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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

Violence between adults and especially by an adult on a child, is repugnant. It is, of course, contrary to a child’s best interest. It should be dealt with robustly. Victims deserve support and it is right that this has been increased over the years, albeit almost entirely focused on women victims with male victims largely left to fend for themselves. This has also led to negative stereotyping to create a presumption of guilt or a need to prove innocence within safeguarding regime assessments. Such assessments often lack balance or fairness, and rarely take into account the role of mental illness which are not confined to one gender.

Domestic violence and abuse is an issue outside this charity’s remit unless it affects the post-separation relationships of children. Such relationships should never be restricted unless it’s for relevant, proportionate and adequately evidenced reasons, especially when a good and mutually loving relationship is already in place.

However, in making it easier for women to address abuse and to have access to resources, such as Legal Aid and refuges unequally, there is an increased risk of interference with fair decisions, hindering the outcomes for children; especially due to a lack of appropriate checks and balances in the system. These changes have also provided incentives, in the emotive storms of family separation, for exaggeration or fabrication of allegations with highly destructive potential consequences. It has resulted in the system itself, which is intended to protect children, being used as an abusive weapon.

The purpose of this workshop is to question whether, given that the welfare of the children should be the paramount consideration, the balance is right, and to explore what might be done, in individual cases and in policy, to reduce family conflict and, above all, to improve the outcomes for children.

Speakers biographies can be found here:



The cost is £20, including morning and afternoon refreshments but not lunch. Booking via Eventbrite. It should be an interesting and helpful day. Click here to purchase a ticket.

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  • Families Need Fathers welcome the Centre for Social Justice’s report - ‘The Hidden Parent Poverty Trap: Child Maintenance and Universal Credit’, published today. It’s findings are that hundreds of thousands of parents are pushed into a poverty trap caused by an out-of-date Child Maintenance formula. It shows that CMS assessments are often unaffordable as they don’t take into account the essential cost of living of the paying parent and state benefits don’t take their Child Maintenance into account. The fact that paying parents on state benefits who struggle with these payments are then surcharged by 20%, have deductions made from their pay and risk having their passports taken away from them is simply unforgivable. It creates a hostile environment that fuels family conflict and undermines the welfare of children. Please contact your MP and share this report with them, especially if you are one of those affected by this. Please ask your MP to contact relevant ministers and urge them to take urgent action: 1.Immediately stop surcharging by 20% parents on state benefits who are struggling with CM payments. 2.Ask for an immediate inflationary adjustment of thresholds before payments start, to reflect increases in the cost of living since 1998 (they have remained unchanged since then). 3. Ask for Universal Credit to take into account Child Maintenance payments. 4. Call for a complete review of Child Maintenance to ensure it is: a. Affordable b. supports shared parenting and c. reduces, rather than increases, family conflict. You may also with to encourage your MP to get in touch with us so we can provide them with further information. We’d be delighted if you shared with us any responses you receive. If you need further information yourself, please get in touch. Please support us by liking this, sharing it, following us, registering with us for free, becoming a member or making a donation to support our work.
  • Alex Skeel's story of being a victim of domestic abuse is truly horrendous. Speaking of his children he is reported in The Times as saying: “I stayed because I know what family courts are like. If I were to leave, how would I know I’d ever get to see them again?” Alex Skeel has helped to expose the lack of support for men who are far less likely to be believed. Fear of loss of access to their much loved children is one of the greatest reasons why men don't report abuse. The family courts do not treat them in the same way. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) have domestic violence perpetrator programmes for men, but not even one for women, even though MoJ say that 37% of victims are men. 'Abused by My Girlfriend' - BBC One at 22.45, today 19 February. Please support Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter. You can do this by liking this story, sharing it, following us, registering for free, becoming a member or making a donation.
  • People on Universal Credit and other benefits, who do not live with their children, don't just struggle with rent but also with making Child Maintenance (CM) payments. When that happens the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) puts them into their 'Collect and Pay' service for which they are then surcharged by 20% by the government. A kind of 'pay-day loan' surcharge that mostly affects the poorest parents. Not surprisingly they then find it even more difficult to pay their CM and develop arrears. CM payments are not even taken into account in calculations of UC, hence ensuring that many remain below the poverty line and that increased income does not increase their take-home pay - precisely what UC was supposed to put an end to. It also makes their ex-partners angry that they are not receiving the CM that they have been told by CMS is their entitlement adding to their already stressed lives. UC and the benefits system need to look at the specific issues of separated parents to help solve the problems of families on low incomes rathe than compound them. Do tell your MP about this and ask him/her to seek a government response. Please support us by sharing this, liking it, following us on Facebook, registering with us for free on our website, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • The Guardian/Observer are seeking views on issues men face today, on masculinity, etc in the context of #MeToo. We thought you might wish to share your views with them and the stories you would like to see them cover. To support FNF please like our posts, follow us, register on our website for free, make a donation or join and become a member.
  • Tracey Crouch MP for Chatham and Aylesford leads a Westminster debate today on supporting fathers in early years. We welcome this. Countries that support fathers, not least through much better paternity leave policies, also have greater involvement of dads with their children whether together or apart. Their society as a whole values them more. Fewer need to go to court. Children grow up healthier... and so do the adults. We will attend the debate this morning. Please support FNF by liking this, sharing it, following us, registering for free, making a donation or becoming a member.
  • Good to see Esther Rantzen redressing the balance. We should not be tarring all men with the same brush or assuming that all or even most women are relative angels. Power can be abused. In family courts it often is. Stereotyping is unhelpful to finding solutions for separated parents - it creates the conditions of such abuse to the detriment of the children, their dads and, in the final analysis, mums too. To support FNF please like this, share it, follow us, register for free, make a donation or become a member.

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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