Court `puts parents before children'

THE Family Court was yesterday accused of putting the interests of parents above the rights of the child when it ordered a nine-year-old boy to live with his stripper mother, whose boyfriend is a convicted child pornography addict.
Leading child abuse campaigner David Wood blasted the ruling last month by judge Tim Carmody, who accepted the boyfriend's evidence that he wasn't a pedophile and did not pose a danger to the boy as he had been interested only in images of young girls.
The chairman of the Abused Child Trust (Queensland) and Kids First Australia was joined by child abuse expert Annie Cossins, who said the court had demonstrated its failure to understand the nature of pedophilia.
Dr Wood said it was clear the woman's partner was a child abuser because he chose to look at photographs -- 350,000 images and 6400 videos -- of children who were being abused.
``The Family Court has no capacity to ensure that supervision and protection of children occur,'' said Dr Wood, who is also director of pediatric health services at Brisbane's Mater Children's Hospital.
``The court ignores all the knowledge we have about people who indulge in child pornography -- that given an opportunity, there is a significant risk of children in their care being abused, and the court ignores the fact that pornography, by definition, is child abuse.
``In my opinion, there is abundant evidence that the Family Court is not qualified to decide on issues of custody of children where there has been abuse.''
Justice Carmody ordered the boy to live in Perth with his mother, who had raised him for all but the last nine months, rejecting an application from his grandparents for him to stay with them in Tasmania, where he was currently in school.
The mother promised the court not to allow her son and boyfriend -- who had completed a rehabilitation program while in prison -- to be alone together.
Dr Cossins, convenor of the National Child Sexual Assault Reform Committee, said the judge did not understand the mind of a pedophile.