Child contact centres destroy fathers’ relationships with their kids.
Roll up, roll up. Welcome to the house of horrors; one more shining example of the evil manipulation of our key institutions to favour women and punish men. This week I’ve been looking at supervised contact centres used by the family law system to provide contact between a dad and his children.
Although I’ve known for decades about this draconian system, this recent exposure to the horrors routinely imposed here left me reeling – awestruck by how effectively the feminists have sewn up our justice system to make life hell for men. Supervised contact amounts to state imposed parental alienation. The state, through the family law system conspires with a malicious mother to teach the children that their father is dangerous and all it takes is one allegation which has in no way been properly examined.
The system is essentially about judges, judicial officers covering their arses. Whenever an allegation of domestic violence or sexual abuse surfaces in a family court case, judges and other more lowly decision makers in the court system will order supervised contact because they know that if they don’t do this and anything happens to the child, they will be hung out to dry by our captured media.
Just think about that. I’ve talked many times about how false allegations of violence and abuse have become a standard tactic in family law battles, allowing an angry woman to have her partner removed from the home on the basis of a simple allegation.
Usually, these dads don’t get to see their kids for months, or even years. And eventually, when they are “allowed” access to their children, they inevitably now end up in the clutches of the supervised contact system, paying through the teeth to have strangers monitor and report on their conversations with their children – producing biased records which are then used against them in subsequent court battles. The process works very effectively to destroy children’s relationship with their fathers – which is exactly what many of these mothers want.
A litany of petty humiliations
Imagine being part of the everyday life of your children, reading them bedtime stories, roughhousing on the lawn, making pancakes for Sunday breakfast. All it takes is one false allegation and you face months, perhaps years of being treated like a dangerous criminal, never allowed near them.
Eventually the court system “permits” your first supervised contact visit. Finally, you are in the same room as your kids, at last able to see them, talk to them. But that intense experience comes with any number of painful humiliations. Here are some real-life examples of how fathers are treated:
– One child greeted his father at the centre by saying, “You are not going to hit me, are you Daddy?” The child later explained to dad that mum had told him to say that but the supervisor who overheard the whole conversation refused to report it.
– Fathers are often told not to get emotional. “Steve failed to control his emotions when saying goodbye to the children despite instructions from the supervisor to do so,” was a note included in a report on one father
– A dad’s suggestion that he toss a football around with his son led to the supervisor issuing the boy with a safe word to use if he felt threatened.
– A father asked to take his 4-year-old to the toilet, only to find this was noted in the report as if it was a sinister request.
– Fathers are often issued with lists of topics that the ex has banned from his conversation with the children, including innocuous subjects like school and tv shows.
– Men are told they can’t take photos of their children. This is to prevent happy family shots being used in court evidence.
– Grandparents and other significant people in the children’s lives usually aren’t permitted to attend visits with the dad.
So, it goes on. But that is not to say it’s always like this. There are centres which treat men well and individual supervisors who do their best to ensure dad has fair treatment. But, unsurprisingly, even government-sponsored services run by some of the big players, like Interrelate and Relationships Australia, produce horror stories, with many counsellors in these organisations notoriously anti-male.
Then there are the huge, private enterprise players who are capitalizing on the long waiting lists for the government-sponsored centres – which currently result in delays of 6 months to a year – to charge horrendous fees to rip off men. We’re talking up to $300-$400 a session, more for the sought-after weekend places, easily adding up to over $20,000 for two years of contact visits. Plus, there’s the cost of travel, with some men forced to travel many hours to get to the prescribed place.
That’s the key point. All too often dads have no choice about which centre is chosen – that decision is totally sewn up by cosy relationships between mum’s lawyer and the local registrars or judges making the decision. So, it is hardly surprising the decision is often made to make life even more difficult for the beleaguered dad.
Mothers are firmly in charge and a malicious woman has any number of cards she can play to ensure the contact system will destroy what’s left of her ex-partner’s relationship with his children. Even before the process begins, she can ensure the centre will reject the father by mentioning during the intake interview that she’s afraid he might kidnap the children.
A father who is given supervised contact will find that’s treated as a black mark against him when it comes to later decisions about proper parenting arrangements and as leverage in property settlements. The man who drops out of supervised contact, even if he can’t afford to keep going, will discover that is seen as a lack of commitment to his children. “Narcissists can’t handle supervised access,” commented one smug expert.
Good intentions derailed.
Like most aspects of our rotten family law system, supervised contact was set up for a good and proper reason. There are parents who put their children at risk, and it makes sense to have supervision in place to allow children to see these parents without coming to harm. But the official literature makes clear this was supposed to be a transition to eventual self-managing of parenting arrangements and that’s just not happening. Most people just drop out.
It’s maddening reading the official literature on what’s going here which attribute the drop outs to mental illness, substance abuse or “entrenched conflict between parents”. Not one word about the fact that most of the fathers subjected to this humiliating process are not dangerous – they’ve been set up by their ex-spouse.
I’m very excited by the video I’ve made about this whole shameful business – talking to lawyer Michael Jose who is a wonderful man who has worked for over 25 years tackling injustice against men. Please listen to this one and help me get it out there. I am sure many in our community have no idea how badly fathers are being treated in this system. Here’s the video:
A chance to make a difference
The purpose of the video is also to put out a call to arms. We want to change the way supervised contact is being used to damage father’s relationships with their children and need your help. For a start we must put together advice for fathers to help them avoid supervised contact. More men and their lawyers need to start fighting back in interim hearings, actively resisting official supervised contact by coming up with alternate suggestions of managing potential conflict, such as appropriate friends and relations who can fit the role of supervisor and ways of managing safe handovers. I’d like to put together a team to provide detailed advice for men about how to do this, which we can post on the Mothers of Sons website.
When men are forced to accept supervised contact, they must come prepared to these hearings with the best possible local options for centres or services in their area. We’re considering putting lists together of recommended centres we can also post on the website.
We are also thinking big and exploring the possibility of setting up our own centres or contact services – not dads-only services, but simply places that offer fair treatment to all comers, including mothers. The current system is wide open to new players and men’s organisations have successfully run these in the past. So, we are calling for people who would like to explore options for new centres in their area. We’ll need people to run the show, access to possible venues, professionals with appropriate skills to act as supervisors. And ways of reaching out to people in the system, from family lawyers to judges, who can help us build up referral networks.
It’s possible also to set up contact services offering carefully selected supervisors to work in the field, rather than at a centre. So, all of you with appropriate skills, from social work to basic counselling qualifications, might like to come on board. Please contact us here.
I’m hoping to hear from many of the hundreds of people who have written to me wanting to volunteer to help my work. Here’s a very worthy project, finding ways to help fathers avoid the living hell of supervised contact and retain the right to be proper parents to their children.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you if you are able to help with this exciting new project. But those of you unable to do so might like to contribute to the costs of making this all happen.
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