The Unheard Victims of Family Violence: “Tommy” by Darren Mort – Podcast Episode 41

In this Episode of the Nicholes Family Lawyers Podcast Series, Managing Partner Sally Nicholes discusses the award-winning film “Tommy”, which has become a dynamic educational tool for judges and Family Law practitioners. “Tommy” presents the arduous period that is a Family Law dispute through the eyes of a child, poignantly conveying the impact these circumstances can have on those who require the most protection. Sally is joined by Darren Mort and Dr Philip Stahl, who have both carried out remarkable work in the space of Family Law and the protection of children involved in Family Law disputes. “Tommy” co-producer Darren Mort is a Victorian-based barrister specialising in Family Law. Darren has also served on the Family Law Bar Association and the Family Violence Taskforce Committee reporting to the Royal Commission on Family Violence. Joining the podcast from San Diego, California, Dr Philip Stahl is a licensed psychologist, practitioner, teacher and author specialising in families experiencing high conflict divorce.

 

Useful Links:

To Be Loved: https://tobeloved.org.au/about/ 

Purchase “Tommy” on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/movie/tommy/id1521953089?ls=1

 

Sally:

My name is Sally Nicholes, Managing Partner of Nicholes Family Lawyers.  Today I have the privilege of being joined by Darren Mort and Dr Philip Stahl to discuss the 2020 film “Tommy” (Tommy) explores the important issues which it explores relate to family law disputes. Tommy is the emotionally-charged story of a young boy, Tommy, and his imaginary friend, caught in the middle of a custody battle.  Tommy presents the arduous period that often is a family law dispute from the eyes of a child and in doing so, poignantly conveys the impact that these circumstances can have on those who require the most protection.

Philip and Darren have both carried out remarkable work in this space and will be sharing their insights on the ways this film captures and presents the gripping reality of family law disputes today. Dr Philip Stahl is a licensed psychologist who is joining us today all the way from San Diego California and he is a teacher, practitioner and author specialising in high conflict families of divorce. He has served on numerous committees and task forces, designed to improve the quality of work in this field.  In addition, Dr Stahl teaches judges, attorneys and psychologists and other mental health professionals about issues affecting families and children.

Darren Mort plays Tiger Terry (a bit of a spoiler, Darren!) in the Tommy film.  When he is not on the screen or on the stage, Darren is a top barrister who specialises in family law. He has served on the Family Law Bar Association and chaired his list of barristers.  He has also served on the Family Violence Taskforce committee, reporting to the Royal Commission on family violence.  He is a mentor for Melbourne University Law students and also now an Executive Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts of Australia. Darren is also a trained actor and has appeared on many Australian television shows.  Thank you to both Philip and Darren for joining us today to discuss Tommy and the significant issues which it explores.

At its core, Darren, what is Tommy about – what is an overview about how to summarise the issues for our listeners who may not have had the benefit of seeing it yet?

Darren:

That is a very good question, Sally.  I think Tommy is about peoples’ failure to prioritise their children, that is one of the core themes of the film.  Children are often the unheard victims of family violence – they see a lot but often do not tell a lot.  The power of this film Tommy is that Tommy himself does not have a voice.  So he is in the middle of this warfare between his parents and totally without a voice.  His parents fail to identify him as a priority in their lives, in their conflict.  So that is one of the core themes to me, I don’t know whether Philip has a different idea – he might have.

Philip:

OK, two or three things, but piggy-backing on that one, one of the realities is that his parents don’t even see him or hear him.  There are multiple scenes in the film which show that neither parent really understands Tommy, Tommy has a wound on his elbow and they blame each other for it, they don’t know what has caused it.  I’m not going to say what has caused it because some people won’t have seen the film.  But the thing for me, running throughout is about trauma, and what the trauma is becoming.  But also the trauma for the parents – each of the adults in the film has their own independent sources of trauma, from each other and maybe elsewhere in their lives, that they can’t manage, and to some extent the over-arching trauma of being in this messy, messy divorce and they can’t come to grips with that and it is very hard for them.

So I see these as two very important themes. Any more that you want to share on that, Darren?

Darren:

Yes, on that last point, I think it is valid, the parents not only have to cope with their own conflict and the separation of their relationship but they are also dealing with their new relationships and dealing with the challenges that these relationships each pose.  The mother and the father have formed new relationships and these have complicating issues attached to them. What spills out from that is Tommy’s exposure to these relationships on top of his exposure to the family conflict and dealing with his parents’ separation.  Because what we know with children in separated families is that 9 times out of 10, they blame themselves for their parents’ separation and they also in those circumstances, they feel unloved.

