Australian Legal

​​Australian legal definitions: When is a child in need of protection?

​CFCA Resource Sheet

​AIFS Publications [August 2014]


Academic Articles

Intractable Access: Is There a Cure?
by Kenneth Byrne and Lawrie Maloney - AUSTRALIAN FAMILY LAWYER, v. 8(4), 1993, p. 22
Summary (extract)
We believe that it is important for professional examiners to differentiate between the apparent clarity of what a child says, and the child's emotional resources for making such an important decision, as to whether or not they wish to continue seeing that parent. Very few examiners would allow a child to give the final opinion about whether or not they wanted to attend school, to cooperate with any medical procedure, or to visit the dentist. Despite their assertions that it was not necessary, most adults would take the view that children of this age are simply not competent to be able to make an informed decision. In our view, a similar principle must be maintained in cases such as this. We are not saying that children should not be listened to. Obviously they should be. However, their views are only one part of the entire situation, and should be treated with a certain degree of caution. 

Mental Health Professionals in Child Custody Disputes: Advocates or Impartial Examiners?
by Kenneth Byrne - Australian Family Lawyer, v. 6(3), 1991, p.8
The impartial examiner is in the strongest position to acquire the most in-depth and accurate information about what custody and access arrangements would be in the best interests of the child. Unlike the solicitor who generally hears only one side of the story, the impartial examiner has the opportunity to interview everyone, and to do so in various combinations. The examiner has the opportunity to watch children interact with both parents. It is also possible to interview both parents together and to question or cross- question each about significant allegations against the other.The advantages of this approach greatly outweigh examinations conducted by an advocate for only one side. Whilst more difficult to arrange, initially more expensive, and more time consuming, such examinations can go a long way towards shortening litigation, reducing the ultimate cost to clients, and easing the strain of litigation for both parents and children.

Brainwashing in Custody Cases: The Parental Alienation Syndrome
by Kenneth Byrne - Australian Family Lawyer 1989, Vol. 4(3), p. 1
“Litigation is psychologically damaging to children. The more times that the couple goes to court, the more damage is done to children.” Kenneth Byrne
The Parental Alienation Syndrome represents an extreme form of brainwashing of children by one parent. It is always seen in the context of disputed custody or access situations. The goal of the brainwashing parent is to get revenge. There is no greater revenge than blocking the other parent from playing a meaningful role in the child’s life. The syndrome has clear signs and symptoms and, with appropriate procedures, can be diagnosed and treated. This syndrome is also seen in more complex forms, when it is embedded in situations of alleged child sexual abuse or child kidnapping. It can easily be misdiagnosed by professionals who have not educated themselves about these situations, and misguided efforts at helping can worsen an already bad situation. 

Dr Demosthenes Lorandos

Psychologist & Attorney

Brian Ludmer

B.Comm., LLB.