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January 25, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

Continued from Monday.

Last time we learned that British family court judges are now to be “guided” by a new rule imposed by senior judges, specifically, Justices Cobb and Munby (The Guardian, 1/20/17). That rule will prohibit contact between parents and children when the parent is alleged to have committed either domestic violence against a spouse or abuse against the child. What happens if both parents allege DV or child abuse, neither the Guardian article nor the new “guidance” says.

The “crisis” that led to the new rule is the revelation that, over a 10-year period, 19 children were killed by their non-custodial fathers. As I said on Monday, that’s out of a total of about 1 million children of divorce during the same time. Needless to say Women’s Aid that pushed for the rule is silent on how many children were killed by their mothers during the same time. If the U.K. is like the United States, the number is about 2 ½ times that of children killed by fathers.

But of course neither the judges nor the Guardian nor Women’s Aid has a word to say about such an inconvenient truth.

So what type of domestic violence can be alleged to deprive a child of its father for all time?

“Family court judges should be sure that they understand the new offence of coercion [controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship],” [Mr. Justice Cobb] said.

As we know, “controlling or coercive behavior” covers a multitude of sins. The domestic violence establishment long ago decreed that, for example, “financial abuse” is as much of a crime as is physical abuse. So a man who repeatedly asks his wife to spend less on shoes or to stop spending so much time with the crack addicts down the street isn’t a sensible husband who cares about his wife’s health and his family’s bank account. No, he’s a violent man.

As of now, he’s a violent man who must be turned out of his children’s lives.

Does Justice Cobb or The Guardian mention that “women are more likely than men to be aggressive and controlling towards their partner, according to a study” conducted by Professor Elizabeth Bates of the University of Cumbria (The Telegraph, 6/26/14)? They do not. After all, Women’s Aid has convinced senior judges that domestic violence and child abuse are acts done by men to women and children. So the idea that women are more controlling, like the idea that women are more dangerous to children, goes unmentioned.

But the new rules governing judicial behavior in family courts don’t stop there. No, indeed. Justice Cobb went on:

“By this report, … I hope that positive steps can now be taken to address in the family court the problem, long since addressed in the criminal court, of the alleged victims of domestic abuse being directly questioned by their unrepresented alleged abusers.”…

The Ministry of Justice has indicated – following the articles in the Guardian and questions in parliament – that it is going to change the law to enforce a ban on direct cross-examination.

So, in the near future, a man whose wife claims him to be an abuser, will have no right to question her on the matter in court. Consider that yet another blow to due process of law delivered by the domestic violence industry and eagerly seconded by male-dominated legislatures and courts.

Now, Justice Cobb’s quotation likens the situation in family courts to that in criminal courts. To say the least, that’s a false comparison. Why? Because defendants charged with criminal conduct by the state usually have a right to an attorney. So in criminal courts, the prohibition on the defendant cross-examining his accuser isn’t much of a problem because he has his lawyer to do it for him.

But in family court, no one has a right to an attorney and, as is well known, the great majority of fathers in family courts don’t have one. That’s usually because they can’t afford the fees and, since there’s no right to an attorney, one won’t be provided to poor fathers by the state. So what Justice Cobb presents as just an extension of a criminal court rule to family courts is in reality anything but.

Taken together, the two new rules constitute a slam-dunk winner for any mother who finds the presence of Dad in his children’s lives unappealing. (Recall that the British counselling group Relate found that “One in three separated mothers think their children’s fathers should have no say in their upbringing…” (Daily Mail, 1/7/14).) First, all it will take is an allegation on her part to get him kicked to the curb and, if he wishes to demonstrate his innocence, he’ll find he can’t. If he can’t afford a lawyer, he’ll have to sit silently while the woman who wants to take his kids testifies to anything she wishes, safe from any cross-questioning by him.

Finally, I must mention the entirely scurrilous “reporting” on this development by The Guardian. In an 800-word article, reporter Sandra Laville never managed to quote a single person who questioned the new rules. She didn’t pick up the phone and talk to a fathers’ rights advocate, a children’s rights advocate or a lawyer who might have had an opinion on the outrageous diminution of due process of law based on an entirely trumped-up “crisis.” Her enthusiasm for that blow to a hard-won legal right Laville makes no effort to disguise. What else can we conclude from her patent violation of the most basic rule of journalism – get both sides of a story?

If Laville’s article is any indication, it’s no surprise that Guardian readership has plummeted 46 % in just six years. That leaves its circulation next to the bottom of all British national dailies. Maybe the British don’t have much tolerance for The Guardian’s invariable misandry.

 

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National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

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#domesticviolence, #dueprocessoflaw, #childabuse, #fathers'rights

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