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Media investigates Family Court orders and "disturbing" footage of uplifting children

August 11, 2017 at 12:37 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

Media outlet Newsroom has investigated children being uplifted by Police to enforce parenting orders made by the Family Court.

The article, Taken by the state, includes disturbing video footage of children being uplifted by Police. It also includes discussion by Professor Mark Henaghan, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago, and Backbone Collective co-founder Deborah Mackenzie.

Associate Professor Nicola Atwool who teaches in the University of Otago's social work programme wrote a piece on trauma in response, No child should be put in this position.

Newsroom also published:

Case 1: Snatched from school
Case 2: Waking up to cops in the kitchen
Case 3: Pried from home with a crowbar
and The legislation behind uplifting children


Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern said the footage was "horrific" and called for a review of the Family Court system. Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft and Ministers Anne Tolley and Paula Bennett also provided comment.

Retired Family Court judge John Adams wrote a piece Former Family Court judge: ‘Compliance isn’t optional’.

Further responses are in the media list below, including from Justice Minister Amy Adams.

Related information

The Backbone Collective has been highlighting issues in the Family Court. For more information see these previous NZFVC news stories:

Backbone Collective: "overwhelmingly negative feedback" on the Family Court

Backbone Collective releases first report on the Family Court

New collective for survivors of violence against women launched: The Backbone Collective.

petition demanding a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Family Court has been started on Action Station.

Related research and resources

Aotearoa New Zealand

Research on women’s experiences of the Family Court by Vivienne Elizabeth, Nicola Gavey and Julia Tolmie

Pitama,  D.,  Ririnui,  G.,  &  Mikaere,  A.  (2002). Guardianship, custody and access: Māori perspectives and experiences. Wellington: Ministry of Justice and Department for Courts.


Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed methods insights into impact and support needs (ANROWS, 2017)

Safety First in Family Law - Women's Legal Services Australia's campaign for a safer family law system

Family Law and Family Violence: Research to Practice 
Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse (2012)


Judge: courts don’t get all facts before 'uplifts', Newsroom, 10.08.2017

Minister: No changes to child warrants, Newsroom, 8.08.2017

Uplifting children: Police 'set up to fail', Newsroom, 8.08.2017

Family Court defends uplift warrants despite outrage, 08.08.2017

Family Court under fire for forcibly removing children from homes, Newshub, 08.08.2017

Category: News Media