Holding Family Court Judges Criminally Responsible

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On December 25 the lives of many were forever changed as a direct result of a Queen's Bench justice failing to act in the best interest of the children. 

The Christmas day tragedy in Oak Bay, British Columbia, were two young girls aged 4 and 6 were murdered by their custodial parent highlights the grave consequences of ignoring protective parent’s concerns. Though the other parent raised evidence of abuse in the Oak Bay case, the judge dismissed her evidence and concerns in the interest of providing the father custodial time. Tragically this family court decision resulted in the children’s deaths.

Sadly, this case is not an anomaly. All across Canada protective parents are being ignored, threatened and even jailed and their children are being placed into unsafe homes. While not every case that ignores abuse concerns ends with the death of a child it doesn’t mean these children do not suffer. The Adverse Childhood Experiences studies clearly demonstrate that exposure to high conflict and domestic abuse is child abuse and has both short and long term consequences for children. 

Family courts in Canada are routinely failing to protect children and failing to provide support for their protective parents when abuse is disclosed and reported to the court, especially sexual abuse.

When children disclose abuse they are disbelieved and forced into unsupervised contact with and/or custody of their abuser., credible evidence is ignored, and the protective parent is often falsely accused of one or more of the following things: mental illness, inability to "get along" or "co-parent" with the abuser, attempting to alienate the children from the other parent, coaching, and/or lying. Family court judges all over our nation are ordering thousands upon thousands of children into unsupervised visitation and custody with suspected and known abusers.

This is a complete betrayal of their trust and a violation of their civil rights guaranteed to them by our Constitution. And Protective parents are punished for reporting abuse and trying to protect their children. Their punishment is greatly reduced and/or supervised time with their children, imprisonment, fines, or the very worst possible punishment of all - a complete severing of the parent-child relationship as per order of the court.

 Our nation's children are our future and every level of government should be very concerned about this crisis. Those who suffer because of the family court and family services industry are crying out for help, but their cries are falling on deliberately deafened ears. The very system that has been put into place to help children and their families(s) re-victimizes and re-traumatizes them again and again and there is little to no oversight - no real accountability for their actions. Families are literally at the mercy of the system and there is rarely any mercy to be found. No reasonable person would ever expect a good parent to hand their child over to the one who abused them, yet family court judges regularly order good, protective parents to do that all across our nation with the threat of losing custody and/or jail time looming large over their heads if they don't comply. And Child Protection is either neglecting to protect abused children or they are removing children from good, safe homes and needlessly placing them into foster care and adopting them out. The system is beyond broken. Children and families are being grievously harmed and torn apart.  One time is too many! One child is too many! One family is too many!

Most reports of child sexual abuse are not properly investigated and rarely is the perpetrator brought to justice and given real consequences for committing such a heinous crime.  The judicial system has a clear disregard and lack of understanding of sexual abuse of a minor even though statistics tell us that less than 2% of sexual abuse allegations made by a child are false. Children in Canada have a right to safety yet they are continually denied this right.

Judges are not taking domestic violence, coercive control, and child abuse into consideration as they are required to by law when making decisions for custody and visitation.  Family courts and Child Protection agencies do not properly investigate allegations of abuse, the result is that children are (often by force) put into unsafe and abusive situations. Protective parents are being slandered and maligned by judges, attorneys, and court appointed "experts" if they disagree with harmful court decisions and when they attempt to protect their children from abuse. Protective Parents are falsely accused of parental alienation, lying, controlling and manipulative behaviour, coaching their children, and having a mental illness. This is done to discredit them and silence them.

Judges need to be held to a higher standard with the powers that they hold. They should not have judicial immunity and should have consequences when making such grave decisions that harm children. Judges are making decisions without the knowledge or training that is required and it is detrimental to children. They make decisions based on who they like and not evidence. they make decisions based on protecting the parent instead of the child.  With the court orders that are made children are being denied their right to safety as they are continually placed in the care of their abuser. 

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Victoria Gray needs to be held accountable for her failure to protect these children when evidence was placed before her. Justice Gray outlined a shared parenting schedule despite her concerns about the parents past behaviour. Those concerns included a previous restraining order and two investigations by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).

“The father has displayed poor judgment in dealing with the children,” wrote Justice Victoria Gray. She further wrote that “The father is a loving father who has much to offer his daughters. It is in the best interest of the girls to have significant parenting time with the father,” and  "This is not a case where family violence is a significant factor for determining parenting arrangements." 

Justice Gray granted the parent the right to have the girls for 24 hours beginning at noon on Christmas Eve in 2017. The girls were found dead on the afternoon of December 25 after the parent failed to return the children to the other parent as per the court order.

The red flags were there and Justice Gray ignored them and in turn aided in the murder of these two girls from refusing to get help for this family. She should be held criminally responsible for making this tragic error sending a message to other judges that domestic abuse needs to be taken seriously and children voices need to be heard.

There are other children in this situation and it is not fair to expect them to continue living in situations like this while the system spend years and millions of dollars doing an inquest and then refusing to make the changes that are required. The only way to stop this from continuing to happen is to hold judges responsible for their irresponsible and dangerous decisions. Giving them consequences will ensure that they take their time and rule from a point of law instead of with their attitude and belief that when abuse is disclosed after separation that it is false.  It is proven and documented that very few actually report abuse until they are free. Judges are bias and hateful towards parents who disclose abuse after separation and the tragedy of December 25, 2017 is the worst form of punishment doled out by a judge. And yes not all cases end up so tragic but when children are involved it should not matter.  Any level of abuse for a child is too much and the courts are continually placing children with their abusers. 

This is not a gender problem this is a problem due to the family court.  The family court is responsible for the tragedy that occurred that cost these girls their life. It was the courts responsibility to act in these girls best interest but failed to do so. Judges refuse to believe that parents are capable of such violence and abuse and places children into dangerous situations. The Judges ignorance of abuse makes them incapable of rendering the judicial role and that is what Justice Gray did when she deemed that the abusive past of the girls father was not enough to warrant supervised access.

This petition is to demand that Justice Grey be criminally charged with failure to protect these children, accessory to murder Breach of Public Trust, Breach of Duty of Care, Criminal Negligence and aiding and Abetting a Crime. Her negligence allowed this to happen and should be punished for doing so.

 

 

 



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