The Press 05/11/2009
A Family Commissioner is calling on courts to assign one-on-one coaches to work alongside parents accused of cruelty to their children. A 33-year-old mother of eight was yesterday ordered to undertake a parenting programme as part of a six months home detention sentence after admitting one charge of cruelty by wilful neglect. Her husband, 37, was earlier jailed for two years and nine months for assaulting and neglecting their children. The couple have name suppression to protect the children.
Commissioner Bruce Pilbrow said he was pleased courts were turning to parenting courses. “Never underestimate the power of teaching people how to parent. I am pleased the court has seen that, because in many cases a lot of people don’t know how to parent,” he said. However, he said cases such as this needed more intensive intervention. Courts should assign a parenting coach, psychologist or counsellor to identify underlying causes of problems. “Unless they are addressed everything else is just a sticking plaster over the top,” he said.