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TW: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

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TW: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

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TW: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse


I am a father of two children, aged 14 and 13.

Unfortunately,  13 years on, I still do not have any relationship with my children as the mother continues to contravene court orders and does all things possible to ensure they children do not reach out wanting to seek out their father,

Since 2010, the mother has been alienating the children, essentially erasing the paternal side of the family from the children. My case is an example of serious parental alienation, where the children are exposed to and suffering Psychological and emotional child abuse.

In 2014, following 4 years in the Federal Courts, court orders were made, however immediately the mother went to work to break any avenues for the children to form a relationship with me.

Over the years have attempted mediation many times, but the mother refusing. In 2017 succeeded in gaining some time with my son, however soon after, the mother slowly restricted times, refusing the children to spend the first Christmas with me and finally broke contact once again.

The emotional distress, and mental anguish this again was causing, I had to disconnect as there was no support at all for such situation other than to bring proceedings to court, faced with costs between $10,000 and $20,000, I simply did not have the money after having spent over $65,000 in the 4 years to fight the matter.

Since then, The mother has relocated, changed phone numbers, contact details and again in contravention of court orders, Complete loss of contact with know knowledge where my children are.

Late in 2021 knowing that my youngest would be starting high school in 2022, I contacted her primary school, from here I found out my daughter was relocated in year 6 (again in contravention of court orders). I search the schools to try and track down my children, and after about a week of back and forward searching, emails and phone calls, finally able to find the children.

I commenced processes to get access to the student records and portals, finally beginning correspondence the the schools

In the second half of 2021, I noticed my son's attendance waning, at the end of 2022, he accumulated 40 days absent, and placed on an Attendance Improvement Program which rolled over into 2023.

I ran into my son walking to school (late), while I was returning from a meeting with the school, I called out to him, however he keep walking, head down. He Whispered "Im ok", "Im fine", "im not allowed to talk to you". His body language and demeanor are classic signs of an individual being abused. His end of year reports, very concerning.

This year, my son has already had 4 days absent.

I am simply lost how I can help my children., I have tried to email via their school email addresses, however no responses.

I feel the schools keep me at distance, however I am concerned for my son's education and fear if keeps going in the direction he is going, he will fail his education. He has already expressed that he dislikes school and turns up late.

Having recently been advised of Emotional Neglect, the signs are clear.

I have contact the DCJ, even written letters, however they continue to say that it does not meet their threshold.

Psychological and emotional abuse through acts of parental alienation is child abuse, I simply cannot understand why this type of behavior continues to be legally acceptable and encouraged by schools, child advocates and child protection authorities.

I am at a point to loosing all hope, there is no support or understanding, and the notion that would every have a relationship with my children, all but evaporated.


As a father, I have been deliberately erased from the lives of my children, every milesone, taken away, memories of their first days at school, birthdays, experiencing Christmas and holidays, all taken away.

Its very much upsetting that in 2023, this type of behavior is acceptable, that the abuser is never challenged and held to account.

I am not the only parent suffering, there are many in the same position..

How to we break this type of abuse ?

Prolific scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

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Hi @Bellalight and thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I'm incredibly sorry to hear that you've had to fight to be involved in your children's lives, and that their mother is making it almost impossible for you to have contact with them. As you said, parental alienation can be an incredibly emotionally draining experience, and often the avenues that are available to fight the disconnection you're facing can be incredibly costly, both psychologically and financially. 

It's great to hear that you've been trying to stay connected with your son and daughter's schools so that you have some idea of what's going on for them and how they're doing. It sounds like you are an incredibly proactive parent and that you're doing everything in your power to stay connected to them in any way you can. It must have been incredibly concerning to learn that your son is having difficulties with attendance, particularly given that you aren't able to speak to him and support him freely. What was it like for you when you saw him outside of school and he informed you that he wasn't 'allowed' to talk to you?

I'm curious about how you're doing in all of this. It sounds like the last few years have been incredibly stressful and painful for you. It must be incredibly difficult to miss out on important milestones in your kids' lives, like Christmases and the start of high school. Do you have any support in your personal life, or anyone you feel comfortable talking to about what you're going through?

If you think it might be helpful, the Family Relationship Advice Line is a national service that can offer advice on managing co-parenting arrangements and might be able to put you in contact with some more local support services. It sounds as though you've tried to exercise every option available to you, so hopefully they can offer some new insights into what you can do from here. 


Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Can you try to arrange supervised meetings with your children? Supervised by a third party, not by your ex.
At least then you can see them and they know you want to be in their lives.
Can you also arrange counselling for them through the school counsellor? Or maybe via Victims Services ? At least then the children would have someone to talk to.
Active scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Hi Portia_Ro,

Thanks for the Reply.

