Our thanks to Nigel for this. An extract:
A large number of separated parents with custody of children – almost always mothers – are thought to have taken advantage of lockdown to shut ex-partners out of their children’s lives.
Tensions among separated families have been stoked by a series of errors and official decisions, including mistaken advice from Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to not let children leave home to meet their other parent, and a ruling that family contact arguments should go to the back of the queue for court time during lockdowns.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett warned MPs last month that there is now a threat to the safety of judges in family courts, ‘where emotions run very high and some disappointed litigants have behaved very badly indeed’.
Figures prepared by the Ministry of Justice show that numbers of complaints to the courts by separated parents shot up by a third as the first lockdown started.
These complaints, in the form of applications to judges for orders enforcing family contact rules, went up from 1,944 in the first three months of 2020 to 2,583 over the three following months.
Overall, there were an unprecedented 8,798 enforcement applications made during 2020, which is 12 per cent up on 2019, and more than four times the total in 2011. But very few of the fathers asking to see their children won the backing of a judge. Just 24 contact enforcement orders were issued in 2020, fewer than one for every 350 applications. [J4MB emphasis]
Lawyers blamed the willingness of mothers to use lockdown to break relationships between children and fathers. Katie Welton-Dillon of Hall Brown Family Law said: ‘Some parents seem to have taken advantage of the circumstances and simply stopped contact altogether.
In the headline “Thousands of divorced parents…”, of course, for “parent” read father. The article does point out the vast majority of “parents” affected are in fact the fathers. However both of the images to illustrate the story are of females. Perhaps a charitable interpretation of one is a teenage daughter missing her father, though I’m stretching it.
To be honest I doubt there is any overt misandry in the editor its just that our “go to” images to gain attention, specially for a story wanting to illicit sympathy, are female. With the possible exception of mangled bodies of soldiers I can’t think of any story that would use images of an adult Male to gain sympathy.
Sadly I don’t expect any rectification of the problem highlighted for the fathers so badly affected.
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