So Tommy is in this mixing bowl with all these complicating factors and I think this is why the film is compelling, because it hits you from all angles.

Philip:

The themes in the film are amazing – you watch this film – I’ve seen it at least half a dozen times, and each time I see something different but each time I am drawn to tears, my own tears; each time I am caught in the awareness of how intolerable it is and in this time, not to have a voice.  But Tommy needs Tiger Terry to rescue him throughout and that is such an important theme, without saying too much about how this imaginary friend, Tiger Terry, draws him into safety when he is so over-whelmed, because he has nowhere else to turn and the only time you hear Tommy’s voice is screaming for Tiger Terry to save him, to help him.

Sally:

And when you watch it as a psychologist who has seen many families, one of the reasons you may be drawn to tears, do you identify with the families that you see, in a professional sense?

Philip:

Well, I think one of the reasons I am drawn to tears is because of how powerful, how beautiful Tommy is.  Darren won’t say this, but his work and the team who put this work together are absolutely amazing.  The actor playing Tommy is brilliant.  But piggy-backing on your question, I think that as I watch the film, I do see many families that I have worked with who have no clue how their behaviours affect their children and I see these families every day.  Before we got into recording this, I recently presented on the film and the traumas of the film with a judge from Arizona in the United States and my daughter Rebecca who is a lawyer in the States for AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) at their virtual conference from Las Vegas which would have been in Vegas.  What Judge Cohen said was how important it is to even get these parents to even begin to understand how critically important putting their children first is, in these families.  All of my work has been designed to try to help bring that about.

I don’t feel like a failure when that happens because I don’t take responsibility for things that are outside of my control – it’s one of the gifts I’ve had for doing this work for nearly 40 years but these parents are so amazingly traumatised themselves, hurtful themselves, hurting themselves and causing harm themselves, but they have no clue of what they are doing to their children.  So if I’m an evaluator or an assessor – and I’ve done about 1,000 of them and my focus is what needs to change for their children, so I try to give the voice of the children prominence in my evaluations of the work that I do.

Sally:

Another line which one of your Aussie colleagues has used and he’s used on a few parents is “When has the love for your children been less important than your agenda against each other, why is that less important?”

Philip:

These parents hate each other more than they love their children and we need to reverse that – they need to love their children more than they hate each other.

Sally:

Darren, having seen these scenarios where the parents’ hatred for each other supercedes the love for their child, is that one of the reasons why you actually thought of Tommy, as a vehicle to try to create change?

Darren:

Yes, a couple of reasons, Sally.  Tommy emanated from an experience that I had had, representing a father in the Family Court many years ago, where the little boy actually was similar to Tommy, he had these delusions that he would see a blue kangaroo called Joey, and Joey would jump out of his wardrobe and he would see this kangaroo.   In fact, his dad brought him along to a conference one day and I could see him out in the waiting-room, talking to someone and I asked the father about it, and he said that he was probably talking to his friend Joey and that was how it all came about. This little boy was very traumatised, his mother had borderline personality disorder and he was residing with the mother at the time.  We ended up securing residence of the child and the father contacted me on and off after the case had concluded.  And it took some two years for this little boy to stop seeing kangaroos jumping out of his wardrobe and that gave me the idea for the film.

One of the major issues for me was that when I was serving on the taskforce committee reporting to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, there were so many wonderful people on that committee, there were about 14 people on that committee, mostly women but a couple of men, amazing people… performing acts of triage, catching families as they fell off the cliff, resourcing them with housing, finances, lawyers, all sorts of things, and I thought: surely we can do something better than waiting at the bottom of the cliff for families to drop.  So I thought it’s better to put the backpack on, trudge up the cliff and to actually assist these families by promoting awareness and preventing them from jumping off in the first place.  So that is how the charity tobeloved network was born. And out of that came “Tommy” the film and “Tommy”, the book, and now having done the film Tommy and written the book and all our other projects around this, as a barrister, this has really helped me focus on children.  And the things I hear and some of the submissions I hear in Court sometimes, I bluntly say to the Judge, look with respect, just forget all that because that barrister does not know what he is talking about because they are not a psychologist, nor have they spoken to the child, they are just guessing what will be in the child’s best interests; they don’t know and with respect, Your Honour, you don’t know.  So let’s hear it from the child via the family consultant. Let’s get the best evidence before the court to protect this child and advance this child’s best interests.

