FACS (previously known as DOCS) interviewed me for a number of reasons, including a report that a 9 year old boy (my son) had been playing MA Rated video games and that nine years earlier I had made a joke with my then wife about issuing “soccer penalty cards” if she was rude to me. Seriously.
All I could think was “there’s children being sodomised in units all over Lakemba and I’m being grilled about a conversation that I had 9 years previously”.
One lawyer described FACS (known to everybody as DOCS…who the fuck changed their name?) to me as “a bunch of people with too few brains and too much power”. I used to think think that was a bit rough but my experience pretty much confirmed that.
On Thursday 20th July 2017 at 2.45pm, the director of Jannawi rang me and advised me that FACS had received a report that my children were being abused.
Sensing that I needed to get “on the front foot” I made an appointment with FACS Lakemba on the 27th July, 2017. I met with Mona Scratch (not her real name) and another case worker I shall call CAC. We talked for almost two hours.
During the first interview on the 27th July, 2017, I learnt that FACSs were investigating my children because Lea or Jannawi had reported sexualised behaviour in my daughters. Lea’s claim of sexualised behaviour was all rubbish.
FACS would later confirm as much, as they dropped the case… for a second time. The first time was when my Paediatric Specialist had reported it some months earlier (see the chapter on The Sisterhood).
I saw that as a spectacular case of double handling at the taxpayers expense. The very same government department, FACS, had investigated Lea’s claims twice in under six months.
Lea did falsely report that my dauhters were oversexualised and exhibiting signs of adult sexual behaviour. That was the one possibly serious claim that was investigated. The two other claims were, specifically:
⦁ That my son had threatened to commit suicide at Jannawi. This did happen.
⦁ That a 9 year old boy had been watching MA rated video games.
I’M NOT KIDDING! (see the notes below).
If you think that your tax dollars are being wasted on piss ant investigations you’re right. They are.
One of the case workers, Mona Scratch (not her real name), indicated that FACS Lakemba had a close working relationship with Jannawi.
They seemed quite sympathetic to my case. They were very upset about the soccer coach.
I mentioned my concern that Jannawi had asked my two daughters direct and leading questions. At the second interview, they suggested that Jannawi would not have done that because they were “professionals”. The ladies from FACS told me that on the very same day the media broke the story that Barnaby Joyce was a dirty All Blacks supporter, a New Zealander. He was our deputy Prime Minister. You can’t get much more professional than that. That was before the nation learnt about all of his other “professional” activities. Clearly, as Barnaby has shown us, being professional does not indemnify you from breaking the rules. I resisted the urge to point out the idiocy of their response.
At the conclusion of the first interview I mentioned my concern that Lea was using crystal meth on occasion and asked if they could arrange for a drug test. They declined.
The second interview was on Friday 18th August 2017. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as the first one. The structure of the interview is not reflected in their notes (see below). We said our hellos. They apologized for about five minutes for what they were about to do.
I had no idea what they were apologising about. Then they pounded me for what seemed like 20 minutes over a conversation I had with Lea NINE YEARS EARLIER. SERIOUSLY.
In 2009, shortly after the birth of our first child, Lea had postnatal depression but we didn’t know it.
Lea was being rude to me about every 30 seconds. She was nasty, spewing bile constantly. I told her so. She didn’t think that she was being rude.
I suggested that I give her penalty cards when she was rude, as they do in soccer. If I issued a yellow card, she had to fellate me and a red card meant that she had to move to Newcastle (with her parents) for the weekend. Lea laughingly agreed that it was a good idea.
I had borrowed the idea from the ABC Comedy series Frontline. The lead character Mike Moore issued yellow and red cards to his friends in one episode.
This was a conversation that took place in the year 2009. I met with FACS Lakemba in 2017. The card conversation was a cheeky idea from eight years previous that was never intended to become a reality. It never did.
Mona Scratch wanted to know if I thought that the entire “soccer card” thing could be viewed as controlling behaviour. Resisting the obvious urge to point out that the discussion we were having was beyond absurd and a huge waste of taxpayers’ money and resources, I said no.
When you have an AVO out against you, it’s not wise to berate idiots, especially when they work for the government. That’d just make you look like an aggressive thug. (Don’t get an AVO.)
There are four levels of risk attributed to each case that FACS investigate. The lower two don’t warrant any further intervention by FACS and the top two do. My children were rated the third level, in need of further intervention. I was amazed.
During the meeting in August 2017, Mona Scratch gave me a Family Action Plan for Change dated September 2017 (see below). It stated that both parents should agree on who counsels our children. I felt like someone had finally respected my rights as a parent. I never had and never would agree to Jannawi. My children were going to be counselled elsewhere.
After releasing this Family Action Plan, someone (like Jannawi or Lea or Jannawi and Lea) got to FACS.
On Friday the 20th of October, Mona Scratch and CAC (the other case worker) came to my new place (we’d sold the family home and I was renting a unit) to check for toilet paper and food. They’d already done this at the family home before we sold it.
During the visit the case workers from FACS told me that someone had told them that the judge in the Family Court had, during a mention, said to me words to the effect of “Mr Ex you should be going to Jannawi to help your children with their counselling”. Mona Scratch suggested that, regardless of the possible effects on my children’s welfare, they must obey even the most whimsical comment by the judge.
