Zoe Rathus, an expert on family law and domestic violence at Griffith University, told the inquiry the legislated presumption of equal shared parental responsibility had proved “extremely dangerous” and acted to prevent people from airing allegations of domestic violence in the family court.
“Hannah Clarke was allowing Baxter to see the children on a regular basis,” Rathus said. “[The presumption in favour of equal shared parental responsibility] would have been part of all of the information that she will have been given. It would have been almost impossible for her to have resisted doing that.
“And if she had, it would have been very possible for him to accuse her of being an alienator, particularly as this is not a case that would have been described as aggressive violence. We know that family violence can be most dangerous when it isn’t necessarily aggressive.”