I’ve had great reception from that submission from judges now, and I thank Tommy for that; I really thank Tommy for that.

Sally:

You are so right, Darren.  I saw a judge the other day get extremely frustrated with the various silks that were on either side who were just being strategic lawyers.  And he said: “Look, I just want to know, from the expert, are these children at risk? I view that you are all warring with each other and this is having no impact on me; I want to know from these experts; stop all this tomfoolery between yourselves (and egos were getting in the way).  I want to know about the risk to these children”.  It was such a powerful moment, we were all on virtual, on Teams, and this was just so inadequate in some ways as well but it was a really powerful statement.  I was just so glad.  I had been strangling myself virtually, because as you know the instructor usually finds it really hard to communicate when you are on Teams, so it was great to hear that the court felt that way. I was sure that this judge was there when Tommy was being made!  So we actually need, through great organisations like AFCC to advocate, and amazingly, people do.    I do know that I was sitting next to a judicial officer who was there at one of the AFCC presentations in Adelaide and who saw Tommy – a different judge to the one I mentioned before and who was just stunned by it. So amazing work, and great influences and so wonderful.

The key tag-line of Tommy is: “They who love us helplessly, no matter what or who we are”.  What relevance do we think that this has to the film and to family law disputes? I mean, Phil, what are your thoughts with the tag-line?

Philip:

This is interesting – Tommy is not loved in this way, that is for sure, in the film.  Darren, I don’t know whether you were responsible for that tag-line.  What do you think, first, and then I can piggy-back on that.

Darren:

Yes, sure, well for me, the pity that I have for the parents in that film is that they overlook the unconditional love of Tommy. Really, that is where the tag-line came in: that they had failed to notice his unconditional love for them, as parents.  He doesn’t have a choice of his mum and dad – no choice at all and despite their poor behaviour and their lack of priority, he still maintains that unconditional love. And that is the power.

Philip:

He does, but he also is so regularly and easily disappointed.  There is a scene with a soccer ball, I won’t say more about it, but he was disappointed.  He sees each of his parents and their partners doing bad things, in his eyes and he is disappointed; he hears the parent saying such destructive things about the other parent and he is disappointed.  His love is still there but it is waning, it is going away because of all the disappointments and the hurts which he feels throughout.  Again, what is so powerful to me about Tommy is the juxtaposition of the hopes he has with the disappointments that he has. The hopes that he has, the traumas that he experiences, and when he is overwhelmed, he looks for help outside of himself to his good mate, Tiger Terry.   He really uses Terry as his best mate, and even if it is a fiction, it’s not a delusion.  There is actually a lot of research that shows that a significant proportion of children up to the age of 10, even those who are not experiencing traumas, even those who are not experiencing problems in a family, often have pretend friends, imaginary friends.  Truth to tell, I had an imaginary friend of mine – Pretend Bob – until I was about 9 years old.  I had an older brother and sister, but pretend Bob followed me around a little bit once in a while., too.  That flows in Tommy, but again nobody sees it, nobody and sadly, not even the family consultant that he sees briefly in the film.

Darren:

So the opening quote of the film is that tag-line, I won’t give anything away, but it almost needs a book-end in that last frame that you see in the movie, to put that tag-line again.

Sally:

Yes, I won’t do a spoiler either but that would be so powerful – a really good pointer or tag-line; it would actually help people who are in shock by it.  What feedback has the film received in the family law space, Darren?

Darren:

Well it has been incredible Sally, it really has – so Tommy now has I think up to 20 international nominations or awards now and it has won 10 of those.  We were just in the Queensland Film Festival so it has won a heap of awards and has been recognised internationally. Judge Cohen, who Phil just mentioned, said to me the other week: it’s clear that no matter what nationality, that Tommy has an international voice – children are children.  So that is powerful.  In the family law space, it has had incredible support. Our Chief Justice, Will Alstergren, sent me a text – I’ve got it here, I’ll just read it to you.  It says: “It’s a stunning work that encapsulates the ugly challenges of the family law litigation and domestic violence from a child’s perspective.  It was able to show how ordinary Australians so often forget the best interests of the child, and how family conflict can so often bring out  the worst in people.  Whilst we are working desperately hard in the courts to improve our system, so often people should realise that court proceedings may not be the best way to solve family disputes.  Your work helps to send that message.”

