There is a monumental catastrophe building for our governments and the consequences of this are so great they are going to spend decades repairing the destruction.
This catastrophe, is nothing less than the legalised abduction of children from the rightful access to and care of, their fathers. This resulting Fatherless generation which the Governments around the world are sanctioning, is Child Abuse.
The damage of a generation of children kept from their fathers due to an unjust legal system is going to yield a life-time of difficulties for children as they grow into their adult lives.
You would hope in countries like Australia with major events like The Stolen Generation of Indigenous Children, that we had learned the devastating impact of taking children from their biological parents. The horrific consequences of this have destroyed lives; has been responsible for suicides, substance abuse and completely altered the course of lives that we had no right to interfere with.
Yet, we have learned nothing. Indeed, as this is a global problem, the world has learned nothing from our mistakes.
I was contacted recently by Ben Williams* with his story on how the Family Law Courts treated not only him, but the welfare of his child in relation to co parenting after divorce.
“I have no criminal record, no mental health issues and no Apprehended Violence Order’s (AVO) against me.
Ben is a typical father battling for custody of his child in the Family Court of Australia. The Law states:
Parents will spend equal time with a child only where:
- They can agree to this arrangement ; or
- A court finds that equal time is in the best interests of the child and is the most suitable arrangement.
In his 2 year battle, Ben has spent $60,000 fighting for his rights to access his child and develop an ongoing and meaningful relationship with him.
An often-ignored issue is that of the extended family who are also being alienated. This child does not have contact with his Paternal Grandparents, Cousins, Aunties and Uncles, and most importantly of all, a meaningful relationship with both his parents.
What the Government is doing, sanctioned through the Family Court, is tantamount to legalized abduction of children from their fathers.
An often-used tactic of mothers and their lawyers is to attain an AVO against the father of the child. Ben had anticipated this and recorded every correspondence with the mother of his child. As expected, they attempted to take an AVO against him, however due to his diligence there was irrefutable evidence that it was without validation and therefore not proceeded with. In some ways, Ben was lucky.
Not every man is as aware as Ben was, and many have had AVO’s granted against them even though they are not in anyway at fault. Already under significant financially hardship, stress, and mental exhaustion, they are advised to let it go because it’s not a criminal conviction, however the consequences are devastating.
For the Lawyers employing this abhorrent tactic, for which there should be consequences, Ben has some valid questions.
- Will the Attorney General’s department be looking at re-introducing the perjury charge into the Family Law court?
- What will the penalties be for deliberately lying and misleading the court?
- What will be the penalties for lawyers, who push their clients to claim domestic violence for the upper hand.
There is also currently no room in our legal system to aid men who have first been victims of abuse and violence. It is inconceivable that a man in need of support will ever get help from the Government funded Women’s Support Groups. Often when men ask for protection of their children, or question the parenting of the mother, the retaliation is an AVO because it is guaranteed to shut them down so the mother doesn’t have to face consequences.
The legal system sanctions this and this extract from a State Legal Aid Service highlights that all services are for women.
Parents are required to go through mediation, which Ben and the mother did. Already under much financial hardship, Ben paid $850 in fees and the mother reneged on the agreement reached during that time, within a week.
“Previously I had to wait 6 months to get to, court, after this time my son’s mother claimed their was no relationship between me and my son and so supervised visitation was ordered. That cost me $65 an hour and is money I also do not have to spare.
The visitation centre had cockroaches on the floor, spiders on the walls and broken asbestos out back. This is where I had to meet with my child, like a criminal on supervised visitation”.
When a relationship has broken down and no amicable agreement can be made, it is a legal recommendation that the Family Court become involved. Former Family Court Judge, Justice Collier made this comment in the SMH upon his retirement in 2013.
‘If a husband and wife really get down to it in this day and age, dirt flies. The worst are those mothers who direct false allegations of abuse against former partners. When you have heard the evidence, you realise that this is a person who’s so determined to win that he or she will say anything. I’m satisfied that a number of people who have appeared before me have known that it is one of the ways of completely shutting husbands out of the child’s life.
In Australia, the 2006 Howard Government made changes to Family Law to encourage 50/50 shared parenting in the best interests of the child. The Gillard Government then bought in changes for ‘child protection’ in the event of abusive partners. In genuine cases of neglect and abuse this may have seemed reasonable, however with a legal agenda weighted entirely at protecting women, it has been systematically abused with many thousands of cases being bought by vindictive women and ‘win-at-all-cost’ Lawyers.
Ben highlighted the problem
The Family Law Court is only involved when parents can’t reach an agreement, somehow this is turned into accusations of violence and abuse. No one questions protection of the children in 50/50 parenting unless the courts are involved and false claims are made. Then we are demonized and alienated because she and her Lawyers have a sanctioned agenda.”
The problem is not in child abuse; the problem is the system that supports a mother’s vindictiveness over the rights of the child and the father’s right to be an equal part of their lives.
The cost to our society for this is catastrophic as our children are now growing up in a fatherless society and the problems arising from this are widely reported. There is significantly higher risk of youth suicide, substance abuse, and poor performance in education, delinquency and many other disastrous consequences.
In years to come, when these children make contact with their father in an effort to overcome the hurt and devastation they have endured over their lifetime, our Governments are going to have to be prepared to accept their responsibility for what they have done.
Someone is going to have to say sorry to these children.
*Ben Williams: Name changed to protect his identity
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Photo Credit: Via Dmitri Sumin – Flickr