This will contain Child Safety Services’ reasons why they say that they need an order. It will also contain the date of the court appearance near the end of the document.
An affidavit is a statement that is sworn under oath or affirmation. Usually this means that it must be signed in front of a Justice of the Peace or a Lawyer.
Unless they are by an “expert witness,” they should contain only what the person saw or heard themselves, rather than “hearsay” evidence or “opinion” evidence.
In child protection matters these rules about evidence do not strictly apply, but they will affect the amount of weight that the Magistrate gives to that evidence in making his or her decision.
It is expected in child protection proceedings that the Director of Child Protection Litigation will file affidavits that contain the evidence on which they rely on to make the case for a child protection order. The statement may contain file notes, reports and other documents as an attachment. It is also expected that the other parties will also provide affidavits that contain the evidence on which they rely.
The Magistrate may give you a date by which time your affidavit is due when the matter is set down for a hearing.
You may get legal advice from Legal Aid or a Community Legal Centre to help you with your affidavit.
Whereas affidavits contain the evidence on which you rely to make your case, “submissions” contain the arguments on which you rely to say why the Magistrate should make the decision that you want them to make. Submissions may be written or oral.
A social assessment report includes information about your child’s history, living situation, views and wishes based on interviews with everyone involved, Child Safety Services’ records and previous reports. It also provides an independent opinion on the best way to protect your child’s best interests.
A social assessment report is written by accredited social workers, psychologists or another professional considered by the court or tribunal to be an independent expert in child protection. It is usually provided to the court by the Separate Representative (the lawyer acting in the best interests of the children).
The court and tribunal will consider the report’s recommendations when deciding whether a child protection order should be put in place for your child.
You can request a translator if you need to when attending an interview with a report writer.