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Research - Response from Families Link International (FLINT) to the consultation paper on Parental separation: Children's needs and Parent's responsibilities.

Ref: Green paper July 2004

Parental separation : Children’s needs and parents’ responsibilities.

Dear Parental Relationship Breakdown Consultation Team,

We write as an NGO interested in promoting healthy families as the base of any civilised society.

We are concerned at the lack of clear information and use of partial research behind the policies that successive Governments have been steering in relation to children and families.

Grandparents, fathers and older children are desperate for help as they have had their civil and human rights abused by what are essentially anti-father and anti-family institutions e.g. CAFCASS, Social services and the family courts. We are aware of many cases where violent and/ or abusive women are given residence which would seem to show a bias in the application of Family Law.

The Green Paper in its present format is poorly thought out except in the context that it is designed to continue the human rights abuses fostered on the family by successive Governments over the last full generation.

There is a plethora of research on the links between fatherlessness and criminality, teenage pregnancy, poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, delinquent behaviour, and rape. The economic costs of this are tremendous not only to inviduals but also to society at large.

The Government yet again repeat the myths of domestic violence with ‘where contact is safe’. This blatantly ignores the research that shows women to be equally or more violent than men e.g. -The Fiebert report. http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 130 scholarly investigations: 104 empirical studies and 26 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 77,000.

Violence against children by women is another issue where the public and Governmental attitude is very different than the facts revealed by formal studies. Some examples of the research which should inform policy are given below:

Source: The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-3) from the US Department of Health and Human Services reveals data about child abuse by mothers.
Women commit most child abuse in intact biological families. When the man is removed from the family the children are at greater risk. Mother-only households are more dangerous to children than father-only households. Children are 3 times more likely to be fatally abused in Mother-only Households than in Father-only Households, and many times more likely in households where the mother cohabits with a man other than the biological father. Children raised in Single-mother Households are 8 times more likely to become killers than children raised with their biological father.

Other studies reveal more about female violence against children:
Women hit their male children more frequently and more severely than they hit their female children. Women commit 55% of child murders and 64% of their victims are male children.

Eighty two percent of the general population had their first experience of violence at the hands of women, usually their mother. Our culture learns to be violent from our mothers, not our fathers.

Yet, 3.1 million reports of child abuse are filed against men each year, most of which are false accusations used as leverage in a divorce or custody case. Source: Statistics validated and verified by: Murray Straus, a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire and Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island and author of Intimate Violence and other studies, also validated the statistics used by matching it to previous research.

Researchers in Michigan determined that "49 percent of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers." Source: Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay, "A Study of Child Abuse in Lansing, Michigan," Child Abuse and Neglect, 8 (1984).

A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend. Source: Beverly Gomes-Schwartz, Jonathan Horowitz, and Albert P. Cardarelli, "Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Treatment," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency prevention.

Perpetrators: Most States define perpetrators of child abuse or neglect as a parent or other caretaker, such as a relative, babysitter, or foster parent, who has maltreated a child. Fifty-nine percent of perpetrators were women and 41 percent were men. The median age of female perpetrators was 31 years; the median age of male perpetrators was 34 years. More than 80 percent of victims (84 percent) were abused by a parent or parents. Almost half of child victims (41 percent) were maltreated by just their mother, and one-fifth of victims (19 percent) were maltreated by both their mother and father.
http://www.nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm http://www.preventchildabusewi.org/perpetrators.htm

Child Abuse Perpetrators

• There is no ''typical'' child abuser.
* May be male or female -Data from 21 states indicate that 61.8% of perpetrators were female.
* The majority of instances of child abuse are committed by someone who knows the child.
* In 87.3% of cases at least one parent was identified as the perpetrator. In 17.7% of cases both parents were identified as perpetrators.
* Mothers acting alone were most often identified as perpetrators of neglect and physical abuse.
* Fathers acting alone were identified as perpetrators of sexual abuse at the highest percentage.
* Together, substitute care providers and family relatives were only identified as 5.4% of cases.
* May be young or old-In 1999 the highest percent of perpetrators fell between the ages of 30-39.
* May be of any ethnicity or nationality.
* May be a former victim of abuse or neglect.
(Statistics from National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems, 1999)

