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The UK's leading Shared Parenting charity

Domestic Violence and Child Welfare Workshop

Getting the Balance Right 

One-Day workshop (09.00-17.00) Saturday 27 October 2018 

Conference Room, Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA 

Organised by the Central London branch of Families Need Fathers 

As the UK’s leading shared parenting charity, Families Need Fathers is also a child welfare charity. Our job is to help children whose parents live apart to have a meaningful relationship with both of them – and their wider family on both sides - that would promote their welfare. We do this by supporting parents whose children are wrongly prevented from a beneficial relationship to get, and use for the best, adequate parenting time. These are mostly fathers, but when fathers get “possession” of the children they can be as exclusive. Then we support the mother. Half the children affected are girls. Wider families consist of people of both sexes.  

Our second task is to tackle the problem at source by getting legal and social recognition of these rights of children. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that 'States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests.' The UK moved towards this in the Children and Families Act 2014.  

Violence between adults and especially by an adult on a child is repugnant. It is, of course, contrary to a child’s best interest and should be dealt with robustly. Victims deserve support. In the past, such support fell well short of the mark. However, an overreach* can also result in injustice to individuals and harm to children. Negative stereotyping of some people may create a presumption of guilt. More attention may be given to preventing small risks than big ones**. There may be over-cautiousness in judicial and other decisions***. Unequal access to resources and help may interfere with fair decisions, and so on. The policy also needs to tackle the role of drink, drugs and mental illness, issues which are not confined to one sex or gender.  

Domestic violence and abuse is an issue outside this charity’s remit unless it affects the post-separation relationships of the children. These relationships should be restricted only for relevant, proportionate and adequately evidenced reasons, especially when they were once mutually loving.   

The welfare of the children should be the paramount consideration, the balance is right and to explore what might be done? What can be done in individual cases and in policy, to improve the outcomes for children? 

£20, including morning and afternoon refreshments but not lunch. Booking via Eventbrite. Click here to purchase a ticket. 

* An overreach and overshoot can co-exist. The need is to improve the quality of ALL decisions.  

**Such as more thorough checking for ‘safety’ of arrangements for children to spend time with their ‘contact parent’ than with their ‘residential parent’. The risks to children from ‘residential’ parents and carers is dramatically greater than that from ‘contact parents’. In the case of murder maybe by 30:1.  This is for an evident reason. Little child abuse is maliciously intended. Generally, it’s parents and carers who ‘lose it’ faced with demands greater than their strength to cope. Stress on ‘contact parents’ rarely reaches this level. Rather, contact eases the demands on residential parents and provides support and awareness of problems to children at risk. Everything should be risk assessed but overall two-way contact is a powerful safety measure.  

*** Harm coming to children during contact time will usually be immediately evident - and publicly used. Harm inflicted by residential parents and/or their new partners can be the indirect result of contact denial. Such harm may generally be less obvious and may not be noticed.  It includes psychological distress, poor self-esteem, poor educational and social performance, distrust of others and difficulties forming wholesome relationships. These are less easily linked in individual cases to decisions to exclude a parent and his/her wider family. 

