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In the News and in Parliament

In the News and in Parliament

FNF Contribute to Article Growing Scientific Evidence for a Presumption of Shared Parenting in Law

Families Need Fathers get a mention by the journalist writing in support of a rebuttable presumption of shared parenting in The Times of Malta, having disussed with him our experience, and shared some of our research sources. In this wide-ranging and interesting article, he explores the substantial and growing scientific basis for the benefits of shared parenting and how current policies cause unnecessary harm to children's and public health. Plus several other articles.

The article also draws attention to the Council of Europe having passed a resolution calling on member states, to make shared parenting the foundation of family law. The arguments are clear. The route to achieving this in law and in the culture will be the next big challenges. Please note that The Council of Europe is separate from the EU. We will do what we can to promote this message in the UK too as we develop the next phase of our campaign in support of this.

Might Theresa May Improve Paternity Leave?

Research also suggests it will improve parenting

Last year the Government rejected a Women and Equalities Select Committee recommendation for fathers to have a month of properly funded paternity leave. The Committee made the recommendation primarily as a way of reducing the reported gender pay gap. Now it seems Theresa May has had a re-think and has suggested that fathers should get 12 weeks of non-transferable, funded, paternity leave. Countries that have such policies demonstrate a high take-up. They also have better child welfare outcomes, less pressure on mothers and a greater likelihood of joint parenting whether together or after parents separate. The detail of proposals is, as ever, important (how it would be funded, would all time have to be taken in first 12 weeks, etc), but this is a good start. If Theresa May makes this happen it would rightly be an achievement she could be proud of, but she only has weeks left, so it is more than a big ask. Even if she is unable to progress this, it means that the issue is gaining visibility and it seems likely to be only a matter of time before it gains traction amongst progressive policy makers. The Prime Minister deserves support for raising this issue, maybe even some messages of support. The proposal was reported in various media including an article in the Daily Mail

Our preference would be for the timing of any extension to parternity leave to be left for parents to decide. In many cases they may decide that after a couple of weeks one will take care of the child first and the other later. Research has shown that fathers taking sole care of the child is beneficial to the child and parents. Dr Richard A Warshak (expert in Parental Alienation and author of the valuable parent resource book 'Divorce Poison') confirms this - “I have no doubt that fathers learn parenting on the job, just like mothers,” he says, “Men grow in self-confidence when they make child-rearing decisions and ably meet their children’s needs.”. In a report of this latest research, one father was quoted as saying "Becoming a single parent made me a better father as it forced me to step forward and take responsibility for dealing with situations that in the past I probably would have just left for my wife to handle or to tell me what to do.”

p.s. If you are thinking of bying Divorce Posion by Dr Warshak, or anything else, on Amazon, please use this link (also on the Home Page of our website) and FNF will receive a donation of a few % of the sales value.

Parental Alienation Raised During 2nd Reading of Divorce Dissolution and Separation Bill

The 25th June 2019 saw the Second Reading of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, commonly known as the bill that introduced 'No-Fault Divorce'. We welcome the Bill in so far as it will reduce conflict around divorce. However, at FNF we rarely, if ever, hear of this being the primary issue for our service users. People come to us because of obstalces being put to prevent them seeing their children - whether they were married or not, or sometimes long after divorce, and often only when the father finds a new partner, and sometimes when the mother does. We welcomed the two interventions of Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, during the debate.  He raised the issue of Parental Alienation which can be seen on Parliament TV (13:07 and 19:19). It needs to keep being brought up in Parliament and the passage of this bill is as good an opportunty as any to keep raisng awareness of this, even if this Bill's focus is divorce.

Petition to Give Anonymity to those Accused of Sexual Offences

The petition seeks to change the situation that currently exists which, whilst protecting the identity of complainants, does not do so for alleged perpetrators, not just prior to conviction, but prior even to charge. In one or two recent cases even prior to an arrest. The petition has been raised by The Hon Daniel Janner QC and has had a good deal of publicity (The Guardian's coverage can be found here) because high-profile figures, such as Cliff Richard and Paul Gambaccini, who experienced the damaging effect of false allegations, talking about their experiences. It is not directly related to issues of family justice other than in so far as our experience is that false allegations are common in Children Act disputes and where these are disclosed to schools, employers, etc, they can adversely affect those who are accused. There may be situations of course where such protection may hamper investigations, however, our understanding is that if this was introduced it would not stop the police from seeking permission of a court to allow them to do so. Neither does it stop anyone from seeking injunctions Prohibitive Steps orders or Findings of Fact in family courts where they have genuine or, not infrequently, fabricated reasons to seek protection for themselves or their children. Those things we need to work on separately. At the time of writing the petition has received over 18,000 signatures which means the Government will have to respond. Should it reach 100,000 it will be debated in Parliament.

The petition is also being supported by Innovation of Justice, an organisation committed to reform of criminal justice with a particular emphasis on disclosure of evidence. It is a particular situation that leads to innocent people being investigated for months or even years even though evidence to clear them has been available all along. In other cases it leads to miscarriages of justice. Again, this is not entirely relevant to FNF's work, but a conference in London attended by two FNF members had inspirational speaker after speaker who shared their nightmare experiences. In one case someone who spent nearly 30 years in jail before being cleared. The commonality for many FNF members was (1) the experience of being falsely accused and (2) the utterly destructive effect it has on the victims of false allegations. 

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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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16/11/2019 Sat: Harrow Branch Meetings
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