The children had been exposed to arguing and fighting between the parents, but not to physical assault. It was agreed that this constituted domestic violence. Both parents acknowledged the problem and were participating in remedial services. There had been previous court applications involving the parents and the issue of domestic violence. Unlike the first court proceedings, the father was cooperative, attending all appearances at court, making submissions, and asking questions. There was also evidence that he had been attending for services. The agency argued that the parents should first do what they said they would, and if the services were successful, the children might be returned. The mother argued that it was neither necessary nor appropriate for court proceedings to continue, and that it was harmful for the children to be separated from her and from each other. There was evidence that the older child had suffered some emotional harm from the domestic violence, but none of the children had directly been physically harmed.
- What consideration should be given to parents who seek counselling for domestic issues?
Milner held that the the main issue to be considered in this case is whether the children of parents who acknowledge that there has been domestic violence in their relationship, but who are willing to engage in remedial services, should be found to be children in need of protective services within the meaning of the Act. Section 22(2)(i) requires that there be either physical or emotional harm to a child resulting from repeated domestic violence by or towards a parent of the child. As the parents were obtaining services to remedy or alleviate the domestic violence, he decided that there was no need for protective services at the time of the application.
Parents who seek assistance for family issues will reduce the chances of having a protective order made against them.