Im doing ok, however also difficult when you feel powerless to be able to help. Watching my son's progress at school and a declining trend is not easy, constantly feeling dejected each time I raise concerns and falls on deaf ears.

Most recently have written to a number of Ministers, including the Minister of Families and Community, Natasha Maclaren-Jones.

Over the years I have tried mediation with no success, the mother simply refuses.

I will not go back into the court system as I simply don't trust a broken system and I neither cannot accept solicitors whom place profits ahead of child's rights and psychological child abuse.

Having endured the court process for 4 years and having court orders, finding out that these orders are practically worthless is just rubbing salt into open wounds.

Back in 2013/2014, we did go through a supervised contact center. The key procedure of such a service is that the custodial parent bring the children to the center and hand-over to staff, and immediately the parent is to leave the premises.

In our situation, the mother refused to leave and would then rival the children where they became so distraught, screaming and upset, so bad it was, I would hear the children from the waiting room that I was in.

Staff failed in their duty of care, they failed to follow procedures and hold the mother to account. On several occasions I had my father with me and we simply asked staff to postpone the contact as this was not good on the children.

My concerns to staff, basically ignored.

So trust in the system and many other practitioners has been destroyed.

I am having to come to terms with the fact that having a relationship with my children, would be winning the lottery, even if something was to eventuate, it would not be anything close to what a true father-son / daughter relationship would carry.


To answer your question around when I saw my son in Late November, I was taken back by how he was, scared, unable to stop and look me in the eye, I tried to say to he that he can talk to me, each time responding with his head down, "I'm Fine", "I'm ok" in a very quiet voice, then finally saying "I'm not allowed to talk to you" as he kept walking.

This for me, was enough evidence to his exposure to abuse / conditioning / coercion.

It saddens me that my son feels that if he even attempts to contact me, they mother will reprimand him, the fear that has been driven into him, is upsetting.

I can see how all this underlying exposure on the home front is driving his dislike of school, and his increasing negative behaviour at school

I have recently been shown my a close friend of mine who is also a teacher, of the topics under the Department of Education, specifically on Educational neglect, all the key signs are present, yet why, 8 months into raising concerns about my son's education has a Catholic school not taken more serious actions other than a current process of an Attendance Improvement Program ? why is it taking so long for the matter to be escalated to the DCJ as a mandated report (under ROSH).

I cannot understand why its taking so long, when I can see my son's education slipping away with each passing week.

My daughter, seems to be doing ok at this stage.

Last year in December, I attended her awards Ceremony. Her mother was not present, however My daughter did make initial eye contact (I think she recognised I was present), but then I could see she was making every effort to avoid any eye contact.

The next day, the School was holding Patent-Student-Teacher conferences, I had booked these in advanced. When I met with each teacher, they asked if my daughter was coming - I had no clue.

What was difficult this day, seeing daughters sharing in the experience with their parents and fathers, - this was taken away from me because, as I found out later, the schools are not responsible to communicate with the students about the appointments (that is, its upto the parents).

The School was fully informed about my situation, yet keep getting fed that the schools cannot get involved.

So, in my mind, Schools themselves actually enable psychological and emotional abuse of children, further more, being a catholic school, they are also hypocrites as they say they teach and follow the catholic faith, values and Ethos. clearly not.

We do have a serious situation in Australia, and we have parents and children suffering - Parental Alienation / psychological and emotional abuse of children, is Child Abuse - yet none of this matters.


Active scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Hi Hope 77,

Back in 2013/2014 We did go through the service, however both the mother and the center failed in their duty of care and their own policies and procedures.

In 2017, I contacted a third-party private service to reengage with the children (this coming mediation through CatholicCare), a 2 hour supervised session was arranged.

Following the success of this session, the next week I requested to spend time with the children (and to keep the momentum going), the contact service person said to me it was not a good idea. I was taken back by this, I then disengaged from the service as she did not understand the situation.

I continued to attend the school events as well as my son's First communion and Parent teacher interviews. Through the mediation process that we were continuing, I requested to spend time with the children on 5/8/2017. This was agreed by the mother, and I was able to spend a quality 2 hours with both my children together for the first time without any interference.

Both my children happy.

The next morning, I rang the mother asking what the children were doing, she said "Im Busy", my response "Are you busy or are the children busy". The mother responded; "Im busy, but only one wants to see you, but I will not separate them".

