Child abuse allegations in the context of parental separation and divorce have long been seen as merely weapons fashioned by angry and vindictive parents involved in separation and divorce wars. They have been disregarded on the basis that they were unlikely to be real.
However recent research from Australia and overseas has shown that this picture is not true. Child abuse in this context is real and it is serious. Moreover the research has shown that the socio-legal system does not serve children caught in this situation at all well.
The Magellan program, a world first experimental program to overcome the problems for these children and their families as they progress through the socio-legal system, was introduced by a consortium of agencies in Victoria recently. This article reports on the program and its outcomes, and considers implications of some of the components of the new program for the various professionals working with this issue.