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Top 10 RESEARCH Myths about Shared Parenting in Australia

UK member of forum

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/06/government-backs-shared-parenting-legislation

All,

In the UK the Norgrove Report decided that children have NO RIGHT to see their fathers. Because of public pressure the government have been forced to rethink this policy and released the following statement yesterday which cites the Australian experience as showing that SHARED PARENTING does NOT necessarily work. I realise that the 10 MYTHS about shared parenting appears in the introduction to the forum but wondered if anybody had anything else they wanted to add to help us in the UK?

I particularly wanted to hear of any RESEARCH myths.


kip

PS I appeared on Dads on Air yesterday and I am afraid I wasn't very good, to put it politely!


Family Justice Review - Government Response - Monday, 6 February 2012

(Received from the Ministry of Justice).

Today the Government has announced that children and families in England and Wales will benefit from major reforms to the family justice system which will tackle delays, streamline processes and rebuild trust.

In response to the recommendations made by the independent Family Justice Review Panel, Ministers have outlined their plans to reform the system to help strengthen parenting, reduce the time it takes cases to progress through the courts, and simplify the family justice system.

The major reforms are outlined below:

Shared parenting for the best interests of the child:

  • The changes in education and the introduction of parenting agreements which the Review recommended will help ensure better recognition of the joint role of parents within wider society. 
  • The Government also accepts the need to clarify and restore public confidence that the courts recognise the joint nature of parenting.  We will therefore make a legislative statement emphasising the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both their parents after family separation, where that is safe, and in the child's best interests.  The Government is mindful of the lessons which must be learnt from the Australian experience of legislating in this area, which were highlighted by the Review and led them to urge caution.  We will therefore consider very carefully how legislation can be framed to ensure that a meaningful relationship is not about equal division of time, but the quality of parenting received by the child. 
Speeding up care and adoption cases by reforming the Public Law System and increasing transparency.  The Government has already begun to publish data on the timeliness of court cases so we can see where delays are occurring.  We will introduce legislation at the earliest opportunity to enable a six month time limit to be set and wherever possible we expect cases to be completed more quickly, while retaining the flexibility to extend complex cases where this is genuinely in the childs interest.

Simplifying the family justice system to help separating couples reach lasting agreement speedily, if possible without going to court. The Government will make it mandatory for separating parents who propose court action to resolve a dispute about their child to have an initial assessment to see if mediation is something which would be suitable instead, to help them agree on the arrangements for their child.  We estimate that we will spend an extra  10m a year on legal aid for family mediation taking the total to 25m per year (although we have placed no upper limit on this figure).  We will also examine how to give the Courts more robust enforcement tools to combat failure to comply with judgments.

Driving culture change and better cross-system working through the establishment of a new Family Justice Board, accountable to Ministers, made up of senior figures representing the key organisations who play a role within the system and who will have a clear remit to improve performance.

Other key commitments in the Governments response are:

  • To consider how Parenting Agreements could be used to emphasise the need for parents to consider how the child can maintain a relationship with other close family members, such as grandparents.
  • To reduce expense and delay caused by the excessive use of expert reports, strengthening their quality and ensuring only essential reports are commissioned
  • To reduce the amount of time spent by Judges and Courts scrutinising care plans, focusing instead on the core or essential components when making care orders.
  • To bring court social work closer to other court services by transferring Cafcass sponsorship to the Ministry of Justice;
  • To create a single family court across England and Wales, with a single point of entry, to simplify the system and make it more accessible for families using the system.
The full Government response can be accessed here;-



http://www.justice.gov...stice-review-response.htm

Top 10 Myths about Shared Parenting in Australia

13 June 2010
http://www.articlesaboutmen.com/

Top 10 myths about Shared Parenting (Child Custody laws) in Australia
By Sonja Hastings


Since the introduction of Australias ground breaking Shared Parenting (child custody) laws in 2006, there has been a decidedly deceptive campaign by some to mis-represent these laws as being something that they are clearly not. Following is a list of 10 MYTHS about Shared Parenting in Australia that have been commonly peddled as truths by these parties, but are shown to be nothing other than distortions, falsehoods or outright lies.

1. Children are forced into equal time arrangements by Australias Shared Parenting legislation

NOT TRUE. There is nothing mandatory about Australias Shared Parental Responsibility legislation (Shared Parenting laws). If anything, it has been described as a soft alternative to what was originally preferred by the majority in Parliament in 2006, being a rebuttable presumption of equal time parenting, which itself is not mandatory and is determined primarily on whether such an arrangement can be safe, practical and in the childs best interest.

