Woman in fear of domestic abuse
Woman in fear of domestic abuse

Mum fleeing DV wins right to keep address private

A DOMESTIC violence victim hiding from an abusive partner was denied a right to home school an autistic child because she would not provide a department with her full residential address.

Now a tribunal has overturned the Education Department's decision, recognising that the woman and her children had moved to escape domestic violence and were still at risk of harm.

A Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal member said the woman had been forced to seclude her location to keep her family safe.

"Despite her efforts, her former partner has used numerous unlikely resources to locate her,'' the member said.

One of the woman's children was diagnosed with conditions affecting the ability to learn and the mother applied to the Queensland Department of Education to home school the child.

Although meeting the requirements for home education, the mother was denied permission because she would not provide her street number, street name or town name.

The approved form required a home schooling applicant's "residential address'', the residential address of the child and the address where the home schooling would be delivered.

"Interpreting these terms to require (the mother) to provide her street number, street name and town name where it would risk the health and safety of her and her children would be excessively intrusive to her personal privacy,'' the member said.

A mother fleeing domestic violence has won the right to home school her child after she was initially refused because she would not provide her address.
A mother fleeing domestic violence has won the right to home school her child after she was initially refused because she would not provide her address.

The mother provided a town name, postal address and mobile phone number, with an explanation of her extenuating circumstances for not providing a street number and name.

"That is sufficient for her to meet the procedural requirements of the application form where further disclosure would jeopardise her and her family,'' the member said.

"Her application otherwise met the requirements for home education.''

The child has autism spectrum disorder and global development delays.

Neither the Education (General Provisions) Act nor an approved form required an applicant to provide a street name and number and town name, the tribunal heard.

The tribunal accepted the mother's evidence of the serious risk to her and her family if she had to disclose her full residential details.

The member said it did not accept the department's arguments that confidentiality provisions of the Act and the department's internal policies were sufficient to uphold the children's right to protection.

"The more information (the mother) is required to disclose and the more people who have access to that information, the greater the risk to her and her children,'' the member said.

It was not necessary to disclose the extra details to ensure the child was properly registered, when the mother had provided a postal address, mobile number and details of her circumstances.

On January 13 the tribunal member set aside the department's decision, and granted home education registration for the student.

 

Originally published as Mum fleeing DV wins right to keep address private


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