NSPCC report shows that fathers are 'less violent' than mothers in their disciplining of children.'Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom', published in November 2000 by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)


Child Maltreatment 1999 Reports From the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children's Bureau
Table 3-2: Perpetrator Relationship to Victim, 1999 DCDC
Relationship to Victim Number Percentage

Female Parent Only 145,028 44.7%
Male Parent Only 51,752 15.9%
Both Parents 57,320 17.7%
Female Parent and Other 25,703 7.9%
Male Parent and Other 3,544 1.1%

One of the greatest weaknesses of the Green paper is that essentially the same civil servants and female anti-father and anti-family vested interest organisations which regularly exclude fathers and the wider family, who are putting forward policies that are totally unworkable and responsible for the destruction of the family as the base of a civilised society.

An example of this is CAFCASS with its poorly trained personnel who are expected to be child psychologists, medical paediatric specialists, social workers, psychoanalysts, legally trained persons, and court officer. Who investigates abuses, policies and procedure by CAFCASS which transpires little or no confidence from the families themselves?

Another fact that the Green paper does not take into account is that such schemes as proposed have been tried and tested in other Anglophone countries without much success. Indeed, there is furore over the way the family is treated after separation and divorce throughout the western industrialised world.

The decline in proper and meaningful research has been on the increase for some years now. Another example is that given the vast difference in prognosis of family by type i.e. co-habitating or married when referring to anti-social
behaviour, domestic violence or child abuse, the Government extended the bias in the statistics by stating for the 2001 census that " a lone parent was allowed to be classified as married if she denoted her status as married or remarried but had no spouse or partner." 'Population Trends' (Spring 2004 Ed, page 66)

If the Government is serious and honestly wishes to promote healthy family harmony and strengthen the family unit, the role of the father has to be strengthened and not weakened and the nuclear biological family restored for all children in the interests of all children and wider society.

The Government must institute the following:

1. There must be an independent body to oversee CAFCASS with no vested interests and properly and impartially knowledgeable on matters related to children’s health and safety.

2. All CAFCASS reports must be electronically taped by both parties in order to avoid any accusation of biasness.

3. Any allegations made of physical or sexual abuse by either party must be substantiated not only by the alleging parent but also by other statutory body. Note the present reporting system does not have provisions for female abusers of their partners/ children and in the cases that we have been involved, where raised, this has been laughed at.

4. Both warring factions must be made to understand that deliberate attempts to deny contact will be met with a strong reaction. Note: At the moment any factual allegation of abuse and/ or violence by mothers are ignored by social services, CAFCASS and/or the Police resulting in tragedies for the children.

5. The assumption is that mother’s make better parents must be banned and judges who sit in family cases must have a proven record of their participation in family life i.e. bringing up children themselves. There is abundant serious research that Domestic violence is not a gender issue as currently portrayed and that both the biological mother and the stepfather are greater risks to children than the biological father.

6. At the present moment the concept of parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is totally ignored and it is amusing when judges make such statements as the mother is ‘deceitful’, ‘cunning’, ‘dishonest’ etc in denying the father access yet deny the existence of PAS.

7. A no-fault complaints procedure for all bodies related to the health and safety of children so that mistakes may be rectified without fear of litigation at the earliest opportunity. This would allow lessons to be learned and procedures amended to prevent harm from befalling any children who are the most vulnerable in our society.

8. Professionals who abuse the trust and integrity of the family and/ or children must be removed from working in a position where they can influence outcomes for other children and the matter rectified at the earliest opportunity.

Dated 29th July 2004

Families Link International. FLINT http://www.familieslink.co.uk

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