I offered to come and pick them up, but again the mother saying she would not separate them. I then organised my own day, meeting a friend of mine and drove down the south coast.

Approximatly early afternoon of the same day, the mother contacts me to say that my daughter is being taken to hospital because she broke her leg. Following my daughter's injury, she refused to look at me and her entire outlook towards me took a negative turn. I at least was able to spend time with my son by himself and moving to having him overnights each fortnight - Finally progress, through to December.

I requested to spend time with the children for Christmas for the first time.. The mother refused, This was upsetting.

Throughout this time, my Son kept asking me to take him to a Lego Exhibition, however at the time, there was none scheduled.

On the 26 Jan 2018, There was a lego Expo being held, I rang the mother whom said she was unwell and could not bring the children. I said I would come and pick my son up, again she refused, and in that time she put her partner no the phone who started to make threats towards me that I need to stop asking for my children, to stop harassing his wife otherwise he would make it his mission to make me understand (through violence). I reported to police the threatening text message. It was this that again broke all contact.

Sadly, my daughter's injury in this way was not the the first, twice my son was accused of causing the injury. The first time occurred in 2011, the mother taking the children unrestrained in the car (this was later proven by my solicitor at the time).

All these incidences reported to the DCJ, did they take action ? no, I even had photographic evidence of bruises on my son's legs and arms.

The incident in 2017, the mother causing this as it was her only way to control my daughter - why ? because on the 6 August 2017, It was my daughter who wanted to spend the day with me (not my son who I thought was the one who did).

A very sad situation, but support from anyone in a position of authority to help - absolutely nothing.

So trust in anything like this, I have been burnt now too many times.

Prolific scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Dear @Bellalight ,


It sounds like just a difficult situation for all to be in. This can have significant impact on all involved, especially the children. 


Above all, do you have supports in place for your own self-care? As you mentioned, you fell 'burnt out'. This 'battle' can really drawn one of all energy. It is important there are supports in place for yourself. 


We look forward to hearing from you.

Active scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Hi Chloe-Ro,

Just to clarify, "Burnt" (not burnt-out), relating to entrusting in people to do the right thing and constantly being let down. Every Avenue, met with another brick wall or excuse, or the patronising comment, "Its a Family Law matter, you need to seek advise through the courts"

Family courts is not the answer nor the solution, and simply does not work

Unfortunately, there is no genuine help or support (for the real issues at hand);

1.) Recognise Psychological and emotional child abuse; and reporting through as mandated reports;
2.) To hold those responsible for denying the rights of the children,
3.) To seek independent support for the children, to actually ask them why they are not seeing their other parent and family.

You mention Support, There are two types of support;

1.) Support of your family and friends - yes I do have that. However they are neither in a position to be able to effect change.

2.) Support, of the type and position able to listen to the issues and actively take steps to being to mitigate those issues, this is what I very much struggle with on a daily basis.

Yes I fight for my children, I am concerned about their future, it hurts to see that they don't have a voice or ability to reach out, ask questions or even express their emotions to question their current situation and why they don't get to see their other family.

Another way to understand the situation, is not dissimilar to a physical assault on a person occurring, and everyone standing around as spectators and doing absolutely nothing to stop it.

Yes this is a battle, yes this hurts, however, I have also come to realise the hypocrisy when comes to mental health awareness, awareness on the abuse of children, awareness on bullying and domestic violence, because if we can't address the root-causes of what drives many of these issues, then anything else is simply a band-aid to cover-up what is a too difficult issue to resolve.

In answering your question more correctly;

"Do I have Support in place to address my concerns and issues to help and save my children from the psychological abuse they are suffering?"

Well, to expand on this first,

My children are actively being denied the love, support and care of their father (me), effectively I have been erased from their lives.
My children will now never know their grandmother
My children have been denied relationships with their grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins.

Who is helping my children ? to stand up and protect their rights ?

Therefore, the answer to the question is NO, I don't have support in place to address my concerns and issues to help save my children for the psychological abuse.

Frequent scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Hi @Bellalight

It is genuinely devastating to read of your struggles to navigate a faulty system, and be stuck at the fringes of the lives of your children. I can hear how hard you have been fighting to not only be a part of their lives, but also to find ways to give them the best possible chances of living full lives, free from abuse and alienation. 

I believe you are absolutely correct, in that addressing the root causes of the issue is essential in building a better future for everyone, especially our children. Working in the mental health system has shown me the depths of disparity between the things that need to change, and the rate of how changes are implemented. A painfully slow process, and one that is continuing to leave so many folks in destitution and despair. Though, I have also been witness to the fact that there are truly caring and dedicated people who work within these systems who are fighting for change and fighting to protect and uplift the most vulnerable people in our society, and I hope that you are able to find some professional supports that fit into this group, even though I do hear how burnt you are on trusting anyone within the system. 