Since the introduction of these laws, there has been a decidedly deceptive campaign by some journalists and single mothers groups to mis-represent these laws as being inflexible and mandatory in nature, and as a result forcing Judges to place children into unsafe or impractical parenting arrangements. Terminology such as mandatory and forced with have often been used in newspaper headlines or opinion pieces to portray these laws in a manner that is quite unequivocally untrue.

The Family Courts Shared Parental Responsibility Outcomes report underscores the fact that there is nothing mandatory about these laws, where the majority of court outcomes since the introduction of these laws still result in the child residing almost exclusively with the mother.

If these laws were mandatory in any shape or form, one would have expected that close to 100% of court outcomes would have resulted in equal parenting time arrangements, however as evidenced by the Courts own figures, the figure is significantly less at only 15% of outcomes.

So someone has been fudging the truth to quite a significant degree, and this should be an important point to remember when reading commentary on this debate. Given that some womens groups have described Australias Shared Parenting laws as another form of domestic violence against women, this debate is clearly about something more than what is best for our children, in the eyes of some groups at least. As a result, the misrepresentation of facts, the gender specific vitriol and in some cases the desperate attempt to associate Shared Parenting with Paedophilia, have been unparalleled in this country, even for an issue that is so typically vexed and controversial as family law.


2. The risk of Child abuse increases for a child in a Shared Parenting arrangement.

NOT TRUE. Children in Shared Parenting arrangements have the lowest recorded incidence of Child Abuse in Australia, even lower than that of intact families. Conversely, children in Sole Custody arrangements have the highest risk of Child Abuse in Australia. It should be noted that over 70% of all familial Child Abuse occur in single mother households, 1, 2, 3.

Some have highlighted the child-protective dynamics inherent in Shared Parenting arrangements as being similar to that already recognised in extended family structures. It has been argued that the broader nature of parental responsibility in Shared Parenting arrangements facilitates a natural transparency of care, given that the child is in frequent contact with both parents and the respective extended families.

This ongoing transparency of care optimises the safety and welfare of the children involved, by reducing the possibility of abuse occurring without one of the parents detecting it at an early stage.

These natural checks and balances are unfortunately less prominent (and in many cases non-existent) in Sole Custody arrangements, providing for greater opportunities for child abuse to occur undetected and for greater periods of time, as reflected in the statistics on child abuse.


3. The 2006 Shared Parenting laws have resulted in greater risks of family violence for mothers and children.

NOT TRUE. To the parents involved, Shared Parenting arrangements are no different to two-day per-fortnight arrangements in terms of the mechanics of contact and change-overs. Shared Parenting does not in any way increase the time that separated parents need to spend with each other, nor need it involve any physical or proximate contact between the parents.

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms, a large scale government initiated study into the performance of these reforms, the study found that there was no link between the 2006 Shared Parenting amendments and any increased risk of domestic violence or assault against women and children.

In fact it has been argued that these laws have to a great extent taken the heat out of the most vexed issue in separation, namely that of a childs residence, precisely because of the more balanced and child-centric approach to such determinations.


4. Shared Parenting reduces Child Support commitments, which is why many fathers seek Shared Parenting arrangements.

NOT TRUE. Such comments underlie an element of gender arrogance in suggesting that only mothers can love their children enough to want to spend time with them. To be further made by people purporting to be feminists is beyond belief.

Nonetheless, the allegation is often made and is completely eroneous because Shared Parenting arrangements are typically more expensive for the average father than a non-custodial parenting arrangement.

Shared Parenting involves a duplication of investments, including new bedroom/s, new wardrobe of clothing, computers, furniture, toys and many other expenses, involving substantial capital costs.

Shared Parenting also shifts a greater proportion of the day to day costs to the fathers.

Many fathers in Shared Parenting arrangements have also reported a reduction in their overall working hours to accommodate their Shared Parenting arrangement, thus reducing their income.

The overall impact is that Shared Parenting arrangements provide for greater financial investment in the support of their children by fathers, as well as greater emotional, psychological and other forms of support.

The child/ren as a result get more overall support from their fathers, not less.

Single mothers on the other hand do receive less direct financial support from the respective fathers with Shared Parenting arrangements, which may go some way in explaining the worldwide campaigns by single mothers groups against Shared Parenting initiatives.


5. Children in Shared Parenting arrangements live a Ping-Pong lifestyle.

NOT TRUE. Shared Parenting arrangements are no different to two-day per-fortnight arrangements in terms of the frequency of change-overs. Children in Shared Parenting arrangements typically change-over their residence twice a fortnight. Children seeing their father only two days a fortnight also change-over their residence twice a fortnight.

The frequency of change-overs is IDENTICAL in both cases.


