MENZ Issues: news and discussion about New Zealand men, fathers, family law, divorce, courts, protests, gender politics, and male health.

Adult words – from the mouth of a child

Filed under: Law & Courts — JohnPotter @ 10:49 am Fri 25th February 2005

Lawyer Vivienne Crawshaw wrote recently about a case of parental alienation. She suggests that the NZ Family Court is well aware of this process and is equipped to deal with it.

[Hamish’s] mother Justine, was embroiled in a custody dispute with his father. Brian, his father, was not applying for full custody; his application was merely to share in Hamish’s life in a more day-to-day way, ideally week and week about.

However, Justine was adamantly opposed to Hamish spending any more time away from her. He was her only child, was already starting to want to spend more time with his friends than with her, and she was damned if she was going to allow Brian to enjoy him while she was left on her own.

As the lawyer [counsel for child] asked Hamish to come into his office Justine stepped forward. “I’d rather you not talk with Hamish on his own,” she implored. “He’s quite shy and I am concerned that he won’t remember all the important things.”

Much to Justine’s annoyance the lawyer insisted on seeing Hamish on his own, in his office, politely suggesting that Justine might want to pop out for a coffee while she was waiting, a suggestion she flatly ignored.

Almost verbatim Hamish quoted sections from his mother’s affidavit, commenting quite coldly that his Dad did not love him and had tried to bribe him by buying him a PlayStation for Christmas, adding that he was not going to be bought.

When the lawyer lightly tried to talk about how things might be for Hamish if he were to spend more time with his Dad, Hamish became more strident, and spoke strongly about how much his mother had done for him, the sacrifices she made and how little child support his father paid.

The lawyer had come across cases such as Hamish’s before. After interviewing Brian, he reported to the court that he was concerned that Hamish’s views were heavily influenced by Justine and suggested that the court direct a psychologist’s report, which might consider Hamish’s relationship with his parents, including any influencing of his wishes.

The court gives less weight to the wishes of a child where it has evidence of pressure by one parent being brought to bear over a child’s views. Over-involvement of a child in court proceedings is often a sign that they are not being permitted to truly express their wishes.

In this situation, a psychologist’s report that showed Justine was unduly influencing Hamish would ensure the court did not allow his views to determine the outcome of the parental dispute.

Meanwhile, in the real world:

If the veil of secrecy which the court operates behind was as effective as she no doubt believes it to be, most Herald readers would no doubt be reassured by Crawshaw’s article. Fortunately, repeated leaks of documentary evidence show that court appologists present a very distorted picture of what actually happens.

In August 1998, MENZ Issues published the story of “Jeremy Collins”.

Quoting (with names changed) from the ‘confidential’ 2002 section 29 Psychologist Report on Jeremy’s family:

In the last report, the writer noted the impact of Mrs Collins’s attitude on Sarah’s decision making…

Mrs Collins did not appear to appreciate that there were legal implications with respect to some of her actions (e.g., reducing the access frequency from that which was stated in the court order), nore did she appear to appreciate that Mr Collins remains a guardian and as such can request to be involved in decision making (e.g., with respect to health matters).

At the bottom line this is Mrs Collins’s position, she does not want Mr Collins to feature in her life or her daughter’s life. She has also stopped all contact with Mr Collins’s family and does not appear to be in contact with her own family.

[Mrs Collins] believes the abuse occurred and cannot understand why there is any uncertainty about this…The writer simply wishes to state that Mrs Collins is acting in a manner consistent with her beliefs.

There can be little doubt that when a parent holds attitudes as strong as those held by Mrs Collins, then any child living with them will be aware of these attitudes. At the last assesment it was clear that Sarah was well aware of her mother’s opinions and this had affected her decisions.

The influence of her mother upon her decision making is less overt at this time than it has been at previous assessments. The writer is well aware that it could be debated that this is because Sarah has now totally internalised her mother’s beliefs and is “alienated”.

The psychologist presented the court with three options:

  1. Enforce access. “This approach has not worked in the past and the writer is unclear as to why it would work now”.
  2. Provide counselling for Sarah. “It is this writer’s opinion that it is unlikely such counselling could be effective”.
  3. Cease access.

