Women demand answers for Family Court failings

BEVAN READ

Ruth Herbert has built on her lifetime of experiences to help put together the Backbone Collective to assist abused women.

Women dealing with the Family Court have come forward to tell a new independent watchdog that the system is failing to keep them, and their children, safe.

They have also come up with a list of 160 questions for the Government, demanding to know why the system is letting them down.

The Backbone Collective, an organisation co-founded by domestic abuse survivor Ruth Herbert, was launched in March, promising to keep abused women and children safe, and help them rebuild their lives.

Backbone Collective co-founders, from left, Tania Domett, Ruth Herbert and Deborah Mackenzie.
SUPPLIED

Backbone Collective co-founders, from left, Tania Domett, Ruth Herbert and Deborah Mackenzie.

Before that, the group ran a survey asking women want they wanted it to focus on first, and were told the Family Court was the part of the system women wanted Backbone to look at.

READ MORE: 
Former Glenn Inquiry head starts domestic violence watchdog 'The Backbone Collective'
Glenn Inquiry: Domestic violence 'a disaster'
Former Glenn Inquiry boss' own report
Booze cause of family violence - inquiry

Co-founder Deborah Mackenzie said 400 women had signed up to the voluntary group since it launched, many of them making contact over Facebook and email to share their stories.

Ruth Herbert, co-founder of the Backbone Collective, is a survivor of domestic and sexual violence.
BEVAN READ/ FAIRFAX NZ

Ruth Herbert, co-founder of the Backbone Collective, is a survivor of domestic and sexual violence.

From there, the group asked 10 women across the country to come up with questions for the Government, based on their experiences of the Family Court.

"They wrote the questions, we did not touch them at all, we've just put them into themes ... we think the questions speak for themselves."

The women said they were revictimised by Family Court process, and felt legislation meant the rights of abusive fathers trumped the safety of their children.

Co-founder Deborah Mackenzie said 400 women had signed up to the voluntary group since it launched last month.
SUPPLIED

Co-founder Deborah Mackenzie said 400 women had signed up to the voluntary group since it launched last month.

The closed nature of the court, which women said meant it was not open to public or media scrutiny, was another issue raised, as was the quality of practice of some Family Court judges, and perceived shortfalls in legislation.

Ad Feedback

Women also said it was difficult to make complaints, and felt they were consistently brushed off.

The questions put together in the report will be sent to the appropriate government departments by Backbone. The responses they get, and how long it takes for authorities to respond to those questions, will be made public.

The idea was to provide a way for women to make their experiences known, and to get answers they were unable to get themselves, Mackenzie said.

Backbone would also release a survey on Friday, asking women to let them know of their experiences within the Family Court setting.

The group, which was run voluntarily by the three women, would do the Government's work, in asking women and children how their experience within the court was, Mackenzie said.

"The Government does not do that work at all, we have decided this is the bit we can do ... hopefully the system will respond and make change accordingly."

Register with Backbone here, or email info@backbone.org.nz in confidence to tell your story.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

No reward despite effort

NZ Warriors Mason Lino steps Cowboys Te Marie Martin.

OPINION It did not go our way again, my Vodafone Warriors losing in Townsville to the North Queensland Cowboys 24-12.

Fleeing motorcyclist killed

The serious crash occurred on the corner of Buckland Road and Royton Avenue.

Speeding motorcyclist dies in police pursuit after failing to stop in south Auckland.

Funding to support 23,000 new homes

Prime Minister Bill English has pledged a $600m housing injection.

The Government is pouring $600m into infrastructure that will support 23,300 new Auckland homes.

Anika Moa tours songs for bubbas

Anika Moa Chop Chop Hiyaaa tour in Pukekohe

The singer-songwriter's Chop Chop Hiyaaaa tour is a delightful way to entertain preschoolers and parents alike.

Wellington

Corgis worth a queen's ransom video

Jack and Joyce Luo spent more than $20,000 to bring their beloved welsh corgis Amy and Lucky from Beijing when they ...

Couple shell out $20,000 to bring their beloved dogs to join them in NZ.

Person trapped in car

The single car crash was on a tricky road, north of Wellington. (File photo)

Emergency services respond to a person trapped in a car on a rural road.

Car buried by slip

The buried Mazda in Palliser Rd, Roseneath, on Sunday morning.

Owner was at a party when he discovered his Mazda 6 under a pile of dirt.

Kapiti calls for its own hospital

K Gurunathan says: "We have particular needs with more than 26 per cent of our population over 65 years old. You can't ...

Nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition, citing "critical need" for better care.

Canterbury

Floodwater breaches home video

230717 NEWS Photo: Joseph Johnson/Stuff
Deborah Buchanan stands in her water damaged house looking located in Clarendon ...

Resident returns to find floodwater has washed through her quake-damaged home.

Dad dies on Coast farm

Bryan Edmonds leaves behind his partner Alana Tait and two sons Rawiri,1, and 11-month-old Tipene.

Bryan Edmonds stopped for a glass of water. An hour later he was found dead on the West Coast dairy farm.

Immigration U-turn?

Prime Minister Bill English won't rule it backing down on the proposed changes.

The Government is likely to scrub out major changes to immigration law that were announced in April.

Fire installs causing concern

The chimney cavity where a fire broke out in a Queenstown house early Sunday morning.

Builders failing to install multi-fuel fireplaces to NZ standards responsible for a spate of fires.

Waikato

Curfew to curb boy racers? video

More than 100 residents, boy racers, police and regional council representatives turned out for the meeting on Onion ...

Boy racers and residents met face to face to talk about rising tensions in Te Kowhai.

Spending questioned

Waikato District Health Board chief executive Nigel Murray.

