The march aims to raise awareness about the risks and problems associated with parental alienation. This is a serious issue for society as according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009-10 2 out 3 children do not have meaningful relationships with both their parents if they are no longer together. In nearly all cases the father is the alienated parent, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity - but frequently not. So according to the Governments numbers there are 750,000 Australian children alienated from their fathers. This is more than the combined populations of the Sunshine Coast, Wollongong and Geelong - just imagine these towns full of fatherless children and you begin to realise the scale of the problem.
People Against Parental Alienations Mission Statement
The Family Law system is besieged with false allegations of violence, child abuse and substance abuse, incongruous policing, insufficient counselling, a bureaucratic Child Support Agency and an inaccurate perception of domestic violence.
This results in an unprecedented number of children being wrongly alienated from a parent, with a very high likelihood that the father will be the alienated parent, who becomes overly vulnerable to depression and suicide.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009-10 there were over one million children (aged 0-17) who had a natural parent living elsewhere. Of these children, 2 out of every 3 do not even have daily or weekly face-to-face contact with their other parent. Almost half never stayed overnight with that parent.
A quarter saw their parent less than once per year, or never.
In nearly all cases the father is the alienated parent, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity - but frequently not. So according to the Governments numbers 750,000 Australian children are alienated from their fathers with this figure rising week by week. This is more than the combined populations of the Sunshine Coast, Wollongong and Geelong. These are not just children from broken homes, disadvantaged groups or those with bad fathers. These are children from everyday families from all walks of life, just like yours.
These grim statistics show that the family unit, the cornerstone of Australian life, is becoming a relic of the past and the current systems are only worsening this downfall by then alienating children from their fathers.
The failings start with the police who process Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO) on the basis of personal statements, even without any evidence to support the statement. Expensive legal advice is normally required before the courts then hear the applications several months later.
This process gets rid of any liability on the police if they do not action an ADVO and then violence subsequently occurs, but mainly serves to rid a child of their father. This is because the defendant, usually being the father, often has no right to go home and see their child whilst waiting for the hearing the start of a common trend.
These strict conditions regarding ADVOs were initiated to counter the terrible problems stemming from domestic violence, but are inherently unfair. The Australian Institute of Family Studies found that 26% of mothers and 17% of fathers reported being physically hurt by their partners. A further 39% of mothers and 36% of fathers reported emotional abuse. However despite such similar proportions of both female and male victims the police, Family Law professionals and counselling providers perpetuate the myth that it is females and children who are almost exclusively victims of these awful crimes, contributing to systematic persecution of fathers, who are almost as likely to be victims.
In situations where the ADVO applicant also has a case before the Family Court, judges consider all allegations of family violence, whether true, false or unheard. This violates the right of every citizen to be innocent until proven guilty and encourages behaviour that intentionally alienates a father from their child by making allegations which are acted upon by the police and the Family Court.
The retiring Family Court judge, Justice David Collier, recently said he sees unprecedented hostility infiltrating the Family Court, and a willingness by parents to use their children to damage one another. The worst are those mothers who direct false allegations of abuse against former partners; specifically allegations of child sexual abuse are being increasingly invented by mothers to stop fathers from seeing their children.
I'm satisfied that a number of people who have appeared before me have known that it is one of the ways of completely shutting husbands out of the child's life.
These problems result in children and their fathers suffering the psychological impacts from being separated and being in the middle of highly conflictual custody and child support battles, where the most malicious and inhumane behaviour is seemingly rewarded. The child generally has almost no meaningful time with their father and after extraordinarily expensive legal proceedings he is ruthlessly pursued for financial support of a child that has been forced from him. However any Orders for access to the child in favour of the father can be easily ignored and are toothlessly enforced, if at all.
The Child Support Agency provides little transparency as to how their figures are calculated and frequently ignores common sense and affordability. There is no consideration of the emotional impact of their actions on both mothers and fathers, which are frequently initiated just days after horrific court battles. They require no evidence at all of the money that is being spent on the child and their actions are often the last straw for men considering suicide and contribute to the horrifying fact that Australian males are four times more likely than females to take their own lives.
With a budget for 2013-14 of nearly $1.5 billion the Child Support Agency should be able to ensure much more fairness than is currently the case.
In summary the current system incentivises malicious actions by encouraging false allegations, resulting in clogging of the courts and precious resources being taken away from those with genuine problems. Fathers are often left penniless and suicidal, with almost no support or counselling to assist with relationship breakdown, lifestyle choices, domestic violence and depression.
Worst of all is that hundreds of thousands of Australian children are growing up without the benefit of meaningful relationships with their fathers and his family. This has well documented consequences including low self-esteem, self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, substance abuse and other forms of addiction, leading to ongoing cycles of personal and relationship breakdowns.
People Against Parental Alienations will work with like-minded individuals and organisations to achieve positive change in the areas of:
1. The risks to children from parental alienation, with appropriate treatment of those responsible.
2. More appropriate policing in terms of the administration of ADVOs.
3. Availability of counselling regarding parental alienation, relationship breakdown, lifestyle choices, domestic violence and male depression.
4. The Family Courts; and
5. The Child Support Agency.
The March for the Voice of the Children protest is taking place on 1st September 2013, Fathers Day in Sydney CBD. Please RSVP, stay up to date with progress and help the cause by joining our FaceBook Page group