Research - Response from Families
Link International (FLINT) to the consultation paper on Parental
separation: Children's needs and Parent's responsibilities.
Dear Parental Relationship Breakdown Consultation
We write as an NGO interested in promoting healthy
families as the base of any civilised society.
We are concerned at the lack of clear information
and use of partial research behind the policies that successive
Governments have been steering in relation to children and
Grandparents, fathers and older children are
desperate for help as they have had their civil and human
rights abused by what are essentially anti-father and anti-family
institutions e.g. CAFCASS, Social services and the family
courts. We are aware of many cases where violent and/ or abusive
women are given residence which would seem to show a bias
in the application of Family Law.
The Green Paper in its present format is poorly
thought out except in the context that it is designed to continue
the human rights abuses fostered on the family by successive
Governments over the last full generation.
There is a plethora of research on the links
between fatherlessness and criminality, teenage pregnancy,
poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, delinquent behaviour,
and rape. The economic costs of this are tremendous not only
to inviduals but also to society at large.
The Government yet again repeat the myths of
domestic violence with ‘where contact is safe’.
This blatantly ignores the research that shows women to be
equally or more violent than men e.g. -The Fiebert report.
REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR
MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY. SUMMARY: This bibliography
examines 130 scholarly investigations: 104 empirical studies
and 26 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women
are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men
in their relationships with their spouses or male partners.
The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds
Violence against children by women is another
issue where the public and Governmental attitude is very different
than the facts revealed by formal studies. Some examples of
the research which should inform policy are given below:
Source: The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse
and Neglect (NIS-3) from the US Department of Health and Human
Services reveals data about child abuse by mothers.
Women commit most child abuse in intact biological families.
When the man is removed from the family the children are at
greater risk. Mother-only households are more dangerous to
children than father-only households. Children are 3 times
more likely to be fatally abused in Mother-only Households
than in Father-only Households, and many times more likely
in households where the mother cohabits with a man other than
the biological father. Children raised in Single-mother Households
are 8 times more likely to become killers than children raised
with their biological father.
Other studies reveal more about female violence
Women hit their male children more frequently and more severely
than they hit their female children. Women commit 55% of child
murders and 64% of their victims are male children.
Eighty two percent of the general population
had their first experience of violence at the hands of women,
usually their mother. Our culture learns to be violent from
our mothers, not our fathers.
Yet, 3.1 million reports of child abuse are
filed against men each year, most of which are false accusations
used as leverage in a divorce or custody case. Source: Statistics
validated and verified by: Murray Straus, a sociologist and
co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University
of New Hampshire and Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode
Island and author of Intimate Violence and other studies,
also validated the statistics used by matching it to previous
Researchers in Michigan determined that "49
percent of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers."
Source: Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay, "A Study of Child
Abuse in Lansing, Michigan," Child Abuse and Neglect,
A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse
found that the majority of the children came from disrupted
or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived
with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up
only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused
children lived with either a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend.
Source: Beverly Gomes-Schwartz, Jonathan Horowitz, and Albert
P. Cardarelli, "Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their
Treatment," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency prevention.
Perpetrators: Most States define perpetrators
of child abuse or neglect as a parent or other caretaker,
such as a relative, babysitter, or foster parent, who has
maltreated a child. Fifty-nine percent of perpetrators were
women and 41 percent were men. The median age of female perpetrators
was 31 years; the median age of male perpetrators was 34 years.
More than 80 percent of victims (84 percent) were abused by
a parent or parents. Almost half of child victims (41 percent)
were maltreated by just their mother, and one-fifth of victims
(19 percent) were maltreated by both their mother and father.
Child Abuse Perpetrators
• There is no ''typical'' child abuser.
* May be male or female -Data from 21 states indicate that
61.8% of perpetrators were female.
* The majority of instances of child abuse are committed by
someone who knows the child.
* In 87.3% of cases at least one parent was identified as
the perpetrator. In 17.7% of cases both parents were identified
* Mothers acting alone were most often identified as perpetrators
of neglect and physical abuse.
* Fathers acting alone were identified as perpetrators of
sexual abuse at the highest percentage.
