We haven’t posted any blogs for just over a month but we haven’t been idle. We have launched ourselves into podcasting which has taken us away from the written word. It’s been a fascinating experience to interview the key figures who are active in trying to improve the family court. Here are the tremendous interviews we have published so far:
Dismantling The Ministry of Justice Report: Terry White
This 30 minute interview is a must for anyone involved in private family law cases, including parents, older children, lawyers, CAFCASS, the judiciary and social services. Terry White has extensive experience of analysing reports written with the intention to deceive by corrupt regimes all over the world, for example those prepared by Russian oligarchs or African despots. The Ministry of Justice Report ‘Assessing the Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children’s Cases’ bears all the hallmarks of these reports. Terry has applied for Judicial Review to challenge the process followed by the MoJ. The review, if allowed, will be heard in about a year’s time. Terry dissects the report to show how it fails to be a trustworthy or reliable description of the experiences of those in the family court and why it is not a scientifically based, statistically sound analysis deserving of respect or credibility. This is another missed opportunity for children.
Stop Harassment and Stalking Online: Rory Innes
Rory Innes, CEO and Founder of The Cyber Helpline (https://www.thecyberhelpline.com/gethelp), describes their service and how they offer help, free, to anyone suffering online harassment, abuse or stalking. Many of their clients are in conflict with their ex and are in private family proceedings in the family court. The experience is frightening and stressful but help is available and simple steps can bring it to an end.
False Allegations in the Family Court: Melissa Isaak
OK, we didn’t actually interview Melissa but we did get permission from Duane to use this great video. Melissa Isaak is an attorney from Alabama who specialises in representing men in the family court. She has a wonderfully direct approach to false allegations and, unlike lawyers in the UK, is willing to speak openly and frankly about her experience, her views and the advice she gives her clients. Duane Robert, who does a regular podcast, ‘Dad Surviving Divorce’ (https://www.youtube.com/c/DadSurvivingDivorce/featured) originally interviewed Melissa. We have edited it down to 8 minutes of pure gold – completely relevant to British parents of either sex who may be facing false allegations. We suggest listening to Melissa’s comments several times so that you can note and learn from all the advice she is giving. You can see Duane’s full interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHpQ4XH_Dzc&t=2555s
The DAPPs Don’t Work: David Eggins and Denise Knowles
CAFCASS is sending men on domestic abuse treatment programmes that don’t work, wasting time, money and betraying both perpetrators and victims. David Eggins and Denise Knowles, of Temper Domestic Violence (temper.me.uk) are very experienced providers of Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes (DAPPs). Their small group DAPPs have a number of important features which maximise their therapeutic effectiveness, such as a small (up to 8) and fixed number of participants, techniques to promote trust and openness and a focus on the background and personal issues of the participants. They have studied the DAPPs which are used by CAFCASS and which are the only ones approved for fathers (never for mothers) in the family courts. They have found a massive, 70% (nearly three quarters) dropout rate. Of those who don’t dropout, a substantial number still fail. The participants who dropout are more severe cases than those who complete the programmes. They explain what the problems are with the CAFCASS approved DAPPs. These include: The groups being too large (sometimes 12); allowing new participants to join the groups mid-programme, therefore undermining cohesion and trusts; basing the programme on the wrong assumption that all domestic violence is driven by patriarchal assumptions of entitlement by men; using a critical and blaming approach; failing to develop a therapeutic alliance between participants and those running the group. There are so many gross inadequacies in the CAFCASS approved DAPPs and such a high failure rate that it is a terrible waste of resources and of no significant benefit to either perpetrators or to their past or future victims.
Abuse and Loneliness of Separated Men: Rick Bradford
Here is actual evidence of what is happening to men, to counter the myths of the patriarchy. Rick Bradford, of Both Parents Matter Cymru, has surveyed their membership and gathered a unique database of insights into the problems men face after separation from partners and children. Carefully gathered data their large membership shows worryingly high levels of loneliness, depression and suicidal thinking among men. The data also reveals high levels of abuse by women perpetrators, often abuse that the male victims have not previously recognised as such. The validity of these self reports is supported by the use of standardised questionnaires and the consistency of their responses to different questions.
Male Victims of Female Coercive Control: Deborah Powney
Deborah Powney has been studying the experiences of men who are victims of women exerting coercive control over them. In this podcast, we start with a short video, made by Deborah, which gives personal stories from men who have been victims of abuse by women. Listen to Deborah’s description of her research which has confirmed that domestic abuse is perpetrated more or less as frequently (although typically with less physical force) by women on men as by men on women. This is well known to those helping victims on the front line but there is widespread resistance to accepting this reality among those at senior levels in domestic abuse charities and activist groups. These influential organisations insist that there is only one cause for domestic abuse, which is men’s patriarchal assumption of their right to control women. Deborah explains the significance and tragic consequences of this mistaken ideology.