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Did Child Support Enforcement Help Drive this Innocent Father to His Death?
Those who suffer from child support enforcement's abuses and errors lead difficult and stressful lives. Sadly, child support enforcement abuses may have contributed to the recent heart attack and death of an English father. All in the best interests of his child, of course. From the Equal Parenting Alliance: EPA Soldier dies in war on fathers Sunday 9th December 2007 Last Thursday, 9th December, 36 year-old veteran soldier Lee Wilkins died while out running. He survived action in Northern Ireland, but those who knew him well believe it was the battles he had with Family Courts and the Child Support Agency which killed him. His son lived with him, and in these circumstances, one wonders why the CSA were hounding him to pay them £650, instead of paying money to him. Lee could not understand this either, and we saw the increasing stress which this alleged debt, and the threat of bailiffs caused him. Now that he has died, the CSA will be able to access the money from his estate, under draconian regulations proposed this year to pursue dead fathers beyond the grave. Earlier this year, Lee asked the Equal Parenting Alliance to post this mini-biography of him and his fight with the CSA. Sadly, it was a fight which led was to lead to his death - a soldier who fought bravely for his country and survived, but could not survive this country's war on fathers. His son, whom he always wished should not be named in publicity, now has to face a future without him. CSA Incompetence Harms Children 22nd March 2007 Sometimes it takes a single story to illustrate the flaws in a system. Lee Wilkins is a veteran soldier who lives with his 9 year-old son in Coventry. He obtained a degree in photography after leaving the army, and many of his impressive pictures have been exhibited in the Imperial War Museum. He hopes one day to work as a photographer in war-zones and the like, but for now, he is happy to just be a dad to his boy. Although separated, Lee and his ex-partner have supported their son financially without involving the Child Support Agency for many years now, and so it came as a bolt from the blue when Lee received a demand for £650 from the CSA, followed by the threat of bailiffs if he did not pay up. " I couldn't understand it," said Lee. "My boy lives with me nearly all the time now, and the money they wanted from me wasn't for his mum, anyway. They were going to keep it themselves! I thought the CSA were supposed to give money to parents who are looking after children, not take it off them." The CSA claimed the money had been owed to them for nearly 7 years. Lee obtained copies of CSA documents, under his data protection entitlement, and discovered that in 2000, the CSA had indeed gone through a process of assessing this amount as payable, but there was no record of them ever telling him about it, or asking him for payment! What is more, after 6 years, the CSA had lost any legal entitlement to pursue a claim against him. "I am a proud man, and I refuse to claim Income Support, so we live on what I can earn from my photography," said Lee. "I try not to be a burden on the state, and this is the thanks I get - taking away what little we have! I was getting phone calls 3 times a day from a debt collection agency, threatening all sorts if I didn't pay up. They were aggressive and arrogant. My lad overheard some of these phone calls, and he is still worried that people are going to force their way into our home and take all his things away." George Orwell predicted many things: by 1984 government agencies would have developed into the very opposite of their intended purpose: a Ministry of Truth which was responsible for creating lies and propaganda; a Ministry of Love, responsible for torture. Now, in 2007 we have a child fearing his home will be broken into and plundered by a government body called the Child Support Agency. It seems it was only the year that Orwell got wrong. [Also, see Shock at death of Coventry dad lee, 35 (ic Coventry, UK, 12/14/07)--GS].