My son lost his reputation and access to his child when his wife was trained by domestic violence workers to make false allegations of violence and child sexual abuse.

My son is a GP in Australia and I am a retired university lecturer living in India. My son got married in India 7 years ago and 6 years ago his wife joined him in Australia. Things didn’t go well between them with lots of arguments. She soon learned the system via a neighbour involved with a funded DV support organisation. Once she knew how to work the system, she held my son to ransom by threatening him with police, social services and legal aid.

I visited them following the birth of my grandson and I witnessed my then daughter-in-law calling the police on two occasions over trivial arguments. Even though her fridge was stacked with chicken, fish, lamb, pork, she might suddenly decide she wanted beef and needed it straight away, threatening to call the police if my son didn’t give in. Or if he asked her not to leave rubbish on the floor and she didn’t like that he would say, “I know what to do if you tell me something I don’t like. I know all the services and who to call.”

Then, when the police turned up, she told them everything had been resolved. My son was living in fear of her actions. He left her after a mental health assessment by a local psychiatrist confirmed his fears concerning her erratic behaviour suggesting she had a personality disorder.

She returned briefly to India with my then three-months-old grandson. It seems she had already sought legal advice in Australia about custody and support as a plan was already in place upon her return. When she arrived back in Australia after about six months in India, she was picked up at the airport by a social worker from Maitland who helped her with accommodation in a women’s shelter all organised by DV services and social workers. (She could well have afforded her own accommodation, but they may not have been unaware that she was not experiencing financial difficulties.)

My son commenced Family Court proceedings and very soon Child Support contacted him. In due course a psychiatrist report was ordered by the court due to her history of ‘unreasonable behaviour’. At least three of her former friends, who had fallen out with her, came forward as witnesses in support of my son.

A court order was made allowing my son daytime contact for a few days a week and then gradually he was allowed some overnight contact. But suddenly late 2018 the mother accused her former neighbour of sexually abusing my grandson – this turned out to be a false allegation.

A trial took place in 2019 and the lady judge dismissed the psychiatrist report thus ignoring the serious mental health diagnosis. The judge also ignored the independent child lawyer’s suggestion that my grandson should live with my son and that he become primary carer. Even DOCS brought to the attention of the judge that my then daughter-in-law was mentally unfit as a mother. But none of this influenced the judge who still gave my son very little access to the child.

Seven months after the trial my son could no longer see his son as his estranged wife accused him of sexually abusing him. There was no evidence whatsoever to substantiate her accusations and, even with her chequered history, her allegations were taken seriously with detrimental consequences not only preventing my son from seeing his child but also affecting my son’s career. My son is now taking further action in the Family Court. It has been 18 months since any of us have seen my grandson who is now five and sadly there are already obvious signs he is being coached to hate his father.

My son is alone and far away from me. He lives in a small suburb and she continues to defame him by talking badly about him to people in his church and to some of his patients. As a doctor he is a well-known member of the community and also works in the local hospital and is involved in the local church. It’s very difficult for him when he is asked about why he isn’t seeing his son. Now he also being harassed by the medical board due to the AVO placed on him and he is barred from working with children with his name and details of the complaint on the health practitioners’ regulation agency (AHPRA).

I believe in the past four years my son has spent close to $400,000 in legal fees and still counting. He now takes medications for anxiety and consults a psychologist.

His former spouse gets free legal aid, child support income and the single parent pension. My son tells me she has filed to claim thousands of dollars through victims’ compensation!

I believe there are thousands of mothers like me who shed tears and that many lives are lost in the process. I am helpless and, at 71 years of age, I can only pray God hears our prayers and justice is served to our sons. There is not a day when we don’t shed tears.

We wouldn’t be so depressed if we knew that the mother of my grandson was sane. But sadly, she isn’t. She needs help and meanwhile my son is being treated as a criminal.

Read more stories from mothers of sons who have faced injustice here