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  • A Sheriff in Scotland found that a father was prevented for a year from seeing his children, because of false allegations of rape compounded by damaging support service interventions. #BelieveMe needs to re replaced with timely investigation. Findings of Fact should take place within three months - even that is an age for a young child to be needlessly deprived of a loving and much loved parent. There also need to be consequences to the making of false allegations. Link to full transcript of judgement in second comment below. https://www.pressreader.com/uk/scottish-daily-mail/20181017/282149292282550 To support Families Need Fathers, please like and share our posts, follow us, register for free, become a member or make a donation.
  • Is Misogyny about to be Classified as a Hate Crime in UK Legislation? What about Misandry – or are men not Worth It? Last month, it was announced that a review by the Law Commission would look at whether offences driven by misogyny - dislike, contempt or ingrained prejudice against women - should be treated as hate crimes. And now it's emerged the same review will also consider the opposite - crimes motivated by misandry - hostility towards men. This is a potentially pivotal issue when the new matriarchy are pressing so hard in all walks of life for special treatment of women. We are living in a fair and egalitarian society in which men and women should expect to be offered equivalent support and protection under the law. Surely it’s a no-brainer to treat all gender hate crimes fairly, regardless of gender? Unless the law is fair and has effective checks and balances to avoid it being abused, it risks being used as a weapon by some parents with less than honourable motives. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45870948
  • False allegations are commonplace in family justice disputes and since legal aid changes in 2013 these have been encouraged by providing Legal Aid in family disputes to just one side when alleging domestic violence. Non-Molestation Orders have become the most favoured route to this and have gone up by 37% since. The figures were boosted by legislation in 2017 designed to stop thousands of people languishing on police bail for months or years without charge - as these orders have the same effect, but are easier to obtain. The Guardian's report on our analysis today. The full report can be downloaded from our website - (link in first comment posted). https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/oct/15/parents-weaponising-domestic-violence-orders-claims-charity To support us, please share this, Tweet it, like it, comment, follow us, register for free, become a member or make donation.
  • FNF have advocated for more involvement of fathers with care of their children from day one, not least as it benefits children. New research at University of Manchester now demonstrates that fathers caring for babies alone also promotes relationship stability. Meanwhile, the Government rejected recommendations of the Select Committee for Women and Equalities to extend 'use-it-or-lose-it' paternity leave. State support for paternity leave is approximately 4% of that for maternity leave for parents on similar incomes. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/30/hands-on-fathers-less-likely-to-break-up-with-partners-paternity-leave-childcare Please support FNF by sharing, liking, following, registering for free, becoming a member or making a donation.
  • Rogan Productions (who produced this Panorama episode) consulted us and visited our branches to gain an understanding of the situation. We haven’t yet seen the piece but we have already written to them with our concerns that judging by the description and title, the programme is being presented in a prejudicial manner and that the title will upset many vulnerable male victims. Their reply includes the following: “…thank you for sharing your thoughts, I completely understand why you feel that way. Perpetrator programmes predominantly focus on male perpetrators, and statistically there is a higher need in that regard, which is why we have had to present it in its reality for the programme. There aren’t any perpetrator programmes that exist solely for women – I believe there is one programme that operates through Skype. However we have included statistics regarding male victims to try and rectify the balance, and we do know this is an issue that affects both genders.” Our hope is that they have properly addressed not just the issues of the unexplainable and frankly prejudicial lack of appetite for programmes for women, but also the ongoing support for feminist attempts at painting men as un-reformable and even fundamentally given to being perpetrators of violence. More to the point their introduction doesn’t seem to mention the need for both parents to focus on the welfare of the children, rather than on attacking each other in the courts and in front of the children. Having said all that, they may be concentrating on wider issues of DV – outside the arena of children, separation and divorce. Either way, it will be interesting to see how they deal with the significant proportion of W on M violence and abuse. Let’s see what the film shows and we can take it up with the Beeb if necessary. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bn9yzg 8.30pm tonight. Support us by liking, sharing, following, registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • A tragic story for the family. A son killed and a falsely accused dad who died struggling to cope with what had happened and the allegations against him. False allegations destroy lives. Sadly they rarely get the attention they deserve and are far more common in the context of family separation. https://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/crime/heartbroken-family-of-freddie-stacey-make-emotional-plea-for-help-with-his-funeral-1-9384988 Please follow us and support our work on shared parenting and dealing with false allegations.

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

 

Upcoming Events

20/10/2018 Sat: Harrow Branch Meetings
22/10/2018 Mon: London Central Meeting
23/10/2018 Tue: Harrow Branch Meetings
24/10/2018 Wed: Cambridge Meeting
25/10/2018 Thu: London East (Tower Hamlets)
25/10/2018 Thu: Exeter Meeting
29/10/2018 Mon: Reading Meeting
1/11/2018 Thu: Solent Meeting
1/11/2018 Thu: Liverpool-Wirral Meeting
5/11/2018 Mon: London Central Solicitor's Clinic
5/11/2018 Mon: Edinburgh Meeting
5/11/2018 Mon: Northern Ireland Meeting
6/11/2018 Tue: Leeds Central Meeting
6/11/2018 Tue: Newcastle Meeting
6/11/2018 Tue: Northampton Meeting
6/11/2018 Tue: Oxford Meeting (check day with branch)
7/11/2018 Wed: Manchester Meeting