Now after the film came out, the Chief Justice sent it to all the judges around the country, the Attorney General and to the President of the Family Division of the High Court of the United Kingdom. So that was incredible. The AFCC – Justice Strickland, has been an amazing support for the work that I do, and Jenny Neoh and Phil have been incredible, as well as the people in the United States who are my buddies, who Phil has introduced me to, or I have met through AFCC, have been incredible as well.  So Tom Altobelli who has now been elevated to a Family Court judge, he wrote a fantastic review of Tommy. I’ve had incredible feedback.   The Chief Justice mentions Tommy in the call-over at Mentions.  I had Justice Benjamin from Tasmania contact me and say: Listen Darren is it OK if I make orders that Independent Children’s Lawyers view Tommy before they see the children?”  So it has just been incredible and I’m proud that it is being used as a resource tool.

I’ve also presented to family pathways around the country, recently to the Australian Collaborative Lawyers where we had a fantastic presentation last week. So word of mouth about Tommy has spread – it is the gift that keeps on giving, which is fantastic.

Sally:

Any NGO which wants to protect children from violence where you have parents coming online and wanting to get some form of education would benefit from it.  I was just thinking NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) in the United States would benefit, and its equivalent is now ACCE (Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation) which is the Australian Federal Police umbrella – so I think we need to have a chat off-line about introducing the film to ACCE in response to the report on Institutionalised Child Abuse – they actually umbrella now all the major stakeholders and NGO’s who look after children. We have education sessions every four months.  World Congress is a stakeholder because of what we do.  I believe that the screening of that to the heads of all those NGO’s, the Kids Helpline, the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation, that would be awesome.  They want to be able to influence and educate and they often say that protecting children from violence – you need to disrupt, you need to make change, which is what Tommy does, it really impacts and makes you re-visit and re-think.

Darren:

It’s funny, I’m fortunate enough that my wife has been able to put up with me for over 30 years and I live in a unified family situation where the three kids are all adults now but when I watch Tommy now, even though it emanated from my own mind, I think of the things I might have done as a parent in failing the way my children spoke about things or about the way I dealt with things, my priorities, it makes you think generally as a parent things that you might have been able to do better.  Tommy is an extreme, because there are so many things in the film, sub-plots and sub-themes but if you are down at the shallow end of the pool, splashing, with not so many themes, as a parent you think, I mean all parents do, maybe I could have done that better.  I have had a lot of people who have seen the film, come to me and say:  “It made me think as a parent, maybe I shouldn’t have done that or maybe I shouldn’t have said that”, so yes, I think it has that wide appeal.

Philip:

I know when we showed the film at AFCC, earlier this month, it was virtual, we had as a workshop, because it was not our plenary-type program, we had one of the largest turnouts, even though it was the last segment on the last day.  We had an amazing turnout and got wonderful feedback and many many people have wanted to reach out to you, Darren, and have simply said how important and how powerful it is. If there are ways in which I can assist in teaching it in the US; as you’ve said, I’m on the faculty of the Judicial College and right now they are in some hiatus, considering how they are going to continue with some of their teaching programs. I am going to keep plugging away with them, trying to get Tommy to be on the agenda of one of their programs. Darren’s other film – Degree of Separation – there was one that I showed with the judges’ class on domestic violence when we had that class.

Again, I think Tommy will have an audience through Judge Cohen in Arizona.  So it is going to grow – I know that.

Sally:

It is. For practitioners listening, and I think quite a few will, what strategies can we use to adopt to ensure that the needs of the child are being met, if we are advising a client? Phil, what would you advise family law practitioners?

Philip:

Family Law practitioners are a large group, so I’m going to break it down to three segments: the mental health professionals that are involved, the family consultants, the assessors, the therapists, it’s really to try and understand the voice of the child, what the child is not only saying, but what is influencing what the child is saying, what is the child feeling and why they are feeling that, and to gather that understanding in the way that has some depth to it, some meaning to it, and avoids the superficiality because that is the biggest problem I see when the assessors and evaluators do their work and talk to kids; they keep it very superficial – what are you feeling….without digging into the why that is behind it.  There’s that group.

For the lawyers, I think it is to take what the clients are saying with a grain of salt, to not believe everything that the clients tell them, to not take on the emotions of their clients, to always put the children as a reminder to their clients: how do you think that is affecting your children? When you say this or the other parent says that or does this or that, how is that affecting your children? Keep that at the forefront when you are asking, that is one part of the job.  The other part is in their submissions or their statements to the court, like Darren described, make sure you throw out the garbage of what you want to put in there and just go straight to: what is going on for the child, how is it impacting the child. We can figure out the adults afterwards, but let’s keep the focus on the child.  Then for the judge, to really do critical thinking and part of critical thinking is not to be influenced by bias, by how the lawyers frame it, even how the mental health people frame it because sometimes the experts don’t know what is going on, if they don’t do their job right. So if it gets to a judge, the judge must do their own critical thinking without bias. Darren and Tom Altobelli and I have done a number of programs when there’s the factor of bias within the family law and from each of our own different perspectives. Justice Altobelli will be the first one to say how judges can be influenced by the framing that is going on, by the parties, by the lawyers, sometimes by the mental health advocates. So have some critical thinking, not influenced by all of those things; keep an eye on the wellbeing of kids first.

