Friday, December 03, 2004

Fathers 4 Injustice?

The other night I watch Fiona Bruce's "Real Story" about Fathers 4 Justice. She's not one to shy away from challenging issues and I was particulary interested in two statistics:

1) 99.2% of court applications for access are granted. Is it possible that the remaining less-than-one-percent of fathers who apply are actually not fit to be left in charge of children? Remember that if the mother grants access anyway there will be no need for a court order, only those where the mother is unhappy go to court. If the access order isn't observed, the father should have a good case for applying for full-time custody. ...but the pyjama-wearing protestors don't seem to want to take on the hard work part of child-raising.

2) Compare that to 25% of women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Now of course it depends how many times we keep on letting these guys come out of prison (if we even send them there in the first place) and beat someone else up as to what percentage of men we have to assume are inclined to violence against women. Even a conservative estimate would suggest 2-3% however.

And F4J are claiming that Ms Bruce is biased because she knows someone who was a victim of domestic violence. ONE IN FOUR women are. Surely she would be more biased if she didn't know a victim of domestic violence, most people do. I do, I know several.

And, yeah, sure, so people can reform, and become fit fathers again. It's possible. But shouldn't the law assume that violent men aren't fit to be left alone with kids and then let them come to court to prove that they are? Rather than handing over the kids and seeing what happens in the meantime while their mothers are trying to build a case against them?

The guardian had this excellent article on the situation a month or so back.

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