Exposing The Protective Mum Movement in Australia

In April  of 2013, Protective Mum Catherine Cassie Watter was no doubt seeking revenge against her former spouse. She had previously found some supporters at James Cook University School of School Work that were part of the “Protective Parent” or “Protective Mum” Movement in Australia. On that day, she kidnapped her children and went into hiding or the underground in Australia.

In Australia the most outspoken leaders of the Protective Parent Movement are from the Academic Community. Ros Thorpe (Rosamund Thorpe) is Adjunct Professor Emeritus at James Cook University. She is also President of the Family Inclusion network which is an advocacy organisation for social justice for children and families caught up in the child protection system.  Believe it or not, in July 2014, Professor Thorpe setup a website http://www.friendsofcassiewatter.net supporting parental kidnapper Cassie Watter. Dr. Freda Briggs, is an Emeritus Professor at the University of South Australia also spoke in the media to support accused parental kidnapper Cassie Watter who has been in hiding for over 2 years with her daughters.


Ros Thorpe – Prof Emeritus, James Cook University


Freda Briggs – Prof Emeritus, University of South Australia








The Professors are not the first in the academic community to support the protective parent or protective mum movement that is known for supporting parental kidnapping as an alternative in child custody cases. In the United States, Dr. Kathleen Faller of the University of Michigan and the late Hal Pepinsky of Indiana University supported Faye Yager and the protective parent movement. What is outrageous that in the Watter case, Professor Ros Thorpe actually purchased the website www.freindsofcassiewatter.net and published quotes promoting the “Protective Mother” Movement or Cause. The Professors in the United States were not so public in their support for this cause. That said, the support for these kidnapping cases always seems to come from an older person that is retiring at the end of their career like the now retired H. Joan Pennington of the National Center for Protective Parents in Trenton, New Jersey.

See these quotes from that website:

“Cassie Watter is a loving, caring and protective mum, who puts the needs of others above herself. Cassie is the sanest person I know even through all the adversity that she has suffered. Cassie values family above all else and is a fantastic mum. Her integrity, genuine caring and empathy for others are truly amazing to see. Cassie has a huge heart and is the first to help when others are in need. All of the qualities displayed by Cassie make and define Cassie as the beautiful person I know and admire.” – Mark Dunstan, Committed father, Social Worker, and Treasurer, Family Inclusion Network Queensland (Townsville) Inc., July 2014
“In the time that I have known Cassie Watter, I have observed her to consistently be the person described in other comments on this website from a wide range of people who support mainstream community values. I have observed her to consistently act in what she believes to be the paramount best interests of her children. I observed a very committed and protective mother. The public comments that I have read on this web site support Cassie as a mother, and as a person of value.” – Frank Reilly, Social Worker and FIN tsv volunteer worker, July 2014
“Cassie Watter – “tile grouter extraordinaire!” We have known Cassie for about 5 years and found her to be very generous with her time and skills. Her involvement in community projects led to her being nominated and receiving recognition for her good works. We spent quite a bit of time over the last few years with Cassie and her daughters, and witnessed a loving caring relationship between this highly protective mother and her gorgeous girls.” – Lynne & Bob Bartlett, July 2014

We don’t blame the custodial father in the Cassie Watter Family Abduction Case for his outage over Professors Thorpe and Briggs and their Universities that allows these members of the academic community to support a parental kidnapper. We too are outraged at the Administrators of these Universities. I am certain these are well respected educational institutions, but to the Family Abduction Community, this is horrific. Some students at these Universities should start a campaign to find these kidnapped children or pressure these professors to get the protective moms to turn themselves in and bring this matter before the Australia Family Courts where it belongs. As we have seen in the United States, these professors are selfishly more interested in publishing their research and books and promoting their reputations rather than the well-being of these kidnapped children.

Next, the Family Inclusion Network in Queensland (Townsville) where Ros Thorpe is the President. We are not certainly exactly what is shocking is that this group did not support Protective Mom Dorothy Lee Barnett who had ties to Faye Yager. With one of the biggest Protective Parent Cases in Australia, the Family Inclusion Network in Queensland never came forward to support Dorothy Lee Barnett. In following the protective parent for the past decade, I find it difficult or impossible that they were not following the case. Since the didn’t come forward, it usually means that they were involved in assisting Barnett. When Mal Brough got involved in the Barnett Case, it might have meant that some member of this group played an active role in arranging his support.

In the United States, there are three individuals that are currently awaiting trial for their assistance aiding and abetting in the kidnapping of two teenager girls in a family abduction. What needs to happen in the Watter Case is that Australian Law Enforcement needs to find these girls, arrest this mother and prosecute any third parties that are helping Cassie Watter.

In closing, “there should never be a reasonable legal excuse for a Domestic or International Parental Kidnapping”

– The Editor, Family Abduction Watch



2 Responses to Exposing The Protective Mum Movement in Australia

  1. Lorraine says:

    That Dr Briggs, I find very odd. She openly came out in support of the other Mountain Creek childnapper. In fact, there was a weird group, of mainly professional women from around Australia that seemed to connect to her (and a weird group called the National Child Protection Alliance), who made the hairs on my arms stand upright when they came out to spruik. There was also a male that connected to them, a Charles Pragnell – a nobody who thought he was a somebody.

    By the time our Dot surfaced, the Australian people were long-suffering and over the antics and lies of the other Mountain Creek childnapper. A knock on the door and it was all over for our Dot. She was bundled up and taken to the Maroochydore Watch House more-or-less in the blink of an eye. Our Dot wasn’t an Australian citizen – in fact she was an illegal, so the Emeritus Professor and cronies would have been struggling to command air time for Dot.

    On the subject of Mal, well he is being investigated to ascertain whether or not his fingerprints are all over a most uncomfortable matter and was stood down from his Ministerial portfolio. Mal has just announced that he will not be recontesting the upcoming Federal election. Gee, neither Bruce nor our Dot will be able to rely on Mal waving the “I will talk to George” banner.

  2. Lorraine says:

    “When Mal Brough got involved in the Barnett Case, it might have meant that some member of this group played an active role in arranging his support.”

    Editor, my money is on the connection to Mal was either through Bruce or one of Dot’s other Sunshine Coast buds. It is hard to imagine that Dot’s Sunshine Coast buds vote Labor, so my view is that one or more of the buds are Liberal National Party active local branch members of Mal’s electorate. Who knows if they might have also donated generously to Mal’s re-election campaigns or assist to fill party coffers? Putting the $ching-ching of political donations into perspective, “no I cannot help your friend, Dot” most likely would not have been an option.

    On the other hand, a Dot bud might have called on her local Federal Member of Parliament all hot and huffy to request Mal’s support for Dot. The other Mountain Creek childnapper and her family also called on their local Federal Member of Parliament to request his support. Incredible as it was, that MP blindly gave the woman and her family his support without even checking the veracity of her or her family’s information. And, politicians don’t understand why members of the public get upset at the outrageous salaries they command here in Australia?

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