A father whose little boy died in suspicious circumstances is fighting for separated parents to be told when their child is treated for life-threatening conditions.
An autopsy found the Melbourne man’s two-year-old had suffered injuries including broken bones and bruising before his death six years ago in hospital.
Four months earlier the child had been rushed to hospital for life-saving treatment after choking.
The boyfriend of the boy’s mother was charged with murder over the child’s death, but charges were later dropped.
The father told Victoria’s Coroners Court on Wednesday that he had fought for six years for an inquest to shed light onto the circumstances of his little boy’s death.
He’s hoping it will lead to greater rights for parents who have joint custody of their children, or those who don’t have custody.
The man shared custody of his two young sons with his former wife.
While he had no concerns about their safety with her, he didn’t know then how much time they were spending alone with her boyfriend.
The man teared up as he praised doctors and nurses at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital for their care of his son.
He believes when a child is taken to hospital in an emergency that staff should be required to notify both parents.
He said he understood various parenting order scenarios might make it difficult for them, but at the very least he hoped he would have been notified that his son had been treated.
“I think I can confidently speak on behalf of every parent in Victoria, Australia, the world that … both parents, regardless of whether they’re living in the same house or not, (should) be contacted and made aware of the circumstances around the emergency,” he said.
He said he was only told after the incident and that the information he received from the boy’s mother was limited.
The father is also fighting for non-custodial and joint-custodial parents to be notified of any involvement by children’s services or intervention orders relating to their children.
He only learned later about a chain of events involving intervention orders that had been sought by police and rejected by the mother.
The inquest heard the mother’s former boyfriend later had been investigated over an incident involving another child.
The man faced a series of charges after the young son of another girlfriend ingested methamphetamine, believed to have come from him.
Those charges were dropped after prosecutors were unable to prove the child suffered any injury.
But he admitted drug possession charges, aggravated by the boy’s exposure to the drug.