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More Fathers Protest by Climbing Buckingham Palace

30th November 2015

Last night protesters from two so-called ‘Dads’ Rights’ groups risked life and limb to draw attention to the shameful outcomes experienced by many fathers when they seek to remain a part of the lives of their children following divorce or separation.

Families Need Fathers is only too familiar with the deeply felt frustrations that drove these two men to undertake such a dangerous stunt.  Each year, FNF receives tens of thousands of pleas for support and guidance directed at our UK Helpline and our branches from parents (mostly fathers) and grandparents whose only sin was to seek to continue playing a meaningful role in the upbringing of their children after separation. Many are bewildered at how they have been squeezed out of their children's lives, generally having done nothing more than falling out of favour with the children's mother.  Such exclusion risks huge consequences for their children when they grow up.

Jerry Karlin, Chair of Families Need Fathers commented: "The UK cannot continue to ignore the elephant in the room – the widespread unfairness of outcomes for children who are deprived of their involvement with (usually) their fathers by a court system and infrastructure which inconsistently applies the law in so many cases.  Our system continues to sidestep the gathering of proper official statistics regarding cases and their outcomes.  Cases remain shrouded in secrecy and, according to the many calls we receive from the public, outcomes appear to vary greatly according to many odd factors such as which court or which CAFCASS agency are involved.  

Parents are often encouraged or feel obliged to find thousands of pounds for legal costs, only to be told when the money runs out that there is nothing else that can be done.  Money that they would wish to spend on their children.  So despite clear rules of procedure, it can take years and tens of thousands of pounds for an order to be granted by the court for the children to spend alternate weekends and some holiday time with their dad.

Even when one parent finally obtains a court order allowing them the ‘privilege’ of seeing their own children, an intractable other parent will all too often stubbornly ignore the order – in some cases even tearing up the order in front of the hated ex-partner outside the court. The court may then fail for a second time by not enforcing the order it’s made. The relatively few statistics we do have from the Ministry of Justice show that something like only 2.1% of applications for enforcement end in an order being made.  It’s time all parents were equally subject to the law of the land.

Meanwhile, men are taking their own lives in increasing numbers – in some cases because they cannot face feeling bullied out of their children or because they have been maliciously blamed for alleged crimes, often apparently without any evidence being produced.  This has to stop, for the sake of future generations.”

Of course we all wish that no one ever felt so hurt and unjustly treated as to turn to such dangerous stunts as climbing tall buildings or worse, but we have been pushing for over 40 years for change and although the situation has improved considerably, there is still much prejudice and bad practice to be eradicated from our system.  We hope the two climbers experience a positive outcome –especially one in which they are at last allowed to provide their children with the fathering they – and all our children – need and deserve.

ENDS

 

For comment, case studies or information please contact: media@fnf.org.uk.

Notes for editors:

Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter
FNF is a registered charity providing information and support on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown, and support to divorced and separated parents, irrespective of gender or marital status. FNF is NOT a fathers' rights group - we support the best interests of children - namely mature and collaborative parenting by both parents - an objective which is inadequately promoted in the family court system and associated services.

Our primary concern is the maintenance of the child’s meaningful relationship with both parents.

Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year.

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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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