6. The 2006 Shared Parenting Family Law amendments are a one-size fits all arrangement.

NOT TRUE. The 2006 Shared Parenting laws allow for a broad range of parenting arrangements, from no contact at all up to 7 days per fortnight with each parent, and everything in between. As evidenced by the Family Courts Shared Parental Responsibility Outcomes report, there is nothing one Size about these new laws, which explains why the report was so difficult to compile in the first place.

Conversely, the pre-2006 Sole Custody laws mandated an outcome which was almost universally a one size fits all arrangement, that being Sole Custody to the mother and visitation to the father for two days per fortnight. This standardised arrangement was the fixed outcome in up to 90% of all child custody Court outcomes prior to 2006.

So lets be clear here, the pre-2006 Sole Custody laws were the entrenched, inflexible one size fits all arrangement, whereas the 2006 Shared Parenting amendments opened the gates to a broad range of outcomes, all depending on the unique circumstances of each case.


7. The Family Law Pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, and now the system favours fathers.

NOT TRUE. The chances of a father getting any type of meaningful parenting arrangement is still a minority outcome in the Family Courts.

Only 15% of Court outcomes result in an equal time arrangement, whereas only 14% result in some form of minority shared care arrangement. For a large number of Court outcomes however the result is still little or no contact for the father.

These outcomes in no way support the myth that family laws in Australia favour fathers, indeed it only re-enforces the significant cultural bias that fathers continue to face across the complete spectrum of family, child and domestic regulations in this country.

The sad truth is that many of the institutions that have been set up to protect childrens interests in this country are driven by politicised mores aimed at promoting the welfare of women almost exclusively, relegating the often very real needs of both men and children. It is precisely because of this cultural abhoration that new laws have been required.

It should be emphasised that the danger of not playing the role of impartial adjudicator, of not assessing the facts on their merits, cannot be justified, as some do, as a re-balancing effort, as a minor inconvenience against men to bring equality back into the equation.

This practice is unethical and immoral, and costs lives, the innocent lives of many men and many children, lives that could have and should have been saved.

As sadly witnessed by the Dean Shillingsworth murder (boy in the suitcase), unquestionable signs of imminent danger were completely ignored by Child Protective Services for ideological, gender based reasons.

In this instance the child was placed back into sole care with his mother, despite the mother threatening to kill the child, and despite warnings from the family. The child as a result was murdered by his mother.

According to the NSW Ombudsman report into this murder, he lamented that the child protection authorities were more concerned about the welfare of the mother than her children. He complained that because their focus was on the mother they lost sight of the risk issues for the children.

The government in this instance apologised unreservedly to the family for the errors that brought about the murder of this innocent 4 year old child, but unfortunately this cultural under-pinning still pervades the system, at every level.

The sad truth is that the inherent bias in support of women by the System, at the expense of men and children, is just as pervasive as ever, despite the 2006 legislated family law reforms.


8. Australias Shared Parenting laws disadvantage Single Mothers

NOT TRUE. Australias Shared Parenting laws are progressive laws that provide greater independence, support and employment opportunities to all parents after separation, in equal measure, regardless of gender.

Parenting is a very demanding and onerous role. Single parenting is all the more difficult when all responsibilities revolve around one person. Single mothers in general forgo employment and other opportunities in order to satisfy their sole parenting responsibilities.

Shared Parenting provides a balanced approach to the workload of parenting, providing each parent a regular opportunity to periodically focus on their needs, whether that be employment, education, friendship or relaxation. It is also a progressive development that will empower women to become more than just mothers, and provide women an opportunity to fully engage in the work force to the same extent as men.

It may be a valuable suggestion to those people protesting for equal pay for women in Australia, to take a stronger look at womens groups themselves as the culprits denying women the opportunity to fully engage in the workforce to the extent that men. If women genuinely want the same employment opportunities and rewards as men, then they should be embracing Shared Parenting laws, not bitterly opposing them. Anything less than this is shear hypocrisy.

One should always remember that Shared Parenting is an extension of the original but now days forgotten feminist mantra that both men and women are equal, and their role in society should not be defined by their gender.

It is of course one of the great ironies that feminist organisations have become one of the most relentless forces against Shared Parenting initiatives across the globe.


9. Australias Shared Parenting laws focus on Parental Rights and not on the best interests of the Child

NOT TRUE. The 2006 Shared Parenting amendments are about protecting a childs natural right to a meaningful relationship with both parents.

The previous laws have created a generation of fatherlessness in Australia that is widely accepted as being of significant disadvantage to the welfare of children.

The legislation in this regard makes absolutely no reference to parental rights, but conversely does highlight the paramount consideration of the law to be the childs best interests.

