There are devastating impacts of family court orders on mothers and children who had fled domestic violence and/or child abuse.
New research by Elizabeth Dalgarno reveals this, and confirms the years of collective self-help and campaigning carried out by Legal Action for Women (LAW) with mothers attacked for trying to protect their children.
According to the research, 43 of 45 violent fathers had been given child contact/residence, despite some having criminal convictions for domestic violence or child abuse.
In addition, 39 of the 45 mothers had been accused of “parental alienation”, and 5 mothers had died as a result of the biased and traumatic family court process, including 3 who committed suicide.
According to Legal Action for Women (LAW), finally the mainstream media, including notably the BBC, is publicising some of the horrendous treatment mothers are being subjected to behind the closed doors of family court.
LAW point out that they have been saying for many years that the family court, including Cafcass, “which is supposed to represent the interest of the child, the President of the Family Division, McFarlane, and other judges collude with the misogynist fathers’ lobby which denies domestic violence. This is despite the fact that every week 2-3 women, many of them mothers, are murdered by a partner or ex-partner. Family courts are routinely removing children from their mothers after accusing them of the discredited parental alienation.”
The organisation tells how terrified children “are forced to have contact or even live with abusive fathers or into largely privatised foster care or children’s homes making money out of trauma”. This is despite well-documented devastating consequences – including 69 children killed by parents/fathers and 450 children who died in care in 10 years.
LAW members say their monthly family court picket is now in its seventh year and calls on the government to recognise the bond between mothers and children and stop taking kids from loving mums. “Children need the protection of their mothers and are vulnerable to every abuse without it”.
With a view to ending this problem, Support not Separation (SNS) and LAW, set out what should be needed: financial and other support entitled to under Section 17 of the Children Act and the Care Act if we have disabilities; abolition of the “presumption of contact” with fathers regardless of their violence; end the use of “parental alienation” in family court; protection for domestic violence victims from perpetrators; an end to secrecy and opening the family courts to public scrutiny. In addition, they say, mothers are entitled to a care income to protect their children, not persecution and even death.
Support not Separation (SNS) is a national and international multiracial coalition of organisations and individuals to end the unwarranted and damaging separation of children from their mother or other primary carer. It is coordinated by Legal Action for Women (LAW) and includes Women Against Rape (WAR).
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(Information provided by Legal Action for Women – LAW)