Mothers who report domestic abuse are frequently disbelieved by both Cafcass and the courts, and their children are forced into contact with fathers they may be terrified of. Mothers can lose the children they are trying to protect because when they spell out the dangers the children face they are accused of parental alienation and can have residence transferred to the abusive father. One of the aims of the protest is to get a change to the culture of ‘contact at all costs’.
Fathers can also be subject to domestic abuse and can fare equally badly in the family court because neither Cafcass, lawyers nor judges are sufficiently trained in the complex area of abuse. This is another aspect of our family justice system that has to be changed.
The BBC will be filming the event but mainly focusing on the speakers and the placards and filming participants from behind. Other media may be present too and I think that various people have been allocated to speak to them. However, if you should be approached by a journalist and you are, or have been, in court proceedings regarding your children, please do be careful about what you say to them as you must not do or say anything that could lead to your child being identified. Please remember that you are gagged! The secrecy of the family court is another thing we are seeking to change.
The event is supported by quite a few organisations and there will be several speakers including Chris Green OBE, the founder of White Ribbon, an organisation working to end male violence against women.
You can find more information about the protest here.
The weather is set fair and warm for the time of year, so please do make every effort to attend and be part of the desperately needed change in our family courts.
I will be one of the stewards wearing a high visibility jacket with #thecourtsaid logo on it, so please come and say hello. If you have any questions or concerns about attending the protest please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you really really can’t attend on Saturday, please do all you can on social media to raise awareness of the protest.