For a shared or equal parenting time arrangement to be ordered, the Court must first consider whether such an arrangement would be in the best interests of the child, and whether such an arrangement is reasonably practicable. In all cases the Court is required to regard the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration.

This is how the LAW is stated, so clearly those people saying otherwise either have not read the law, have not sat through a family court proceeding, or are simply grasping at straws to condemn a system that they oppose for reasons other than what they are willing to say publicly.


10. The Australian public does not support Shared Parenting

NOT TRUE. Shared Parenting laws in Australia have been and continue to be overwhelmingly supported by the public, as evidenced by repeated surveys, polls and government initiated studies.

In fact if the publics view was to be taken into full account, Australias Shared Parenting laws would be strengthened to include a legislated presumption of shared care.

As it stands, on average between 70% to 90% of Australians have consistently provided unwavering support for shared parenting laws in this country, and only a vocal minority with vested interests, including lawyers, feminists and single mothers groups and have opposed such laws.

Sonja Hastings is a guest writer exclusively for Articles about men
13 June 2010

Last edit: by Kip


Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
Kip, who and what is Sonja Hastings?

My research shows her as some anonymous person who posted something on Fathers4Equality and she is potentially from Canada?

 I am involved in a court case where my ex wants to relocate and as such it will impact my own time with my daughter significantly. I am grabbing at any straw now to get expert opinions regarding shared parenting and equal time.
http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/fle/index.html

Report commissioned by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Some very mixed messages in the report with regards to actual care. It appears that what people say they support and what they actually agree to do is somewhat different. If we can assume that only 5% of child custody "battles" end up in court, we can fairly safely assume that the population sampled for purposes of this report is then representative of the people who manages to agree on shared parenting and shared care.

Kip, this report is just in reference to the "10 Myths…." Personally I think Sonja Hastings was perhaps commissioned to write the article by parties with a vested interest. Surely the majority of sound minded people who find themselves in this situation are aware of the the real situation in Australia. On both sides of the fence - Father's Rights Groups and Mother's Rights Groups - are not representative of the majority of the population. I for one like to listen to both sides and sometimes I cannot but laugh at the arguments and the emotions behind the arguments. It is often blatantly obvious that someone has been done in, or feels that they have been done in, hence their arguments.

It is a very serious matter though and close to the heart of many people, that I cannot deny. No doubt many a battle will still be fought around the issue.

Stoog, Sonja Hastings appears to be a "journalist" and writes articles for Articles about Men (At the bottom of Kip's post). She does not appear to be an expert. Sorry bud.
Me_Dad said
If we can assume that only 5% of child custody "battles" end up in court, we can fairly safely assume that the population sampled for purposes of this report is then representative of the people who manages to agree on shared parenting and shared care.

I don't think you can make such an assumption at all. The 5% is those for whom the court makes a decision. The other 95%, I think, are for those who enter the court system but who then make a decision and opt(sic) out. Such a decision is very often made due to various reasons. Money may simply have run out. Scare tactics, such as false allegations, may have been used to coerce an otherwise unacceptable agreement. A party may see continuing the process as futile at a time when they are perhaps at one of their lowest points or are themselves unable to continue for various reasons. By no means it is an exhaustive list.

However, surely what you say about "managing to agree on shared parenting" confirms the first myth, that is unless you think that parents agreeing equates to the child or children being forced, which I believe has been put forward many times on this portal, as in fact a myth. That is that there is nothing that forces shared parenting (equal time) rather that the legislation requires only that consideration of shared parenting is undertaken if all of the reasons for not considering shared parenting are not met. If the argument is that person's making decisions on the child or children's behalf is forcing children (rather than forcing decisions which put children into shared parent situations) then I'd suggest that you'd then have to argue against any person making any decision or decisions on behalf the child or children, this latter being basically ridiculous (you'd have infants and babies having to decide for themselves when what to eat so as not be force decisions upon them).
Hi Mike, not disputing that it is a myth. Under no circumstances are people forced into shared arrangements…. The same goes for the other "myths".

What % of the 95% do you recon is coersed into agreements? Surely not all 95%?
Certainly not 95% as that is only one of the reasons given. I'm not sure how many but the accounts of coercion are frequent. I guess that one could even argue that virtually all situations that enter the court system have some form of coercion as it's basically an adversarial system. Not to say that those that don't enter the court system are intrinsically void of coercion but that they are less likely to include coercion due to the potentially less adversarial nature of reaching a solution outside of the court system.
In the community I live, my wife and have noticed a few families around us breakup in the last few years. In all cases the parents are sharing the care of the children without court involvement.

