A mother who is the subject of a CLP report on her case held in camera in the Family Court discovers there’s no mechanism to correct the false information about her in the report

A seminar to mark the tenth anniversary of the Child Law Project (CLP) formerly known as the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP) was held last week.

It was addressed by children’s minister Roderic O’Gorman and the president of the District Court, Judge Paul Kelly.

The CLP was set up in 2013 to report on family law matters that are held in camera in the Family Court.

The CLP has published 859 reports to date on random child care proceedings heard in the District Court and High Court, along with a series of accompanying analytical reports that give a clue to what’s happening in the Family Court.

The testimony below from a mother who is the subject of one of these reports is a cause for concern.

At this juncture we have no way of knowing if it’s an isolated incident or if it’s indicative of more general weaknesses in how family law cases are reported.

The Alliance of Birthmothers Campaigning for Justice (ABC), the country’s largest non-Tusla funded advocacy group for mothers having difficulties with Tusla, Gardai and the Family Court would like to see Dr Carol Coulter, the project’s founder and executive director taking into consideration this mother’s claims, all of which are supported by prima facie evidence seen by ABC, in the hope that no other mother has to suffer the ongoing anguish this mother endures arising from the report published online by CLP that contains false allegations about her that can be used by her ex to justify the loss of custody of her child.

This mother takes no comfort from the fact that the report is anonymized. She believes she is identifiable to family and friends.

There is currently no mechanism in place to provide remedy for people who find themselves in the same boat as this mother.

𝑀𝑦 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝐶𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑤 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑎 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑒.

𝐹𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑙𝑙, 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝐼 𝑎𝑑 𝑛𝑜 𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑙𝑎𝑤 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑜𝑙𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑇𝑢𝑠𝑙𝑎.

𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑎𝑠𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑔𝑒, 𝑛𝑒𝑖𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝐼 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑙𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑐 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑞𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑜𝑛 𝐼 𝑎𝑚 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑜𝑓𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑠 𝑚𝑒.

𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑠 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎℎ𝑒𝑙𝑑 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑚𝑦𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑠. 𝐼 𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎 𝑟𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑦 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑐𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑝𝑜𝑜𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡.

𝑇𝑢𝑠𝑙𝑎 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡  𝑢𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑏𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑟𝑢𝑚𝑜𝑢𝑟, 𝑔𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑝 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑗𝑢𝑑𝑔𝑒𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑠 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛.

𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎 𝑛𝑢𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡 𝑚𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔.

𝑂𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑒𝑠.

𝐴 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑏𝑦 𝑎 𝑝𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑖𝑠𝑡 𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑛 𝑏𝑦 𝑇𝑢𝑠𝑙𝑎 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑚𝑒𝑡 𝑚𝑒 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑎 𝑛𝑢𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑓𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑠, 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑎𝑑 𝑛𝑜 𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑢𝑒𝑠 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑟 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑦 𝑓𝑖𝑙𝑒.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑦 𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑢𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑏𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜ns 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑠 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑠 𝑏𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝐶𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑤 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡.

𝑀𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑇𝑢𝑠𝑙𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑦 𝑒𝑥, 𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑐𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡.

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑠𝑢𝑔𝑔𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝐶𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑤 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑜𝑙𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔.

𝐻𝑜𝑤 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑤𝑖𝑠𝑒?

𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝑑𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑤𝑖𝑡𝑐ℎ 𝑢𝑛𝑡. 𝐼𝑡𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑇𝑢𝑠𝑙𝑎 𝑎𝑠 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑖𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡 𝑣𝑢𝑙𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠.

𝐼𝑚 𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑦𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑏𝑎𝑑 𝑚𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑐𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑟 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑑𝑜𝑒𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 𝑎𝑚 𝑦𝑒𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒𝑛 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑢𝑙𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑗𝑢𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑒, 𝑢𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑏𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑡 𝑚𝑒.

𝐹𝑢𝑟𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐶ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝐶𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝐿𝑎𝑤 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑒𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑇𝑢𝑠𝑙𝑎 𝑤𝑎𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑜𝑤 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑑, 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑑𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑜𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑗𝑢𝑑𝑔𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑦 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑.”