Waikato DHB remains tight-lipped over private meeting regarding chief executive Nigel Murray's expenses.

'Kiwi culture' turns deadly video

Making a summer splash at locations such as the Raglan footbridge is seen as a Kiwi tradition but the consequences can ...

Four suffered life-changing injury diving off a wharf. Now, councils are taking action.

Hooves on the beat

Senior Constable Bill Eivers and Ali are known to patrol Benneydale together.

Senior Constable Bill Eivers has been patrolling on horseback for the past 15 years.

Taranaki

High steaks for cattle breeders

Jacqueline and Robin Blackwell have a friendly rivalry.

It's just as much about bragging rights at home as it is about national recognition for the Blackwell family.

NZ's first virtual medical centre

Dr Lance O'Sullivan is running the pilot project in Patea.

Patea's only doctor left, so the small town is now embracing new virtual technology to find a solution to its vacancy.

Author writes for herself

The book follows the story of a New Zealander who goes over to fight in the Vietnam war.

"I like to write what I like to read, and I figure if I'd like to read it than other people will want to read it as well."

Light pole hit-and-run

Police were alerted to the incident and located the driver a short time later.

The pole was left blocking an intersection.

Manawatu

"Can-do" Kiwi laid to rest

22072017 news photo DAVID UNWIN/STUFF
Colin Stevenson's funeral. A Traction Engine called "Dixie Flyer" takes Colin's ...

 Colin Stevenson, the man who "put Tokomaru on the map" died aged 87, and was ferried to the cemetery by steam-powered traction engine.

Miles in memory 

Crystal Johnston from Bulls and Liz Peters from Palmerston North cycling for 24 hours in a Sands Manawatu-Horowhenua ...

Two mums and three dads cycled on spin bikes for up to 30 hours as part of the fundraiser for lost babies.

Millions spent fixing police cars

A police car comes to a final halt after crashing through a Hamilton property in June.

More than $8 million has been spent fixing damaged police cars in the past three years.

No random drug tests 

Only following a police shooting do officers undergo drug and alcohol testing. (File photo).

Police are only given drug and alcohol testing if they fire a gun during an incident.

Nelson

Fake News and tinfoil hats

12052017 News Photo: TOM LEE/FAIRFAX NZ - MP Peter Dunne speaks at Cafe Agora in Hamilton. 4 members of the audience ...

OPINION: As Trump and his supporters bang on about "alternative facts", the concept is very much alive and well here in the provinces.

Nelson reign supreme

22072017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER/ STUFF

Nelson players and support staff after winning the  Nelson Bays Division 1 ...

Nelson turn it on to hammer Wanderers in Nelson Bays club rugby final. 

Stage set for Ma's Place fundraiser

The Split Apple Rockers Andrew Palmer, Dave Baker, Craig Starrenburg, Ernie Tarling and John Foes-Lamb are due to ...

Support group Ma's Place to benefit from proceeds of variety concert.

Breaking up bad

It all starts innocently enough.

In this week's Middle-aged Man Stu Hunt combs through the wreckage of his dating history.

Marlborough

Renwick denied 'fairytale' finish

Moutere captain Baxter Wilson holds up the champion of champions trophy.

Moutere ensured there would be no happy ending to Renwick's "fairytale" season with a 22-19 grand final victory.

Old Boys get job done

Marlborough College Old Boys celebrate with their supporters after beating Moutere in the division two final at ...

Marlborough College Old Boys gained sweet revenge for their 2016 final defeat when they overcame Moutere 27-15.

Chinese keen on pricey NZ crays

New Zealand crayfish is a premium product in China where it can fetch $1000 a kilo.

When it comes to high end gourmet goods the Chinese have a growing appetite for New Zealand wine, water and crayfish.

Escaping the Beast of Blenheim

Stewart Murray Wilson talks to journalist Harrison Christian while fishing at the Whanganui river mouth.

Even though he lives far away under strict conditions, Stewart Murray Wilson still haunts his former partner.

South Canterbury

A metre of snow in one day gallery

Staff clear snow from the base building at Mt Dobson on Sunday.

South Canterbury's ski fields will be primed for the rest of the season after huge snow dumps.

Response praised gallery video

A car stuck in the middle of Evans St with two occupants. Two police officers pushed the car off the road.

Timaru mayor praises response to storm, as attention turns to the clean up effort.

Working in the wild weather video

Lance Corporal Gerald Hart, Third Combat Support Services Battalion member, left, and Staff Sergeant Jason Segal look at ...

Hundreds of people worked tirelessly behind the scenes during SC's wild weekend.

Chickens lost in flood video

The Tin Shed owner Lesley Limbe at her property in Rangitata, which was hit by extensive flooding.

Retailer left questioning why her property was hit so badly by rapidly rising floodwaters.

Southland

"The culinary world has just lost a gentleman"

Scott Richardson, pictured here in 2015, in his role as a catering and hospitality teacher at Southland Boys' High School.

Well-known Invercargill chef Scott Richardson died this morning in Dunedin Hospital.

'Business as usual'

Aparima College principal Kaye Day. The latest Governmental report on the College said "urgent" improvement in ...

A troubled Southland secondary school is to continue as usual, despite its leadership coming under fire.

Hotel facing potential delays

Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey in front of the proposed site of the ILT's new multi-million ...

The Invercargill Licensing Trust has unearthed some speed bumps in its plans to build a new inner city hotel.

Defending champions on fire

Wensley's Fire cyclists from left to right, Nick Barclay, Marty Jillings, Ben Coley and Tai-Anne Blair set off in the ...

The fire service team has confirmed its the fastest emergency service in Invercargill.

Ad Feedback