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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 


An important international document … that family courts might do well to consider occasionally (though, of itself, it has no legal status).


United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child


An important international convention, agreed to by the nations of the world. Of itself, it has little legal weight, but its contents have been incorporated, to varying degrees, into the laws of individual countries. UNICEF


Article 7 - Children have the right to a legally registered name and nationality. Children also have the right to know their parents and, as far as possible, to be cared for by them.

Article 9 - Children should not be separated from their parents unless it is for their own good. For example, if a parent is mistreating or neglecting a child. Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm the child.

Article 10 - Families who live in different countries should be allowed to move between those countries so that parents and children can stay in contact, or get back together as a family.

Article 11 - Governments should take steps to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally.

Article 18 - Both parents share responsibility for bringing up their children and should always consider what is best for each child. Governments should help parents by providing services to support them, especially if both parents work.

Article 19 - Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them.

Article 25 - Children who are looked after by their local authority rather than their parents should have their situation reviewed regularly.
Article 34 - Governments should protect children from sexual abuse.

Article 35 - Governments should make sure that children are not abducted or sold.

Article 36 - Children should be protected from any activities that could harm their development.

Article 39 - Children who have been neglected or abused 39 should receive special help to restore their self-respect. 


Family Law Act 1975


Defines “Child Abuse” (Section 4(1) (c)) as “causing the child to suffer serious psychological harm”;
Defines “Family Violence” (Section 4AB) as “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family (the family member), or causes the family member to be fearful”;

Defines “The Child's Best Interests” (Section 60CC) (2) The primary considerations are: (a)  the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and (b)  the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

(3)  Additional considerations are:
    (a)  any views expressed by the child and any factors (such as the child’s maturity or level of understanding) that the court thinks are relevant to the weight it should give to the child’s views;
    (b)  the nature of the relationship of the child with:
        (i)  each of the child’s parents; and
        (ii)  other persons (including any grandparent or other relative of the child);
    (c)  the extent to which each of the child’s parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity:
         (i)  to participate in making decisions about major long‑term issues in relation to the child; and
         (ii)  to spend time with the child; and
         (iii)  to communicate with the child;
     (d)  the likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from:
          (i)  either of his or her parents; or
          (ii)  any other child, or other person (including any grandparent or other relative of the child), with whom he or she has been living;
     (e)  the practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent and whether that difficulty or expense will substantially affect the child’s right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis;


Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006

Family Court Rules 2004 F2015C00192

Although not the same as a law, these rules are an important guideline as to how the Family Court is supposed to operate in practice.

The Law