Sally:

And when I am in the role of the ICL, I also have to remind myself that I’m not a social scientist, and I think, Darren, you made that point earlier.  And I think with clients, when we are acting, unfortunately, in an adversarial sense as well, when it comes to children, we should all be model litigants and we should also make sure – we’ve got this emphasis in our law as officers, that we do need to put children’s interests first.  We’ve got ethical obligations to do that and it is just not drummed home enough and I think that the educational piece that Justice Benjamin was wanting to do with ICL’s was so important because as information-gatherers when we are in that role, and we are model litigants, we should be trying to get rid of that adversarial process as much as possible and rely on the social scientists but in a critical way as you said, not totally always putting it in the arms of the experts. It does worry me that some lawyers make recommendations without actually waiting for expert reports, for example, because we just don’t.

Darren:

Yes, a lot of the time, it is so palpable that it is all about strategy and having a win for your client; leaving the child in the corner as the loser and having a win for your client. Justice Cohen said something to me the other day which I thought was incredible – he said, “you know what,  Darren, if we put all of the brightest people on this planet, gathered them all, all the religious leaders, all the leaders of the countries, all the best family lawyers and psychologists and said to them: I want you to go into that room and I want you to come out  with a solution, in terms of dealing with separated families.  When they came out of that room, you wouldn’t expect them to come out and say: I know what we’ll do, we’ll have a Family Court where people can adopt an adversarial system and fight about their children! That’s what we will do, that’s in the best interests of children!”  And it is so right – I mean, when the Family Law Act came into being in 1975, I think there was a Full Court decision not long after that, 1977 or 1978, the case of Crawford, if I remember correctly, which talks about the mandate of a judge adopting a positive enquiry into the best interests of a child. Now that enquiry, which we would think would not be an adversarial enquiry, but something which is a bit more inquisitorial, has been lost over the years, has been absolutely lost, but I’m hoping, with discussions like this, and what we were talking about before, the tribes which we are forming, will bring about that change, will help judges be more critical in terms of what they are hearing, and will help lawyers focus more on children rather than simply having a win for their clients.

Sally:

I think actually if another practitioner or lawyer talks about a child or a parenting dispute as: well just give us a win in relation to this:  it is quite offensive, isn’t it?

Philip:

Yes, you mention the 1975 Act in Australia, there is an equivalency in California, which in 1970 or 1980, I wasn’t living there at the time, I was in Michigan and they adopted similar – two years in 1982.  But two things: the change barely worked for the better until it went backwards and that was introduced mandatory mediation where parents had to go to mediation to try to resolve things on behalf of their children and where they also allowed for shared custody with both parents being involved in the decision-making as well as in the parenting time.  Prior to that, nowhere in the United States was that even a legal option.  This was something that I studied in the early ‘80s when I became Doctor Stahl rather than just Mr Stahl when I got my PhD, and that really led to a lot of good change.  I don’t know about it in Australia but in the US, mainly only about 5% of disputes actually go in front of a judge.

Sally:

It is similar, I think, the last figure I heard, I think was 8%, but when I first started work – there was a time when there was a children’s dispute where a counsellor, a family consultant now, would be present- it was such a great innovation – at the beginning of every Directions Hearing where there was a dispute and it was awesome.  We also managed to do that when I was prosecuting Hague abductions matters for the government, we actually developed with Lilia Saskia, she might be someone you know, a family court counsellor, we developed a protocol that we would actually have one of her staff trying to assist with the mediation, you know with child abduction cases, which can be very heated and very difficult cases, given that they are forum disputes; and the child’s voice does get lost in those disputes at times, but what broke my heart the other day, this is gone, and when I was talking to our Singapore colleagues, they were very excited, they are apparently trying to adopt a similar method, they said that they are using our method. I think it has been a resource issue, I guess about making decisions about where they plough money, having that family consultant available at the Directions Hearing, at the first date in Court, this would just be so powerful.