* Together, substitute care providers and family relatives
were only identified as 5.4% of cases.
* May be young or old-In 1999 the highest percent of perpetrators
fell between the ages of 30-39.
* May be of any ethnicity or nationality.
* May be a former victim of abuse or neglect.
(Statistics from National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems,
NSPCC report shows that fathers are 'less violent'
than mothers in their disciplining of children.'Child Maltreatment
in the United Kingdom', published in November 2000 by the
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Child Maltreatment 1999 Reports From the States
to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration
for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth
and Families Children's Bureau
Table 3-2: Perpetrator Relationship to Victim, 1999 DCDC
Relationship to Victim Number Percentage
Female Parent Only 145,028 44.7%
Male Parent Only 51,752 15.9%
Both Parents 57,320 17.7%
Female Parent and Other 25,703 7.9%
Male Parent and Other 3,544 1.1%
One of the greatest weaknesses of the Green
paper is that essentially the same civil servants and female
anti-father and anti-family vested interest organisations
which regularly exclude fathers and the wider family, who
are putting forward policies that are totally unworkable and
responsible for the destruction of the family as the base
of a civilised society.
An example of this is CAFCASS with its poorly
trained personnel who are expected to be child psychologists,
medical paediatric specialists, social workers, psychoanalysts,
legally trained persons, and court officer. Who investigates
abuses, policies and procedure by CAFCASS which transpires
little or no confidence from the families themselves?
Another fact that the Green paper does not take
into account is that such schemes as proposed have been tried
and tested in other Anglophone countries without much success.
Indeed, there is furore over the way the family is treated
after separation and divorce throughout the western industrialised
The decline in proper and meaningful research
has been on the increase for some years now. Another example
is that given the vast difference in prognosis of family by
type i.e. co-habitating or married when referring to anti-social
behaviour, domestic violence or child abuse, the Government
extended the bias in the statistics by stating for the 2001
census that " a lone parent was allowed to be classified
as married if she denoted her status as married or remarried
but had no spouse or partner." 'Population Trends' (Spring
2004 Ed, page 66)
If the Government is serious and honestly wishes
to promote healthy family harmony and strengthen the family
unit, the role of the father has to be strengthened and not
weakened and the nuclear biological family restored for all
children in the interests of all children and wider society.
The Government must institute the following:
1. There must be an independent body to oversee
CAFCASS with no vested interests and properly and impartially
knowledgeable on matters related to children’s health
2. All CAFCASS reports must be electronically
taped by both parties in order to avoid any accusation of
3. Any allegations made of physical or sexual
abuse by either party must be substantiated not only by the
alleging parent but also by other statutory body. Note the
present reporting system does not have provisions for female
abusers of their partners/ children and in the cases that
we have been involved, where raised, this has been laughed
4. Both warring factions must be made to understand
that deliberate attempts to deny contact will be met with
a strong reaction. Note: At the moment any factual allegation
of abuse and/ or violence by mothers are ignored by social
services, CAFCASS and/or the Police resulting in tragedies
for the children.
5. The assumption is that mother’s make
better parents must be banned and judges who sit in family
cases must have a proven record of their participation in
family life i.e. bringing up children themselves. There is
abundant serious research that Domestic violence is not a
gender issue as currently portrayed and that both the biological
mother and the stepfather are greater risks to children than
the biological father.
6. At the present moment the concept of parental
alienation syndrome (PAS) is totally ignored and it is amusing
when judges make such statements as the mother is ‘deceitful’,
‘cunning’, ‘dishonest’ etc in denying
the father access yet deny the existence of PAS.
7. A no-fault complaints procedure for all bodies
related to the health and safety of children so that mistakes
may be rectified without fear of litigation at the earliest
opportunity. This would allow lessons to be learned and procedures
amended to prevent harm from befalling any children who are
the most vulnerable in our society.
8. Professionals who abuse the trust and integrity
of the family and/ or children must be removed from working
in a position where they can influence outcomes for other
children and the matter rectified at the earliest opportunity.
Dated 29th July 2004
Families Link International.