I felt that they were lying. Either way, they revised the Family Action Plan and suggested that the children had to remain in Jannawi. The plan is below, dated October 2017.
As a side note, it all ended December 2017. Mona Scratch sent me a letter in February 2018 (below). In that letter, she suggests that I continue sending my children to Jannawi. That seemed completely at odds with her earlier claim that she had changed the Family Action Plan to suggest that my children stay at Jannawi in October 2017 simply because of a flippant comment made by our family court judge. It seemed that Mona’s reason for wanting my children to go to Jannawi had changed. Mona’s first reason was because the Judge had made a flippant comment. In February 2018 she seemed very relaxed about it and not the least bit forced into submission by the whimsical comments of a Family Court Judge.
In my less lucid moments I think that Mona was never influenced by what the Family Court Judge said but simply interested in ensuring that my children go to Jannawi. And not necessarily solely for their benefit.
In my even less lucid moments, it seems that FACS were simply helping their mates at Jannawi who were intent on assisting Lea get the bulk of the custody and the bulk of the funds from the sale of the house.
The fact that Jannawi and FACS ignored every one of my concerns regarding my children’s welfare just fuels my insane imagination. I’m sure in reality they have a very good reason for their actions.
I just can’t think of a single one.
From this point on FACS were condescending and difficult to deal with.
I refused to sign their new plan. I wouldn’t sign a plan that meant my children would attend Jannawi, a place that had participated in extremely unethical conduct with my children, namely the direct and leading questioning of my daughters.
I checked with my lawyer to see if it would hurt my case to stuff FACS around by not being available for meetings, cancelling appointments etc. I had planned to drag it out for months and months. My lawyer gave me the green light.
Some time prior to December 2017, Mona Scratch rang me and tried to get me to attend a meeting with the scum from Jannawi in the hope that we could “build a bridge”. I remember just screaming “FUCK NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” at the top of my voice down the phone. It was an automatic response.
It might just be me but I get a bit twitchy when some idiot suggests that I have a “sit down” with a group of grubs who have tried to ruin my life by trying to stitch me up as a paedophile. All of that was completely lost on Mona Scratch.
As my lawyer said, “FACS have too few brains, too much power”.
I finally attended a meeting at FACS after Mona Scratch had gone on holidays. It was still around December 2017. I saw Mona’s superior.
She said to me that she had no idea why they, FACS, were dealing with my case. She said that it appeared to her that I was “simply having an acrimonious divorce”. She suggested that FACS could no longer waste resources on this matter. I shook her hand and left the building. That was the end of it, almost.
Lea had complained, among other things, that my son had threatened to commit suicide at Jannawi (he had) and that he had been exposed to MA rated video games at 9 years of age (he had not).
FACS LAUNCHED AN INVESTIGATION.
I mentioned in the two interviews that I had with FACS that my 5 & 6 year old daughters had been groomed by Jannawi to suggest that I had played with their vaginas. I asked that they arrange a drug test as Lea had told me that she was using meth recreationally (true).
I told them that I wanted my children counselled in a place that both parents could feel comfortable attending to lessen their feeling that there was acrimony between their parents. I wanted them counselled by a proper psychologist. I told them that Jannawi were a party to the secrecy that surrounded them attending and that had inflicted emotional damage on my children.
FACS DID NOTHING.
I was left with the impression that FACS were only there to do the bidding of their friends at Jannawi and or Lea.
During that meeting with Mona’s superior in December 2017 I told her (the Head Honcho, name withheld) that I thought the whole investigation was a waste of time she advised me that they had to investigate the allegations of child sexual assault. I didn’t discuss Jannawi or anything else at all. I said very little. I wanted FACS to drop the case. I was getting what I wanted. I got out of there as soon as I could.
At that point they would have known that Lea had made a bunch of false allegations. That should have been reported to Jannawi, who FACS were working closely with. And they should have questioned Lea’s claims about DV.
Obviously that didn’t happen and my children continued to be counselled in a place that reminded them on a weekly basis that there was a level of acrimony between their parents. My children’s attendance at Jannawi also meant that they were denied access to proper and ethical psychological counselling. My children attended Jannawi for eighteen months.
It’s a system that has gears that only work one way. They’ll do anything to protect a mother who makes false allegations without any redress for the complainant even when more than half of her allegations are found to be false.
In my less lucid moments, I imagined that Jannawi and their two friends at FACS Lakemba (Mona Scratch and CAC) had an agenda of supporting women in their attempts to get a better deal in a divorce.
It seemed to have very little to do with protecting children or ascertaining whether an individual was throwing around wild allegations at her former partner’s expense. Lea claimed in her affidavit that I was bashing my children, punching them in the throat and hurling them about their bedrooms. Lea accused my mate’s father of being a paedophile. She also implied that I was being sexually inappropriate with my own daughters.
All of those allegations were proved false within months. Nothing else was done. Lea faced no consequences.
FACS do have a duty of care to look into all the allegations. They looked into Lea’s allegations, they ignored mine (see the meeting notes taken by FACS above).
They found nothing. They then handed the children back to a woman who was clearly using them as pawns in a game to gain advantage over her ex partner.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the FACS’ “duty of care” and my own are not even in the same ballpark.