Stevenage father launches campaign against courts in bid to see his daughters
- Credit: Archant
A father who says he has been prevented from seeing his daughters “at the biased hands of the family court” has begun an equal rights campaign, planning a series of protests – including a week-long hunger strike.
The father-of-two from Stevenage, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is calling for a change in the law so fathers are afforded the same rights as mothers.
He said: “I split up with my children’s mother six years ago. I had them 50 per cent of the time for about two years after that and then she decided to stop it. Since then I have hardly seen them.”
He says he sees one of his children under supervised contact, paying £62 for two hours once a fortnight. He says he has to pay privately because there is no risk to the children, so social services are not involved to provide this access for free.
His two children are aged under 10 and the older daughter has stopped attending the contact sessions.
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“She has been alienated because it’s a completely unnatural environment,” he said.
“I have seen my younger daughter twice since Halloween, because her mum doesn’t always bring her. I will always go, and I pay whether she turns up or not.”
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The dad says he has fought the courts to get proper access to his children, but to no avail. He alleges that his ex-partner falsely claimed he hit her in 2010 and, although the police decided to take no further action, the family court decided on the balance of probability that the allegation was true. He says he was told in 2013 he has no legal right to see his children until they are 16.
“They won’t want to see me by then,” he said.
“I will be a stranger. The judge has given my kids a life sentence without a dad.”
The dad is campaigning to see the family courts brought in line with the criminal courts in that the standard of proof is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ as opposed to on the ‘balance of probability’.
“If there is an accusation you need to look at the evidence to come to a conclusion,” he said.
He is appealing the court’s decision under Article 6 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a fair trial.
The dad has attended a protest outside Wandsworth prison in support of Tim Haries – a Fathers4Justice campaigner who has been jailed for six months for spraypainting “help” on The Queen’s portrait at Westminster Abbey.
“If the courts were fair and children were given the basic human right of seeing both parents he would not have had to take such drastic, criminal action,” the Stevenage dad added.
“Many people have suffered at the biased hands of the family court. I want equal rights for mothers and fathers. If something is wrong you have to keep going until something changes. Next month I’m planning a hunger strike for a week outside the Prime Minister’s private residence in the Cotswolds.
“I will be doing a number of protests to highlight the broken promises the main parties made to fathers and children in the build up to the 2010 election.”