DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES
— PRISON VISITATIONS
1283. Hon NICK GOIRAN to the Leader of the House representing
the Minister for Child Protection:
refer to the recent revelation that child protection workers took a baby to
visit her father in prison despite a restraining order being in place.
(1) Why was the department not aware
of the restraining order?
(2) Will the child be subject to further visits to the
prison after the current restraining order expires in December?
(3) What is the
policy or procedure relating to contact with children in cases when a parent
has perpetrated violence against another parent?
(4) To what
extent is that policy or procedure varied or different when the parent is
convicted of, or in custody pending the outcome of, criminal proceedings for
the death of the other parent?
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
make a point not to comment on individual cases, as it is not in the best
interests of children or their families. However, as the Minister for Child Protection,
I am aware of the recent reports about this matter. I am confident that the
Department of Communities is taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety
and wellbeing of this child. When a restraining order is in place that may
impact on the decision-making of a case, legal advice is sought by Communities.
recognises that all children in care should be given opportunities to contact
or have access to information about their birth family if it is in their best
interest. If a parent has perpetrated violence against another parent, this is
taken into consideration, but it is not the single defining factor for whether
contact occurs. Other factors need to be taken into consideration, including
the safety of the child and the pre-existing attachment between the child and
parent or caregiver. Currently, the procedures for contact do not distinguish
between children and parents when a parent is convicted of, or in custody
pending the outcome of, a criminal proceeding.