Press Release 2019 Archive

Press Release – 23rd October 2019 – For Immediate Release

Parliamentary body unable to make proper recommendations on Child Maintenance ... because they say the Government has no strategy

3.9 million children have separated parents involving 5 million parents and welfare considerations for children are not thought through

FNF welcome the SSAC report that highlights many of the problems with Child Maintenance

Press Release - 14th June 2019

A third of domestic abuse is towards men. The Joint Committee's report states that men, boys and others must not be excluded, however, instead of seeking resources and support for all, it continues to support a gendered strategy of ending ‘violence against women and girls'.

Report published on the very same day as new advertising rules ban the use of harmful gender stereotypes.


Whilst the report rightly identifies minority groups that may be marginalised in current proposals,

it fails to identify men/fathers which are the biggest group marginalised in the Bill by far.


The Joint Committee’s report fails to address a growing problem of false allegations, particularly in the context of family separation.


Safeguards are needed to protect the welfare of children where the system is abused.

Criminal sanctions should only be imposed if guilt is established in a criminal court.

Families Need Fathers - because both parents matter

Operations and Marketing Officer
£24,000 to £28,000 depending on skills and experience

Closing date 18th August 2019

There is an enormous amount of work for us to do and we are delighted that we are in a position to recruit a full-time Operations and Marketing Officer, based at our national office in Bethnal Green. The role will be offered on a 12 month contract basis with the potential to renew and extend depending on funding and performance.

We have decided to look both internally and externally to fill this role. You can send your CV and covering letter to explain how you meet the person specification for the role to admin@fnf.org.uk with FNFOMO2019 in the subject heading. 

Please read full details of this role online.

 

Spotlight on Child Protection in Family Courts - Submit Your Response by 26th August 2019

Since our Newsletters on this subject of 31st May and 3rd July 2019, we informed you of the Government's announcement to have a review of how children and parents are protected in family courts. The call for evidence has been announced and, for all the flaws in the way that this review has been structured, it is important that they hear the many voices of good mums and dads who will be affected by conclusions of this report. So please respond to this review on the basis of your experience:

Advance Notice of Families Need Fathers Annual General Meeting and Conference - Saturday 14th September 2019 

Trustees hereby notify members of the date for an Annual General Meeting in London’s Euston on Saturday 14th September 2019. Details of the venue will be confirmed separately with the formal announcement and agenda for the AGM.

The vital administrative business of the charity benefits us by ensuring that we have Trustees who are able to support the development of our work. We cordially invite as many members as possible to attend. The AGM itself is expected (to be confirmed) to take place at 3:30pm.

Seminars and Discussions

There will be an opportunity to discuss the future direction of FNF at this conference as well as practical guidance on family justice. We will provide further details of registration and event speakers separately.

Please reserve the day in your diaries.

Government to Consult on Extending Paternity Leave

FNF lobbying is making a difference. Could properly funded Paternity Leave become a reality?

Yesterday the Government announced their intention to consult on extending paternity leave. It would be difficult to over-state the importance of this initiative. When other countries introduced policies that properly support paternity leave, this was the single biggest factor that began the process of shared parenting after family separation. We will keep you informed of details of this consultation as they become available.

Child Maintenance Debate in Parliament 23rd July 2019
URGENT ACTION REQUIRED!

Deadline is Monday 22nd July at midday

HOC Image for CM

There’s going to be a debate on the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) on Tuesday next week, 23rd July 2019 at 2:30pm, in Westminster Hall at the House of Commons. The debate will be led by Martyn Day, the Member of Parliament for Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

He wants to hear about your experiences of Child Maintenance on the House of Commons Facebook page or through a short private survey.

 

Sorry for the short notice. We did not have much ourselves - the survey need only take a minute or three.

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.

Call for More Helpline Volunteers

HVOY

Demand for our Helpline has been growing and we need more people to get involved. FNF's telephone Helpline is a vital first point of contact with the charity for many parents struggling to see their children after a relationship breakdown. Volunteers offer emotional support and information about the charity and other resources. Knowledge of the family court system is a bonus - but not essential. More important are patience, compassion, and an understanding of the benefits to children of close relationships with both parents. We will arrange Helplines training for those willing to make the commitment. The work itself can be done from home.

We ask our volunteers to cover the phone line one evening a week from 6-10pm. It's valuable work and often very fulfilling. If you would like to help, please contact our office on 0300 0300 110, or email admin@fnf.org.uk.

Last year, one long-standing FNF Helpline volunteer, Pauline Green, won the Helplines Partnership Volunteer of the Year 2018 Award. You can read Pauline’s story of how she came to be involved here.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our last call for Helpline Volunteers. One or two new people joined us. Some considered it, but decided they could not commit at the time, if your circumstances have changed, please get in touch again.

 

Spotlight on Child Protection in Family Courts

In our Newsletter of 31st May 2019 we informed you of the Government's announcement to have a review of how children and parents are protected in family courts. The issue was brought to a head by women's domestic violence organisations on the Victoria Derbyshire Show on 15th May 2019 and an independent review was supported by 123 MPs. The Government rejected an independent review, but announced on 21st May 2019 that it would have a review led by a panel of 'experts'.  We contacted the man from the ministry...

Father's Day Message 2019

It’s Father’s Day again. A day to celebrate fatherhood, but a day too, on which many of us may not have the good fortune to be with our fathers or our children. One of the reasons for this may be that Parental Alienation (PA) has affected your life and relationships.
But you’ve probably heard the good news. PA has been recognised by the World Health Organisation at last. It's about time...