Jeremy has not seen his daughter Sarah since.


  1. Hello good people :
    Its so sad but I have given up on the Family Court as it is totally dsyfunctional. I can no longer take it, with all its lies and gender bias. My case has cost the NZ taxpayer a lot of money (25 Judges etc..), and still no access arrangements are in place.Helen the dyke and her immoral colleagues will be happy, as they has destroyed my role as a Father. Can’t the New Zealand public see that it is part of their evil agenda to destroy parent power, as its a huge growth industry( ask any psychobabble freak) but who cares? My malicious ex-made further false allegations last week so after 4 years of Heartache I got my Family Court file from the 27 legal aid lawyer and threw the bloody lot in the fire. God help my lost daughters – please as nobody else can in this disgraceful nation! Heartbroken Dad4justice 🙁

    Comment by Peter Burns — Sat 26th February 2005 @ 12:10 pm

  2. My heart goes out to you Peter.
    I too know first hand the despair and gutwrenching grief in facing the realisation that the NZ family court is inherantly anti-father.
    I’m convinced seeing how quickly our gov’t responds to other issues that come to thier attention, that they know there’s a problem with the family court. But they either cynically don’t give a shit, or can’t think past thier gynocentric ideology and chivalric mindsets to fix it.
    As a result of losing my dear son to that form of NZ feminism, seeing other good men reduced to grief stricken messes, after being daily shafted by 20 odd years of male hating there, I have dedicated myself to a lifetime of struggle for men’s human rights. After some time there of being scarily close to suicide and self medicating to manage, I’m back, much stronger and determined to push the children’s fathering agenda.
    I agree with you that what is happening in NZ is utterly disgraceful. You may take some comfort also from knowing that I carry this message wherever I go. Currently I’m in Korea, but regularly make trips to other parts of Asia.
    As part of the Kiwi diaspora then, I meet other Kiwis, blokes and women on my travels. We talk about NZ. And I know that I’m far I’m far from being the only travelling Kiwi saying these kinds of things. There’s a sizable ex-pat community out here that’s overseas to escape the current sickening NZ PC. We’re all sick of paying ridiculously high taxes to fund other people’s corrupt gravy trains. Embassadors of a certain kind you might say.
    Tough shit for NZ, where there’s currently a skills shortage, amidst record levels of divorce, fatherlessness and an unsustainable plummeted birthrate.
    Surprise, surprise. People go where they can make a go of things, not where they get shafted and lose thier family!
    So take heart. Word is spreading fast and far that NZ is now very much a misandric anti-family Socialist-feminist state, and thus to be avoided. In the context of the rising tide of a highly educated, very mobile globalised techsavvy workforce this is hurting NZ.
    For it’s making NZ a place decent, hardworking, highly competent people are avoiding in favour of more family-friendly places.
    All the rhetoric in the world about ‘working for families’, a toothless families commission, and massaging of statistics to fit ideology isn’t going to change this. It simply means there’s a growing disconnection between big gov’t and people. That’s what topples empires.

    Stephen Gee.

    Comment by Stephen Gee — Sat 26th February 2005 @ 5:06 pm

  3. I am embroiled in a bitter battle also. Just recently I have been given a PC by a friend. Alone, depressed and frightened of the uncertainty, I found you. Thank you for your tales of woe and despair. It seems like a dark appreciation but for the first time in 9 months I know I’m not alone. Thank you.

    Comment by Joe Rickit — Tue 14th June 2005 @ 7:37 am

  4. Joe writes:

    “for the first time in 9 months I know I’m not alone.”

    You sure aren’t Joe, and this isn’t the sort of problem that you should try and deal with unsupported. All men’s organisations will have some members who are having or have had similar experiences. You will find it extremely reassuring and useful to talk to men who have travelled the road you are on.

    I strongly suggest that you try to hook up with a local organisation if there is one in your area, have a look at this page: NZ men’s support group index.

    Comment by JohnP — Tue 14th June 2005 @ 8:23 am

  5. Thanks for the advice and contact details.Your site is inspirational and truly supportive.

    Comment by Joe Rickit — Sat 25th June 2005 @ 7:29 am

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