We all know how hard it can be to ‘show up’ at work when you are going through a difficult personal time. This is especially so for those who are victims of Family and Domestic Violence. I know how difficult it can be to focus on work when you are upset – It is difficult to imagine what this would be like if you had been recently assaulted by a spouse or family member.
Until recently, victims of Family and Domestic Violence had no specific workplace leave entitlement. While we still have a way to go in fully recognising the impact of Family and Domestic Violence has on the work place, the Australian Fair Work Commission has recently decided that from 1 August 2018, employees covered by an award will be entitled to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.
Co-Parenting over distance or between households can present unique challenges to maintaining a meaningful relationship with your children. As a Family Lawyer I was often presented with the situation of a parent not being kept up to date about their child’s life. This may seem like a given when parents are, or have, separated. However, it should not! For most cases, this is a terrible outcome for the child, as what not being kept up to date does, is essentially erode the capacity of the parent who is ‘in the dark’ to have a meaningful relationship with their child. Typically, you can only ask your child ‘what did you do at school today’ so many times before they start to lose interest in the conversation!
If you think about it – when we communicate with our friends and loved ones – those conversations often start, and are based, on ‘common ground’. Having information about what is going on in your child’s life gives a parent a ‘daily context’ for the grounding of conversations with their child.
When Michael Kaminski and I were designing eCommBook we wanted eCommBook to be more than a simple ‘Family Law Communication Book’. Rather, we wanted to build a platform that serves to assist parents communicate about, and with, their children. In other words, Michael and I wanted to create something that could be used by parents to maintain, and even enhance, their meaningful relationship with their child.
eCommBook achieves this in several ways. First, eCommBook provides you and your child a private channel to communicate with each other. Second, eCommBook has a calendar where all important parenting events can be populated – hence you are kept up to date as to what is happening in your child’s life and when. Third, parents are provided with a means to responsibly communicate with each other about parenting. eCommBook even helps out with this aspect by providing parents a list of ‘parenting topics’ for their message. Fourthly, and arguably most importantly, eCommBook allows its users to upload content about their child. Such content can extend beyond simple photos, to school reports, school work, awards, sporting information and achievements, medical information etcetera etcetera - the list is potentially endless. But the point is eCommBook provides a central secure information place for separated parents to upload relevant information about their chid, hence making it easier for a parent to be ‘kept in the loop’ so that they can continue their meaningful relationship with their child despite being separated from them.