I'm afraid I can't offer much in terms of options to explore that haven't already been suggested, and it sounds like you have already walked down many paths in seeking changes to your current circumstances. I had a thought though, and do please do with it what you see fit - it may not be something you're interested in, but it might be beneficial in its own way. Sometimes, children who have been separated from their parents will grow wiser as they grow older, and seek out said parent of their own volition. Perhaps you could write letters or stories for your children that speak to them of your feelings, your love, your devotion. I know it's not much in terms of resolving your situation, but the process itself could be therapeutic, as well as hold onto the hope that those words may one day reach your children and remind them that you have always wanted what is best for them. 

I hope that by continuing to tell your story and raise awareness, you may find allies who will also fight alongside you to ensure your kids can get the support and care they deserve - as well as yourself, because you are also deserving of care in this truly horrendous situation. 

Active scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

Hello Pho-Ro,

Thank you for your response and the insite around the current systemic issues.

In response to your thoughts, Yes I have setup two email accounts a couple of years ago for the children and have been writing to them in the hope that some day I can give them the email accounts for them to read.

Since I connected with the schools and had them add my access to the Compass Parent Portal, I can see the children have school email accounts which I am actively writing to them, however I have not yet had a reply for the children. This may be because of the fear and duress they are under should they reply.

As you have advised that you work in the mental health system, perhaps yourself or someone can provide insight..

I have three websites that I build and have contact forms on, one is my photography website. Last year on 20 October, I received an email via my website, Below is the exact text (with the names of my children anonymised).

"hi dad its me [Son's Name] some friends at school told me about this page i want to talk to you love [Son's Name] and [Daughters's Name]"

I took the email seriously as it not malice in intent and for all intents, that my son was genuinely trying to reach out. Specifically, as the email is very specific as well as the way its ends, is how I would sign off the emails to my children ("Love Dad")

I did some investigations into the origins of the email and then forwarded a copy to the school.

Shortly after, the school contacted me to confirm the email originated from two student's in my son's class, however these two student known for their antics. The two students had been interviewed and allegedly by their accounts said that they did it in malice and betrayed their friend (my Son). The Principal advised me they received 3 days suspension each for the email, the parents apparently were very distraught over the incident.

I wrote to the school to indicate that I don't believe it was in malice, with consideration that its very possibly my son is attempting to reach out "by proxy". I invited the school to convey an email in good faith to offer the parents of the two students if they wish to contact me, they are more than welcome to - The school said they cant do that.

I was seeking transparency - As for me, constantly hearing third party notifications is not helpful.

In a further meeting with the school, I pressed them again, however they did confirm again the students had been questioned. The two students also came from the same cultural background as myself.

One very interesting point the Principal said, that the two students who allegedly sent the email and my son, after they returned to school were good friends in the playground - In my mind, someone who betrays you, you normally don't want to associate with.

I still remain adamant in my gut, the email was not malice, and was genuine of intent - but pretty much the issue was put to rest by the school.

Yet, my son at school is not happy, his education in suffering, yet still It seems I am powerless to get him the support he needs.

Prolific scribe

Re: Raising issues around Psychological and Emotional Child Abuse

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Hey @Bellalight 

Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m sorry to hear that you have been experiencing this, I can hear how difficult this has been for you and how much your children mean to you.

Setting up the email accounts sounds like such a great and thoughtful idea, I’m sure they will really appreciate this one day when they have access to them. I can imagine that this must also be really helpful for you and in a way keep you connected to them. It really shows how much they both mean to you and the love you have for them.

It sounds like you’ve been dealing with a lot for a long time now and I’m mindful of the impact that this must be having on you. I know you’ve shared that you have some family and friends who are supportive which is really great to hear. I'm wondering if you've spoken to a GP or a mental health professional, or if this is something that you would consider? If it is, you can speak to your GP about creating a mental health care plan or ask for a referral. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to deal with this alone and talking about this with a health professional can be important in making sure that you are receiving all the support you need.

I also wanted to let you know that if you’d like some more support, you can reach out to 1800RESPECT which is a service that provides domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support. It is a free service available 24/7 and you can speak to someone over the phone (1800 737 732) or through their online chat. They also have some resources surrounding abuse, relationships and help & support on the website which may be helpful to have a look through.

Also, just wanted to let you know that I have made some edits to your post to better align with our community guidelines.