It would be interesting to know what percentage of breakups get their certificate to initiate court action, the percentage off breakups that actually file for final orders, and the percentage of cases that make it to trial.

The 5% you are referring to I think is 5% of FC cases only. If we consider the bigger picture and include the breakups that don't get to the FC, the 5% is not a significant representation of the majority.

I think it is very unfair if this small minority of cases end up influencing all pre court mediation or propsective case outcomes.
ALL,

I propose to try and approach this methodically. The Shared Parenting laws were indeed presented as a 'forced arrangement' 50 / 50.

Is Sonja, which is how I propose to address this 'virtual' contributor, correct in saying that there was a 'rebuttable presumption'? YES or NO?

Kip

1. Children are forced into equal time arrangements by Australia's Shared Parenting legislation

NOT TRUE. There is nothing mandatory about Australia's Shared Parental Responsibility legislation (Shared Parenting laws). If anything, it has been described as a soft alternative to what was originally preferred by the majority in Parliament in 2006, being a rebuttable presumption of equal time parenting, which itself is not mandatory and is determined primarily on whether such an arrangement can be safe, practical and in the childs best interest.

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
Kip,
     basically the law regarding shared care that was introduced in 2006 requires the following:


a) That parents first try to settle matters, including the level of care, through mediation (although really there is another recommended stage that parents work it out by themselves without entering the court system). You cannot, except in exceptional circumstances, not attempt mediation. Thus straight away this defeats any claim that shared parenting is forced as parents can work it out themselves. Subdivision E, sections 60I-60J inclusive covers this.

b) There is a rebuttable presumption of shared responsibility. Rebuttable if a parent or a person who lives with the parent has engaged in abuse of the child or another child who was at the time a member of the parent's family or that other person's family, or has engaged in family violence or when it would not be in the best interests of the child. However, shared responsibility is very clearly stated as not being shared care. It is about making decisions for the child. This is covered by section 61DA.

c) Then comes section 65DAA, the section is entitled "Court to consider child spending equal time or substantial and significant time with each parent in certain circumstances". Really you need go no further than the title, it clearly states that the court must only consider equal time (equal time = shared care = between 40-60%). To make such a consideration is has to be in the best interest of the child as per section 60CA. This then drops through to section 60CC, how a court determines what is in the child's best interest. The best interest has two primary considerations, the benefit to the child of a meaningful relationship (so no benefit = no shared care), the second covers the need to protect the child from harm (so a need to protect = no equal time). Then there are additional consideration which greatly increases the number of opportunities to say that it is not in the best interest of the child to have shared parenting.

Rather than shared parenting being forced, it is still a very steep hill to climb to get shared care or equal time when in the majority of cases it should be given. Note that this is based upon the legislation before the amendments that are or will be in place.

As such it is clear that any person saying that shared care/equal time is forced by the Australian law is not talking about the actual law in Australia and they are likely scaremongering. If they are an academic, professional or expert then they should have that status removed.

I think one of Sonja's failings is that she does not provide evidence of the use of this argument. i.e. Sonja should name and shame those who's object is to abuse children and destroy the lives of children for the sake of a very wayward ideology by the way of gross distortion of fact.

Note

It should be noted that the above is based upon the Family Law Act 1975, it is not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of the act in it's entirety, it (the above) is intended only to qualify the argument that Family Law in Australia does not force shared care (equal time).

  All,

Fascinating reply from MikeT which I think conclusively proves the first MYTH is TRUE. (Please feel free to disagree)

Second MYTH. Is it TRUE that;-
2. The risk of Child abuse increases for a child in a Shared Parenting arrangement. YES / NO (Please give the source for any statistics)

kip

NOTE; In the UK the Tender Years doctrine in family proceedings is also based on a REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION
as set in the precedent made by the former Master of the Rolls, Lord Donaldson, in 1992,

 
'At the risk of being told by academics hereafter that my views are contrary to well-established authority, I think that there is a rebuttable presumption of fact that the best interests of a baby are best served by being with its mother, and I stress the word 'baby'. When we are moving on to whatever age it may be appropriate to describe the baby as having become a child, different considerations may well apply. But as far as babies are concerned, the starting point is, I think, that it should be with its mother.'

 Although Lord Donaldson specified 'babies' the principle that children should be raised by their mothers can be applied at any age.



Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
Kip,
     this argument is very easily proven as the myth and scaremongering that it is.

Who abuses children? NCPC Resource Sheet, February 2011 said
However, research on perpetrators of child abuse and neglect is limited in Australia. To develop a better understanding of those who abuse children a large-scale prevalence study would be required.

