Custody battles have sadly always been a case of winner-takes-all with one partner – usually the mother – getting the biggest prize of all, the children.
And, of course, it all basically makes sense – a child needs its mother and the mother needs to be secure to bring up her off-spring comfortably and safely.
But the sad fact is that children need their fathers too and shocking figures reveal that up to 75,000 children every year in the UK alone could become the victims – and the innocent guided missiles – of Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is talked about so little that people across the UK were shocked last year when a High Court judge ordered that a 10 year-old girl should be removed from her mother’s care and allowed to live with her father instead.
Mrs Justice Parker said that the mother’s conduct was harmful to the child and made the point she had been manipulated into believing that her father did not want her.
Things had become so bad in the relationship between father and daughter that the girl was likely to be resistant to being reunited without interim measures. Those measures meant putting her in care…
Despite this draconian measure the case was seen as a breakthrough by men’s and fathers’ groups across the country.
Andrew Teague of Dad’s.Against.Double.Standards, said: “We see lots of cases like this and yet Parental Alienation receives very little attention.”
In Psychology Today, Edward Kruk wrote that 11-15% of the children of divorcing parents suffer the effects of ‘implacable hostility’. In the UK, where roughly 250,000 divorces are granted every year, that estimate would equate to 50,000-75,000 children every year.
According to a recent YouGov poll 95 per cent of us agree that both parents should share responsibility for bringing up children and 85 per cent agree that fathers are instrumental in bringing up children.
That consensus has been reflected in recent amendments to the Children and Families Act 2014 which now require courts making child arrangement orders “to presume that the involvement of both separating parents in the life of a child will further its welfare”.
However, no legislation can outlaw the insidious undermining of the other parent by vicious remarks or the exaggeration of fears?
The courts are often confronted with an impossible dilemma where young children voice a determined preference not to see or be involved with a parent.
The Consumer Watch Foundation is focusing on families and the use of children as weapons.
Andrew, from Swansea, says he is going through ‘hell’ trying to maintain contact with his daughter. He pays for to an appointed ‘babysitter’ so that he can spend two hours at the weekends with her. It costs him £80 a time.
Revealingly, within months of Andrew starting D.A.D.S. it has almost 12000 members, mostly men who are battling against all the odds to keep in touch with their children.
Sadly though, this type of comment appears on a daily basis on the site highlighting the real despair parents without custody go through:
“Drunk and giving up on life, no point anymore, never gonna see my daughter grow up into the woman she’ll become…”
“Night all hope the drink and my meds work and I don’t wake up …”
“GOD finding it really hard to put the Christmas tree up my heart is just not in it this year…”
Andrew said: “In my life I thought I had gone through everything. When I was five I was hit by a car and lost my spleen. Then at 13 I was assaulted in care.
“But my god, nothing on earth ever prepared me for this massive fight for the children of Britain and the world. We will walk proud for the children of Britain and the rest of the world.”
The D.A.D.S. campaign is already spreading with people across the UK taking part in Shirt off my Back protest involving names being written onto a man’s shirt during daylight vigils and then being left for the court.
“We’re making our point in a non-confrontational way… we need the courts to stand up and take notice,” Andrew said.
The next events are 31 January Port Talbot at 12pm, 21 February Swansea 12pm, 21 March Bristol12pm. More events to be announced.
The Consumer Watch Foundation is committed to helping people put things right by publicising the problems they face in life … if you are the victim of parental alienation tell us you story at the end of this article or contact us email@example.com