Philip:

An opportunity, at the beginning, to try to mediate. The mediator can do the job of putting the children first in the eyes of the parents – that can just tone everything down sometimes, before it ramps up.  Now some cases have to litigate, when you have issues of domestic violence, you might have to have a good litigation going as a protective place for the victim of domestic violence.  When you have got re-location cases, where parents are going to move long distances away from each other, mediation may work but often it doesn’t work so those cases might need to go to litigation.   But even both of those, the effort should always be about the wellbeing of children and the importance of children having their voices heard and to not be harmed in the process.

Darren:

And the other thing, too, just piggy-backing on this and on what you were talking about, Sally, at the end of court cases, too, I often think, we lawyers often go: see you later, we have finished your case, have a nice life,…..years ago we used to employ s65L orders which would enable the family counsellor to open up a file on the family and appoint a family consultant to supervise the family for the next 12 months….remember those? And so if the family has had any issues in relation to implementation of the orders, counsel was there as a safety net, and more importantly for the child and now we don’t have those either.  So it seems that those bookends, at the beginning and at the end and because of a lack of resources, do not appear any more and therefore the child has no safety net whatsoever and  is reliant on two parents in heated conflict, who do not prioritise the child’s needs, who are not only impacted by their own breakdown but often, the financial burden of ongoing litigation and sometimes having  practitioners who are more focused on the win rather than on getting the best result for that child.

Sally:

And what I have found really sad even with Independent Children’s Lawyers, the narrowing-down of the appointment due to resources and priorities and other things, which is just really tough.  We have had such a great discussion today and we haven’t actually spoilt the film, I think we have excited people about it. So in a snapshot, what lessons do we learn from Tommy, because we’ve had lots of discussions, so to summarise it, Phil, what is the take-out from Tommy, once people have watched it.

Philip:

Well for people who have watched it, the biggest take-away is that nobody is paying attention to children, to how they are feeling, what they are thinking, what they are saying, what their hopes and dreams are, what their fears are, and when their parents are acting in ways which ultimately lead them to emotional and potentially more than emotional trauma. That is the take-away, the lack of understanding of children.

Sally:

Yes, and Darren, in your view, what would be your take-out for people to have when they walk away from Tommy?

Darren:

Similar to Phil, when you think about it, that one in two marriages fail and of those, at least 48% have children, and of those children, 65% are exposed to family violence, so I think that as parents, we have a duty to listen and to observe, to do the best we can as parents to enable those children to grow up to be responsible, caring, respectful adults. So the take-away from Tommy for me is the potential to evoke change and that is in the palm of our hands.  We have a choice to evoke change and we can do it as a community, we can bring about that change.

Sally:

Absolutely, and inspirational words from both of you – from such talented men with so many commitments – ask a busy person!  You are incredibly generous with your time.  People who listen to this will want to watch Tommy.  Darren, is it now accessible, is it perhaps on Youtube, I don’t know how people can watch Tommy.  If they want to, can they buy it on ITunes?

Darren:

They can get it on Apple ITV now, it is a whole $2.99 which goes to our charity. I don’t know whether the $2.99 is tax deductible but all donations are tax deductible.  Our website is tobeloved.org.au and people can read about Tommy on that and can purchase the book that we have written for kids: “Tommy and Tiger Terry”, and I think we are soon to load it onto Amazon Prime as well.

Sally:

That is exciting, so what we will do is we will put the tobeloved NGO link on our website and also the link to Apple TV ITunes, so we have our budding film director, Flynn Allen, nodding vigorously, who is producing these amazing stories, and he will make sure that all of this happens, and if anyone wants to make a further donation above and beyond $2.99, to watch Tommy, there will be links; is there a fund-raising page?

Darren:

Yes, there is a link on our website to donations, and all donations are tax-deductible, because we are registered as a charity.

Sally:

And there are ongoing projects?

Philip:

And Americans can contribute….

Darren:

And can I just say, Sally, that with our charity, we have an amazing board of people and every one of them is there on a pro bono basis; no one makes any money. The money we achieve from donations is used for projects like Tommy.

Sally:

That is brilliant and is true altruism. So anyone listening, we do encourage you to go to the website and think about the difference that will make. Family Law affects so many people in this world and why it is under-resourced and undervalued is just an absolute conundrum to me.  But we will keep fighting the good fight!  Thank you both for your valuable time.

 

Disclaimer: Nicholes Family Lawyers intends the information provided in this podcast as general information only, please contact Nicholes Family lawyers if you require specific information and advise in relation to any family law matter.

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