the presence of cumulative harm,” she said.

    “It is also evident that on a number of occasions no assessment was undertaken in relation to [her] safety and wellbeing and care arrangements.”

    17-year-old boy from Broome

    In 1997, Department of Child Protection and Family Support officers were notified of a boy who had been born into a dysfunctional family.

    In 1998 and 1999, the agency failed to adequately assess the boy’s risk, and in 2011, it ignored a plea from a carer for him to be “rescued” from his living arrangements, which were described as chaotic and transient.

    The latter request was never investigated, with the department admitting during the inquest that the boy should have been assessed.

    He died in April 2015.

    The coroner found that given the multiple problems experienced in the Kimberley, there was no justification for finding that the act or omission of a particular person, officer or agency caused or contributed to any of the suicides.

    She also made no adverse comment about the family members of the children and young people, who she said themselves had endured significant trauma and disadvantage.

    She accepted simply providing more funding would not solve the issues facing families in the Kimberley, and instead called for a major policy reform which empowered Aboriginal people to have a say on policies which impacted them.

    By Heather McNeill

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    Informer 3838 could lose kids if she doesn't enter witness protection

    6 February 2019

    The lawyer known as Informer 3838 could have her two young children removed by state authorities, after the High Court warned she was putting them at "grave risk of harm" by refusing to enter witness protection.

    In a judgment handed down on December 3 last year, the High Court found that on the "evidence before this court, [Informer 3838] and her children will be at grave risk of harm unless [Informer 3838] agrees to enter into the witness protection program".

    "If she chooses to expose her children to similar risks, the state is empowered to take action to protect them from harm," the court found.

    "It is further not without significance that Victoria Police may bear a large measure of responsibility for putting [Informer 3838] in the position in which she now finds herself by encouraging her to inform against her clients as she did."

    Informer 3838’s personal safety is in jeopardy, the court reasoned, because of the barrister’s years of informing on well-known and often dangerous clients.

    The former high-profile barrister was seen last year walking through the legal district in Melbourne's CBD, contravening police advice to remain under the radar.

    "I couldn't believe it when she walked past me," a solicitor told The Age.  "She could have been seen by any number of former clients or criminals who know who she is."

    The Age is also aware of parents of her children's classmates who have expressed serious concern that she drops them off at their school in public view.

    The parents expressed worry that their children may be endangered if any reprisals are taken against the now-notorious police informer, or her children, at the school.

    The children's school is understood to have implemented security measures to protect students, while advising parents to ignore requests to speak with media.

    It comes as the court order concealing her identity is due to be lifted alongside a trove of documents detailing Informer 3838’s role in the prosecution of various high-profile underworld heavyweights at the end of this month.

    The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is empowered to remove children from the custody of parents if it feels there are sufficient grounds that a child is in need of protection.

    One of the grounds for removal is a reasonable concern for the child’s safety.

    The DHHS is legally obliged to remove children from the custody of their parents if it is found the child is in danger.

    A DHHS spokesperson said could not comment on whether the conduct of Informer 3838 was being looked at by the department, but that children's safety and development are at the centre of decisions to intervene.

    "Decisions about children's safety and wellbeing are made based on available evidence – with protection orders made by the Children's Court," the spokesperson said.

    "The department acknowledges the complexity of families who become involved in the child protection statutory service, and continues to strive to ensure children's best interests."

    By David Estcourt  THE AGE






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    Australian child protection legislation


    This resource sheet provides a brief overview of child protection legislation across state and territory jurisdictions in Australia.

    Child protection is an area of public law where authorities may intervene in family settings because of an allegation of harm or significant risk of harm to a child (Titterton, 2017).

    In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for the administration and operation of child protection services. Legislative acts in each state and territory govern the way such services are provided. The main child protection acts in each Australian state and territory are listed in Table 1. The table also outlines other acts of Parliament that are relevant to the operation and delivery of various services to children and families across Australia. For an overview of these acts, grouped by topic, see the Appendices.  

    Table 1. Child protection legislation in Australian states and territoriesa
    Jurisdiction Principal act Other relevant acts/legislation

    Australian Capital Territory

    Children and Young People Act 2008(ACT)

    Adoption Act 1993 (ACT)

    Children and Young People Act (ACT Childcare Services) Standards 2009 (No. 1)

    Children and Young People (Employment) Standards 2011 (No. 1)

    Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 (ACT)

    Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT)

    Ombudsman Act 1989 (ACT)

    Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 (ACT)

    New South Wales 

    Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW)

    Adoption Act 2000 (NSW)

    Advocate for Children and Young People Act 2014(NSW)

    Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2006(NSW)

    Child Protection (Offenders Prohibition Orders) Act 2004 (NSW)

    Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW)

    Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012(NSW)

    Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007(NSW)

    Industrial Relations (Child Employment) Act 2006 (NSW)

    Ombudsman Act 1974 (NSW)

    Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW)

    Northern Territory 

    Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT)

    Adoption of Children Act 1994 (NT)

    Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act 2016 (NT)

    Children’s Commissioner Act 2013 (NT)

    Disability Services Act 2004 (NT)

    Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 (NT)

    Information Act 2006 (NT)

    Youth Justice Act 2005 (NT)


    Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld)

    Adoption Act 2009 (Qld)

    Child Employment Act 2006 (Qld)

    Child Protection and Education Legislation (Reporting of Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017

    Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003(Qld)

    Child Protection (Offender Reporting) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld)

    Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017 (Qld)

    Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 (Qld)

    Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld)

    Director of Child Protection Litigation Act 2016 (Qld)

    Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012(Qld)

    Education and Care Services Act 2013 (Qld)

    Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld)

    Family and Child Commission Act 2014 (Qld)

    Family Responsibilities Commission Act 2008 (Qld)

    Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld)

    Ombudsman Act 2001 (Qld)

    Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld)

    Public Guardian Act 2014 (Qld)

    Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

    Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (Qld)

    Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld)

    South Australia

    Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA)

    Adoption Act 1988 (SA)

    Child Protection Review (Powers and Immunities) Act 2002 (SA)

    Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA)

    Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006 (SA)

    Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016 (SA)

    Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2017 (SA)

    Children’s Protection (Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 2005 (SA)

    Domestic Violence Act 1994 (SA)

    Family and Community Services Act 1972 (SA)

    Young Offenders Act 1994 (SA)


    Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas.)

    Adoption Act 1988 (Tas.)

    Child Care Act 2001 (Tas.)

    Child Protection (International Measures) Act 2003 (Tas.)

    Children, Young Persons and their Families Amendment Act 2009 (Tas.)

    Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2016 (Tas.)

    Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Bill 2016 (Tas.)

    Education Act 1994 (Tas.)

    Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas.)

    Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Act 2013(Tas.)

    Youth Justice Act 1997 (Tas.)


    Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic.)

    Adoption Act 1984 (Vic.)

    Child Employment Act 2003 (Vic.)

    Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic.)

    Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Act 2017 (Vic.)

    Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012 (Vic.)

    Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic.)

    Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic.)

    Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic.)

    Western Australia

    Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)

    Adoption Act 1994 (WA)

    Child Care Services Act 2007 (WA)

    Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA)

    Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006 (WA)

    Community Protection (Offender Reporting and Registration) Act 2004 (WA)

    Family Court Act 1997 (WA)

    Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA)

    Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)

    Young Offenders Act 1994 (WA)

    To read furthure click this link: Australian Government: Australian Institute of Family Studies

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