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Father's Day 2018

 Father’s Day Message – 2018

Father’s Day is our opportunity to celebrate fatherhood. It is a chance for all dads to be reminded that they are loved and needed by those who they have cared for and loved throughout their lives. It is a recognition of the unique and vital role that fathers play in their children’s lives.

Tragically, at Families Need Fathers, we all too often work with dads whose children will not be able to celebrate Father’s Day with them. Many of them will have in their possession an order from the Family Court to say that their children should be seeing them regularly, not least on Father’s Day, but the order will not be obeyed.

Other fathers will have no hope at all of seeing their children on Father’s Day, because they have been “awarded” indirect contact. So all they can do for the child who needs them and whom they love is to send them a letter a few times a year – in the hope that it reaches them.

Worse still, many of their children will feel pressurised to reject their much-loved dads. Sometimes this will happen through coaching, but more often it will be because their main carers make coldly clear to these young minds their feelings towards their ex-partners. Why do they do this – could they have valid reasons? More often than not it is because they would not accept that the relationship had ended, because they started a new one of their own, because they were upset that their ex has started a new relationship or because they fear that their ex’s new partner will somehow usurp or diminish their role as a mother. Of course, these reasons are driven by adult emotions and it is harmful to burden the children with them. Children have more than enough capacity to love both their parents and extended families whether they live together or apart. Parents collaborating can do so much to help children to get over their parents' divorce or separation.

It is amazing that in 2018 there are still Cafcass Family Court Advisers, judges and social workers who don’t recognise alienating behaviours or appreciate their effect – putting a child in a position of having to suppress and deny their love for their father - a love that dare not speak its name. Over the last year or two Cafcass have accepted that parental alienation is child abuse and they are beginning to develop pathways and tools for identifying it and hopefully for dealing with it too.

That said the message has not reached all of them yet. Only last week we heard from an entirely reasonable, good dad whose child has been turned against him - yet neither the Family Court Adviser nor the judge showed any interest in why this might be. Incredibly, the judge and Family Court Adviser described the father as arrogant and naive for challenging the professionals' views when they had considered the wishes of his brainwashed child. The judge’s decision was horrifying – condemning a father simply for loving their child above all else – for wanting to remain part of the child’s life. They should do better. They need to be better trained. They need to have a far better understanding of recent research into child psychology and the long-term impact on a child of having to keep secret or trying to destroy their own love of a parent in order to protect themselves from the fear of loss of the other parent. It is amazing that, despite alienating behaviours being recognised by Cafcass nationally and by many experienced judges there are still those who look out to the horizon and conclude that the earth is flat. ‘Professionals’ who ignore all the evidence from those who have sailed those seas and yet when challenged don’t even show the slightest curiosity. Why for example might a child phone and say "I really wanted to see you on Father's Day, but mummy said no" and then a few weeks later, having not seen him, say "I never want to see him again"?

Of course, there are abusive men and women and a small minority will seek to hide their abuse with claims of alienation. This does not mean of course that alienation does not happen and experienced professionals can easily tell the difference. The earth is round, and no amount of denial will make it flat.

Today our thoughts are with all the good dads out there, but most especially with all those children and their dads who are needlessly apart, failed by their main carers and failed by a broken family justice system that is behind the times. Those dads will continue to suffer every single day, as will their children, many of whom will grow up living with the effects of the daily guilt of having to deny their love for one parent in order to hold on to the love of the other.

It will be very hard for these children and their alienated parents to forgive the Government and the courts for their obstruction and inaction. But if we all work constructively together, for the sake of all those children of separated families, progress can and will be made.

We wish everyone a Happy Father's Day.  If you are a father, and you are in touch or with your children - have a great day. If you are a father and for whatever reason you cannot be with your child or children, we hope that they will be happy and much loved and appreciated in your thoughts throughout the day and in the future.