As such, this is proof according to the AIFS that you simply cannot make anything other than a limited statement regarding who abuses children. As such it must be a myth. Secondly there is nothing in this resource sheet, that I found, that considers the type of level of care aspect.
Everybody,

Below is a quote from a prominent feminist researcher from todays UK paper - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/06/no-bias-against-fathers-childrens-act#start-of-comments

And now the government has rejected the recommendation, with ministers to formulate "a legislative statement of the importance of children having an ongoing relationship with both their parents after family separation, where that is safe, and in the child's best interests".In theory that sounds entirely sensible. However, we know from the Australian experience that this type of formulation makes it harder for courts to focus on the needs of an individual child rather than the rights of parents. The Norgrove review understood this. So why is the government not listening?

Can anybody add more to MikeT's contribution, please? It is such an important Myth.

kip

ALSO if you are interested in babies and toddlers you may like to listen to my interview for Dads on the Air (What a nice bunch!)

CRITIQUE OF JENNIFER MCINTOSHES GUIDELINES on INFANT CARE AND OVERNIGHT STAYS - 7 February 2012

DADS on THE AIR - INTERVIEW starts AFTER 7 mins 30 secs

 WEBPAGE - http://www.dadsontheair.com.au/shows/familists-v-feminists.html

 LISTEN TO INTERVIEW - http://www.dadsontheair.com.au/storage/shows/Dads_on_the_Air_2012-02-07.mp3 - INTERVIEW starts AFTER 7 mins 30 secs

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
MikeT said
I think one of Sonja's failings is that she does not provide evidence of the use of this argument. i.e. Sonja should name and shame those who's object is to abuse children and destroy the lives of children for the sake of a very wayward ideology by the way of gross distortion of fact.

I have found at least one person blatantly distorting the facts in a published paper. The culprit is Charles Pragnell, in the paper entitled "A CHARTER FOR CHILDRENS RIGHTS UNDER THE FAMILY LAW" He wrote"

Charles Pragnell - A CHARTER FOR CHILDRENS RIGHTS UNDER THE FAMILY LAW said
There are a number of presumptions in the law that the non-resident parent will have contact and a meaningful relationship with the child, or not, if the parent so chooses. There is also provision in the law that the residency of the child can be `Equally shared between the parents.

Such provisions are rebuttable if domestic violence or child abuse can be proven.Such provisions are rebuttable if domestic violence or child abuse can be proven.

This is not in fact the case. The fact is that the legislation very clearly states, as shown below, that only an unacceptable risk be found, a finding that is far easier to make as it very often puts the onus on the alleged to show without any doubt that the allegation is false.

In the case of allegations of sexual abuse, according to the study of over 200 of the nearly 1000 published judgements on AUSTLII at least 58% of the allegations are found false after what are relatively very extensive considerations and involvement often of many experts and professionals. That 58% being 58% of the total cases studied, which does not take into consideration the exclusion of cases that mention sexual abuse but have no allegation or where the allegation has not been made by the parent with primary care, thus the 58% is very much less than it should actually be. It would only be correct to suggest that if there is such a massive willingness to make false allegations of sexual abuse that there would be a greater willingness to make false allegations of domestic/family violence.

One would expect that any person writing a such a paper as the charter that Charles Pragnell wrote would actually consider and research such things if they had any concern for ethical reporting or writing. If such a person claims to be a supporter of the welfare of children then they would not write a paper that distorts what the legislation actually says in order to promote the harm of children, which would inevitably happen if one wiling to make such a false allegation were permitted to have anything other than supervised access to the child, as was made quite recently, where the child would suffer greater abuse when not having the abuse continue.

The Family Law Act 1975 (as was applicable when the charter was written) said
60CG  Court to consider risk of family violence
   (1)   In considering what order to make, the court must, to the extent that it is possible to do so consistently with the childs best interests being the paramount consideration, ensure that the order:
   (a)   is consistent with any family violence order; and
   (b)   does not expose a person to an unacceptable risk of family violence.
   (2)   For the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), the court may include in the order any safeguards that it considers necessary for the safety of those affected by the order.

Of course the legislation has now been changed to actually condone and reward false allegations. So Charles Pragnell will have what he appears to have been seeking, greater abuse of children and likely greater funds in his own pocket. I just hope that the UK doesn't go this way when and if it introduces new laws as without doubt children will needlessly suffer and in vast quantities. However, it could well be that such a move would free Australia from one who seems set on promoting the abuse of children through distortion of the facts, as the UK would then likely be a far more lucrative market.

