2014 | Research papers
Lisa Young, Sandeep Dhillon and Laura Groves
This article argues that the unacceptable risk test, as applied in cases where there are allegations of child sexual abuse against a parent, deserves reconsideration in light of the introduction of s 60CC(2A). The article sets out briefly the judicial exposition of the 'unacceptable risk' test and then provides a snapshot of the four predominant categories of child sexual abuse cases that present to family courts and identifies where the application of the unacceptable risk test presents particular problems. Prior critique of the test is then considered and it is argued that the test is fundamentally
flawed (in theory) and in practice poses significant dangers for abused children. The relevant amendments to Pt VII are then outlined and the interpretation of s 60CC(2A) is discussed, including considering the impact of s 60CG. It is argued that s 60CC(2A) demands a reconsideration of the unacceptable risk test in the context of child sexual abuse cases and changes the statutorily mandated process of decision-making -- it should not be 'business as usual'.
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