17th June 2018

 

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  • A terrible story of greed and revenge exacted on a man and his family. In summary, a woman whose partner left her, pretended to be pregnant using a friend's child to support her story. He and his family believed her and he sought to be a good dad, paying child maintenance to the mother, visiting 'his son' whom he grew to love, believing him to be his. Only it was all a fabrication that unravelled when the child grew older, keeping up the pretence became difficult and contact with the child was stopped at great emotional and financial cost to this poor man. People contact us to say that they are paying maintenance for children that might not be theirs. In this case it was not only an abuse of the father, but a most awful abuse of the child and of the child's biological family. We've not heard of people 'borrowing' a child to commit their crime before, but the story is not altogether unique either and we do hear of false claims of paternity either to 'hold onto' the man or to get money from someone who has more to give than the biological father may not even be aware that they are the father. https://www.facebook.com/BBCOne/videos/2078077738882999/ To support us please like our page on Facebook, better still, follow us, share this post, register for free, become a member or make a donations.
  • Male victims of violence need more access to support. Many don't come forward for fear of loss of access to their children. Family justice system still shows bias towards treating fathers as providers or as being sources of risk, rather than carers and protectors. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-45490173 If your experience reflects this story, tell your MP. If you are concerned about access to your children, please call our Helpline 0300 0300 363. Please support us by sharing, following, liking, registering for free, becoming a member or making a donation.
  • The BBC this week covers plans by the Children Family and Courts Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) to introduce a court pathway for parental alienation. Many of our readers will relate to the cartoon story included in the BBC coverage of this. The fact that over 90% of alienation is from fathers rather than mothers is not as important as that the issue is being raised by the BBC and Cafcass. The BBC felt obliged to have some 'balancing' comments from parties who prefer to see and hear no evil, but it is good that this story is being run. Families Need Fathers have been working towards Cafcass recognising parental alienation as the problem that it is for some time. Having accepted that it is nothing less than child abuse, they then recognised that it was necessary to have a plan to address is when it occurs. This article is based on Cafcass' delayed plan to start testing this autumn the new 'pathway' that they have been developing. FNF will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new pathway and to provide Cafcass with further feedback. The BBC article includes an error as to the number of enforcement applications in 2013, which stood at 3,173 and not 1,400 as quotede. In fact it has gone up since and in 2017 stood at 6,832. Disgracefully, a mere 21 resulted in enforcement action. If anyone is and adult who was alienated as a child, please get in touch with us. The same if you are a parent who has had a reversal of residency of their children as a result of alienation. You can contact us on Facebook Messenger or at admin@fnf.org.uk. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-45448100 Please support us by sharing this post, liking it, following us, registering with us for free, becoming a member or making a donation.
  • Best Way to Split Retreat – 14th to 16th September 2018 Last minute booking opportunity. An FNF member has provided financial support to enable a number of our members/service users to book this course at half price! If you would like to attend this at half price then please register for the brochure by clicking the link below and email suzy@startingovershow.com and let her know whether you are available for the full weekend and she will. No couples - this is 'me time'. The offer is subject to availability. https://cb368-a03d89.pages.infusionsoft.net/?utm_source=newsletter_184&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fnf-newsletter-6th-september-2018
  • No-fault divorce is a welcome step, but it is far too optimistic to think that it will end 'the blame game'. For that to happen the whole adversarial family justice system needs to be scrapped, particularly when decisions relating to children are concerned. So too must other 'incentives' to commit perjury such as offering legal aid to those who make accusations of domestic abuse, but not to those so accused. Sir James Munby described this as one of the greatest 'vices' of the system. There are many other more serious deficiencies in family justice that need to be addressed if we are to repair a broken system that does more damage than good. Please support us by sharing, following, liking, registering for free on our website, joining or making a donation. https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/sep/07/uk-government-launch-consultation-no-fault-divorces
  • "the wrongfully accused is plunged into a ­dystopian nightmare where they know the truth but can only watch as the touch paper of the lie is set alight and starts to burn bright in the minds of everyone but those who know them well enough to ­disbelieve the claim" The Sun this week on CBB false allegations story. Please support us by following us, sharing, liking, registering for free on our website, joining or becoming a member. If the issues in this story affect you, please tell your MP and tell them that such abuse is as abusive and devastating as any other. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7177247/roxanne-pallett-celebrity-big-brother-accusation-wreck-lives/

FNF HSSF Kite Mark Award

Families Need Fathers has been awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Kite Mark which is a new UK government accreditation scheme for organisations offering help to separated families.

Families Need Fathers work with a range of family law professionals, including Family Law Panel

 

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