Last edit: by MikeT

Re child abuse stats in Australia - didn't the SPCA back in 2008 request from all states and territories DOCS or DCPs departments information on abuse and that only WA DCP responded with information showing that children were most at risk of abuse from their mother?
Fairgo,
          I believe that you are correct, although I'm not sure that it was the SPCA that made the FOI request. There is a paper from Michael Woods, an academic from UWS, entitled "Dads not the Demons". Which shows that according to the data obtained from the WA DCP that:

Dads not the Demons said
Natural parents were responsible for 37% of total cases. Of these, mothers are identified as the perpetrator of neglect or abuse in 73% of cases, including over 50% of cases of physical abuse.

Here's a link to the paper Michael Woods - Dads not the Demons



There is no doubt that both mothers and fathers are represented in child abuse statistics.

However, the figures given in the Dads not demons papers do not include enough information to draw valid conclusions.  Most importantly the variable "hours per week child spends with parent" has not been statistically controlled for that I can see.

So, for example if mothers committed more cases of abuse of children than fathers,  but they also spent vastly more time with the children that fathers, then the fact that more cases of abuse were perpetuated by mothers does not mean that mothers are overall more abusive than fathers.

These figures need to be given as a percentage of hours spent with each parent to enable valid conclusions to be drawn.

The other glaring statistical issue is that the figures include the very high incidence of maternal neglect which is often the result of poverty and associated mental health issues such as depression.  These cases often involve a mother pushed beyond her resources because of low income/partner in jail/left to raise kids alone/post natal depression etc. As seen from the figures there are also cases of neglect by fathers and so the significance of these statistics needs to be considered in light of other variables, namely hours spent with child and parental income.
April said
These figures need to be given as a percentage of hours spent with each parent to enable valid conclusions to be drawn.
Don't push that non falsifiable count the hours cra p here - you know this is practically impossible.

The facts are that 80% of reported child abuse occurs in single mother homes. There is not one case of substantiated child abuse in a court ordered shared parenting arrangement.

The biological father is the best protection a child will ever have. Having a father meaningfully involved in the child's life to the maximum extent practicable is the determinative indicator of every key area of child well-being …and removing the father from the child's life impoverishes everyone not just the mother.

Bill Muehlenberg is an amazing knowledge resource

The Dangers of Fatherlessness » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch
Fatherlessness and the Two-Parent Family » Bill Muehlenberg’s CultureWatch

"One leading expert in developmental psychology from Cornell University, summarises the evidence in this fashion: Controlling for associated factors such as low income, children growing up in single-parent households are at greater risk for experiencing a variety of behavioural and educational problems, including extremes of hyperactivity or withdrawal; lack of attentiveness in the classroom; difficulty in deferring gratification; impaired academic achievement; school misbehaviour; absenteeism; dropping out; involvement in socially alienated peer groups; and, especially, the so-called teenage syndrome of behaviours that tend to hang together  smoking, drinking, early and frequent sexual experience, a cynical attitude to work, adolescent pregnancy, and in the more extreme cases, drugs, suicide, vandalism, violence, and criminal acts.

Another expert puts it this way: There exists today no greater single threat to the long-term well-being of children, our communities, or our nation, than the increasing number of children being raised without a committed, responsible, and loving father."

Professor Patrick Parkinson of the University of Sydney reaffirmed what the social sciences are telling us. In his important study, "For Kids Sake",

The well-being of Australia's children and young adults has declined sharply in the past decade. Spiralling rates of child abuse and neglect, of children being placed in foster care and of teenage mental health problems  including a dramatic rise in hospitalisation for self-harm  are rooted in the rise of one-parent families

Among the signs of deteriorating well-being were:
  • A tripling in the number of children notified for abuse or neglect since 1998.
  • A doubling in the number of children in out-of-home care in 12 years.
  • A 66 per cent increase in the rate of hospitalisation for self-harm for 12-14-year-olds between 1996-97 and 2005-06.
  • An increase from 28 per cent to 38 per cent in female school students experiencing unwanted sex between 2002 and 2008.
  • A doubling in the rate of hospitalisation for alcohol intoxication for women aged 15-24 between 1998-99 and 2005-06.


These facts are conveniently ignored by the divorce-family violence-social welfare parasite industry as they crawl out of the misandry woodwork crying "child abuse" wolf for the next round of Gillard's $2BN anti-family government funding - and 41% pay increases for child protection workers. The more fathers they remove the more abuse they find and the need for more funding in a self-perpetuating spiral of their own making.

I point the WA figures based on 1505 substantiated cases are inline with international findings. If this sample size is not enough information to draw valid conclusions then how can the AAIMHI guidelines based on sample size of 258 children in the McIntosh study have any creditability?   

Those "no-overnights for dad" guidelines might have more gravitas if your pants weren't down around your ankles.