PA was first identified in the '70s and the debate has continued ever since. Some people, notably some latter-day feminist activists, continue to deny its very existence (Just for the record, we support egalitarian feminists, but we are less open to those who campaign in the name of equality for special treatment of women and girls). Others see PA as very widespread in separated families. Some, myself included, have even observed it in un-separated families.

Unicef Ranks UK as one of the Least Family-friendly Countries

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) declared the UK as one of the least family-friendly countries in the developed world (OECD nations). Their key findings were released last week. Support for maternity leave is poor and for paternity at just £148.68 a week for two weeks is shameful. Their announcement states 'Paid paternity leave helps fathers bond with their babies, contributes to healthy infant and child development, lowers maternal depression and increases gender equality' and their report calls for 'national policies ensuring paid paternity leave and encouraging fathers to use it.'. 

Harmful Gender Stereotyping in Advertising is Set to End

On 14th June 2019 new regulations by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) came into force. One example offered by the ASA is that under the new regulations is:

'An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man’s inability to change nappies; a woman’s inability to park a car.'

We think this is a positive step that will assist fathers in being seen as carers of their children and at the very least put an end to negative depictions. 

How the biggest German supermarket, Edeka, got it wrong on Mother's Day - video will shock many

Press Release - 14th June 2019

A third of domestic abuse is towards men. The Joint Committee's report states that men, boys and others must not be excluded, however, instead of seeking resources and support for all, it continues to support a gendered strategy of ending ‘violence against women and girls'.

Report published on the very same day as new advertising rules ban the use of harmful gender stereotypes.


Whilst the report rightly identifies minority groups that may be marginalised in current proposals,

it fails to identify men/fathers which are the biggest group marginalised in the Bill by far.


The Joint Committee’s report fails to address a growing problem of false allegations, particularly in the context of family separation.


Safeguards are needed to protect the welfare of children where the system is abused.

Criminal sanctions should only be imposed if guilt is established in a criminal court.

Parental Alienation Recognised by World Health Organisation (WHO)

And Other PA Updates

Positive news - The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on 25th May 2019 that they have accepted Parental Alienation within its classification of health conditions. It does not come into effect until 1st January 2022, presumably to give nation states and researchers time to catch-up. It is, however, an important marker that the effect on children of alienating behaviours is a major health problem that needs to be more widely recognised and addressed. 

Indirect Contact: On what basis do such orders promote the welfare of children?

We regularly hear from many dads and some mums about judges and Cafcass Family Court Advisers proposing indirect contact only with children after separation i.e. sending and receiving of letters, cards and gifts, without any parenting time at all. Often they express the view that this will consequently lead to direct contact developing. What, we ask, is the basis for such optimism? A survey we carried out suggests that there is no basis for this at all, with just one out of 154 respondents saying it led to direct contact. The May 2019 issue of legal journal Family Law Journal published an article by barrister Sarah Phillimore and Families Need Fathers exploring the issues further, sharing some of the detail of our survey results and calling for the Ministry of Justice to publish data on how often these orders are made by family courts and to commission research into their outcomes.

Review of how family courts protect children and parents in cases involving domestic abuse and serious offences

Families Need Fathers seeks to provide balance on the Victoria Derbyshire Show

A number of organisations have lobbied MPs to persuade them to back a campaign for an independent review of how family courts protect children and parents in cases involving domestic abuse and serious offences. The campaign's focus appears to be the suggestion that courts are making orders for 'contact at all costs', following the deaths of four children over the last four years or so who were killed by fathers on contact. The Victoria Derbyshire Show earlier this month in which we took part (this episode can be viewed here until 13th June 2019) was based on this premise, whilst ignoring incidents of children killed by mothers, including those on contact. It was also the basis of a letter from 123 MPs calling for an independent review.

Most of our service users will know that the suggestion of 'contact at all costs' is far from the truth and certainly not based on any evidence. Our experience tells us that is is precisely the opposite.

Indirect contact: on what basis do such orders promote the welfare of children?

Families Need Fathers

Sarah Phillimore, St John's Chambers Bristol

Article first published in the May 2019 issue of Family Law journal and reproduced here with acknowledgement and thanks.

Indirect contact: on what basis do such orders promote the welfare of children?

This article examines the evidential basis supporting orders for indirect contact to provide a mechanism whereby direct contact may at some point resume. The authors are concerned that this ‘wait and see’ strategy at best achieves nothing and at worst is actively harmful. They call for better research about the impact of indirect contact in cases of entrenched opposition, and greater willingness to consider psychological intervention at earlier stages.

Indirect Contact is a form of post-separation child contact which courts often recommend but whose value is questionable.

FNF survey results appear in an article published in May by Family Law, shows that court orders for ‘indirect contact’ (sending of letters, cards and gifts) offer only false hope with no evidence that there is any prospect of a positive outcome.

Instead of spending quality time with their other parent, indirect contact replaces that time with a card to be sent once a week/month/year without even any guarantee that the child will actually receive the card.

FNF Survey Shows Value of Indirect Contact Is Questionable

The results published in May by Family Law, shows court orders for ‘indirect contact’ (letters, cards and gifts) offer false hope with no evidence of any prospect of direct contact resuming.

2nd May 2019

For decades, policy makers and court support services argued that just one in ten separated families relied on the assistance of courts. It turns out that this figure was very wrong and has been clouding policy judgements. President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, said this is:

“a far cry from the previous comfortable urban myth based on a figure of 10%. It indicates a major societal problem…”.​

638,900 parents will fall into Child Maintenance ‘poverty trap’ under Universal Credit says a new report by the Centre for Social Justice

PRESS RELEASE 21st January 2019 : For Immediate release

The Draft Government Domestic Abuse Bill must protect the vulnerable, including those who are falsely accused