On Being a Good Copy Cat
by Julia Fletcher
November 11, 2010
When I was a little girl of about eight or nine, I saw other children doing what I wanted to be able to do – like a back flip off of a diving board into a pool, or a pirouette in our after school ballet class. I would tell my mother that I wanted to learn to do those things too, and each time, she would tell me, “Just be a good copy-cat!”.
I always cringed when she would say that. Most every child in our school ran the risk of being called a “copy-cat” in that sing-song kind of taunting that children did years ago and still do today.
Maybe some adults think that being a “copy-cat” is not dignified behavior.
Call it what you will, but being a “copy-cat” in the following case will be a very good thing because we’ll be saving children’s lives.
Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” If it helps to make it more palatable, call it “flattering” instead of “copying”. Whatever we decide to call it, we MUST do what the Australian government just did as soon as we can.
The Australian government is now obviously far ahead of us in perfecting the skills of back-flipping, pirouettes and protecting children in family court. It is a shame that we weren’t able to do it first. Who cares?
We can afford to admit that we’re copy-cats and we can afford to eat humble pie.
We can’t afford to lose one more child.
From The Australian:
Child safety first in overhaul of family law
November 11, 2010
The changes, which are directed at cases involving abusive parents, elevate the safety of children to the top priority in custody disputes.
Whenever a court considers that this goal is in conflict with the right of a child to have a relationship with both parents, it will be required to give greater weight to child safety.
The change is contained in draft legislation released for discussion yesterday by Attorney-General Robert McClelland.
The proposed changes to the Family Law Act come after Labor MPs, particularly women, raised concerns that the Howard Government laws had gone too far and were hurting vulnerable children.
The Howard Government introduced changes in 2006 that placed greater emphasis on shared parenting when couples divorced. A report by former Family Court judge Richard Chisholm found that many people wrongly believed this meant separated fathers were automatically entitled to equal custody of their children.
Family violence will be redefined to recognise that it can take the form of physical assaults, harassment, emotional manipulation, financial abuse and threatening behaviour.
The changes expand the definition of family violence beyond it being conduct – actual or threatened – that causes a member of a person’s family to reasonably fear or be apprehensive about their wellbeing or safety.
The new definition includes a long list of matters including behaviour that torments, intimidates, or harasses a family member. That effect could be caused by repeated derogatory taunts or racial taunts, or intentionally causing death or injury to an animal or damaging property.
Family violence will also include unreasonably controlling, dominating or deceiving a family member. This could be brought about by denying a family member financial autonomy or preventing a family member from making or keeping connections with family, friends or culture.
The proposed changes were welcomed last night by former Family Court chief judge Alastair Nicholson, who said they were long overdue.