April no-one is saying that fathers don't abuse their children. We are just quoting official stats that say that mothers are more likely to abuse their children. It doesn't matter how or why. What does matter is that our Green/Labor Government is trying to re-educate the Australian population to think that only men abuse children or commit family violence. Most people prefer to promote the view that we are all responsible for what happens to children and families not just one gender. What do you have to say about this?
srldad101,

It would not be difficult at all to find out the care arrangements of the children involved in these abuse cases, e.g. what % of time was the child spending with each parent when the abuse occurred, so no it is not practically impossible to work that simple calculation into the figures to get a more accurate picture.

Your reference to single mothers being highly represented in abuse figures touches on the point I made at the end of my post.  The missing data there would be how many of those single mothers are single by choice.  Not every father is involved in his child's life and there are fathers who leave by their own choice and have little or nothing to do with their kids.  The mother is then left to raise the kids alone and all of the problems you raise in your post can occur.

These outcomes do not necessarily occur when children are withheld from a genuinely abusive father.  This is a different scenario with different outcomes.

Suggesting that the socioeconomic disadvantage that occurs in situations where a mother is left to raise kids alone because dad is in jail or has walked away from family responsibilites is an inevitable outcome of any situation where a mother raises kids alone is not a valid conclusion. Different situations have different outcomes.

It would help me understand your point of view more if you refrained from using abusive language in your posts.



Fairgo,

The official figures can not be used to draw the conclusion that mothers are more LIKELY to abuse their kids.  The figures need to be calculated on a basis which makes them more meaningful.  In other words we need to see RATES of abuse not "number of cases" figures to draw statistically valid conclusions.  The comparison is being made between 2 groups who have different amounts of time with their children so it is not statistically valid to compare them on raw cases alone.

For example, city A has 100 murders each year and city B has 250 murders a year.  There are more murders in city B is the only valid conclusion that can be made.  To see how LIKELY it is to be murdered in city B you would need population figures.  So if city A has 1 million residents and city B has 10 million residents you are more LIKELY to be murdered in city A.  So rate stats and number of cases stats give different conclusions.  The number of cases of anything on its own doesn't tell us much.

edit to add reply to fairgo.

Last edit: by April

All,

Thank you for all these replies. I guess we have now covered up to MYTH
3. The 2006 Shared Parenting laws have resulted in greater risks of family violence for mothers and children.

WHAT ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT?

4. Shared Parenting reduces Child Support commitments, which is why many fathers seek Shared Parenting arrangements.

Is there any evidence for this?

In particular I have seen  a reference which states that fathers blackmail mother into accepting lower financial contributions by threatening them with greater contact ie shared parenting. Is there any evidence for this? Please.

kip


APROPOS - From my UK forum - FOR THOSE INTERESTED

All,

A little birdie has provided the information I was looking for. PLEASE SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW THE SENTENCE CITED BY LIZ TRINDER IS TAKEN OUT OF THE CONTEXT IN THE PARAGRAPH


the idea that a clear linear relationship exists between parenting time and
 childrens outcomes (such that ever-increasing amounts of time necessarily leads
 to better outcomes for children) appears to lack an empirical basis.84


So while equal time or substantially shared time
feature prominently in the Act as a consideration,
and while post-separation arrangements generally
should try to maximise 'positive and meaningful'
father involvement as opposed to minimal father child
contact (Lamb 2007), the research evidence
for equal time parenting is not strong. Put anotherway: the idea that a clear linear relationshipexists between parenting time and children's outcomes(such that ever-increasing amounts of timenecessarily leads to better outcomes for children)appears to lack an empirical basis - although anemotionally close and warm relationship naturallyrequires some time to sustain it.

The phrase in the original is QUALIFIED with

 although an emotionally close and warm relationship naturally requires some time to sustain it.


In the Liz Trinder version it is used to claim there is NO relationship.


Many thanks to my little birdie.


Just to let everybody know that this discovery is a significant part in my case against the Nuffield Foundation who claimed 'Shared Parenting Legislation is not in the interests of children'


kip

ALSO FOR THOSE INTERESTED PARTICULARLY IN AUSTRALIA;

A friend from facebook has made a video clip of the interview from Dads on the Air at;

Research on Babies and Toddlers Contact with Fathers

http://youtu.be/e7lOBHnZlcc

I think it is a little easier to hear.

kip

Kingsley Miller is the author of 'even Toddlers Need Fathers', a critique of the principle of 'Maternal Deprivation' as applied in family courts, which Professor Sir Michael Rutter described as an, 'interesting and informative guide'. He has also received a letter from Buckingham Palace stating, 'It was thoughtful of you to enclose a copy of your book 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' and Her Majesty has noted your concerns'.
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