I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Belgium withholding a child from the other parent is considered abduction

In Belgium with their Equal Shared Parenting laws withholding a child from the other parent is considered abduction! You will go to Jail! Shared Parenting in Belgium: The following is a quote from http://www.equalparentingalliance.org

"In 2006, Belgium introduced laws that make parenting time equal after separation. Listen to Dr Pascal Gallez describing to the Australian radio show, Dads on the air, how this law came about and how it is working in practice http://www.dadsontheair.net/shows/Dads_on_the_Air_2009-03-10.mp3 . The interview begins min.12.36 into the show."

Dr. Gallez explains that withholding a child from the other parent in their shared parenting system in Belgium is viewed as abduction and the withholding parent of either gender goes to jail. They do not recognize PA in Europe as a legally presentable disorder but their system, given its nature, should reduce it and false allegations of abuse will not have the same weight as in North America. He indicates support is not involved unless there is a wide disparity in income when time is 50-50. If time is different than 50-50 then the parties work on the payment arrangement and present it to the judge. The judge only wants to be a rubber stamp of approval. The child support administration moved on to do other work and does not care about the changes. Parents have adjusted to the system and are happy with it. They no longer find all the incentives to fight. A feminist Justice Minister was involved who was divorced. She wanted her ex husband to share parenting. It was interfering with her career and so it was selfish on her part but had a positive outcome for all affected. She had a female ally in her government who helped. How did the government listen. They introduced same sex marriage as a matter of ethical government in the same fashion as Shared-Equal parenting. Bring argument with reasoning why is it good for children, parents and the government/divorce industry rather than yelling victim. The lobbying with the right government in place, in this case, a centre right party, was a catalyst, particularly given the feminist Minister's stance. Yelling victim, victim, victim was not productive. All of the above including some serendipity came together. He emphasized the importance of an ethical government. The media was neutral. They opened up discussion with both sides. It was finally a "party" vote rather than a free vote that passed the law by 2/3 majority. In Belgium parents have a constitutional right as parents. The state only gets involved if the parents cannot come to a decision but judges want it to be close to 50-50. Two laws are still required 1) Against false allegations 2) paying alimony Once these laws are passed it will be better. Activism is still needed to ensure the message is sent to the government if improvements such as the two laws noted are required. Fathers, Mothers and children are generally happy with the outcomes. Dr. Gallez recommends trying to show the Belgium example to our Government when lobbying.

Women's refuges told they must admit men

Councils say charities could lose funding under new gender equality laws

Charities for battered women have been threatened with the loss of their funding unless they help male victims of domestic violence, under new equality laws.

Women's Aid, the domestic violence charity whose patrons include the prime minister's wife, Sarah Brown, says its female-only services are essential to reassure battered women and children that they will be safe. However, some local authorities are demanding that services such as counselling and outreach be opened to both sexes.

Fiona Mactaggart, the former Home Office minister, said some refuge services had lost grants or contracts in what she said was an "unintended consequence" of changes in equality law.

"There are some local authorities who interpret equalities to mean that a refuge has to provide for men, not only for women," said Mactaggart, co-chair of the women's parliamentary Labour party, a grouping of female MPs. "There are some stupidnesses developing in the system that nobody intended."

Although 15% of men say they have been physically assaulted by a partner, according to the most recent British Crime Survey, the extent to which men suffer domestic violence is disputed. Surveys have suggested that many allegations of being assaulted by women are made by men facing prosecution for domestic violence.

Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women's Aid, said its branches were still allowed to exclude men from refuges, but were being told when council contracts came up for tender that they must provide services such as advice and outreach to men or lose their funding. Decades of progress in setting up refuges were being undermined, she said. In some cases contracts were being given to inexperienced providers who would deal with both sexes but did not follow important safeguards to prevent violent partners continuing to harass victims.

"There is one independent domestic violence advocacy service where they were dealing with both male and female victims, sometimes in the same relationship. When a man says, 'Actually she is abusing me, not me abusing her', obviously that has to be treated seriously by police, but you shouldn't have the same person dealing with them."

She said that many volunteers and staff at domestic violence charities were survivors of abuse for whom it was important that the organisation was all-female. "We are going to see a shrinking of provision. Women do appreciate being engaged in women-only organisations. When you have been disempowered and had no control of your life [through domestic violence] it's important for a lot of women to see that this is an organisation run by women for women."

Women's Aid refers male callers to groups specialising in male victims. But men's rights groups say services for them are much patchier.

Mactaggart wants ministers to resolve the problems unwittingly created by the so-called gender equality duty, which requires local authorities to ensure that services do not discriminate on grounds of sex. The Government Equalities Office said councils were being overzealous about the new duty, adding: "This cannot be an excuse [for cutting services]. This interpretation of the duty is law."

Women's refuges told they must admit men

This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 00.01 BST on Sunday 5 April 2009. It appeared in the Observer on Sunday 5 April 2009 on p14 of the News section. It was last updated at 00.14 BST on Sunday 5 April 2009.