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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Failure of the Canadian Courts

By Jeffrey Asher 18th August 2009
To our elected Representatives,
Feminist jurisprudence, antagonistic to the family, dominates Canadian criminal and family courts. As a result of these state - sanctioned policies, fathers – who have committed no fault - are routinely ejected from their homes and the lives of their children on nothing more than a spurious and often vindictive accusation.
Without mercy, decent fathers are sent to prison cells without due process and in violation of constitutional protections. Without credible evidence of wife accusations, and deprived of a legal opportunity for defence, judges routinely impose restraining orders. Fathers typically squander hundreds of thousands of dollars in a futile defence, which should have benefited their children and allocated to their old age.
Judges routinely deprive fathers of the work of their lives, in founding a home, income and a family. Fathers and children are deprived of mutual care and love, their lives irreparably shattered. Many fathers, deprived of the care and love of their children succumb to alcoholism, depression and suicide. Few dictatorships function as ruthlessly in tearing the family asunder.
These arbitrary criminal measures, aimed exclusively against fathers, presume guilt before due process, and result in injustice contrived by a hostile and manipulative wife. These arbitrary measures, founded in feminist jurisprudence, are systematically enforced by the police and Crown Attorneys. Feminist politics contravene every just law enacted in the Western democratic heritage.
Jeffrey Asher
FathersCan (Ottawa)

Ottawa women's shelters overwhelmed by more than 50 requests a day: report

More propaganda promulgated by the MSM. My letter to the editor follows with further comments below. Shelley: re: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Ottawa+women+shelters+overwhelmed+more+than+requests+report/1901825/story.html The self righteous outrage at this affliction only women seem to suffer is only greater than the credibility gap of those involved in its production. These figures are never audited and no politician dares to suggest they ought to be looked at with closer scrutiny to verify them. The academics involved in these stories have a vested interest in more tax dollars going to shelters and to keep funding the billions involved in this industry nation wide including the hundreds if not thousands of studies done nationwide to find the "cure" by these same academics. How come the cure isn't available? Simply because the treatment isn't designed to cure it - as then all these proponents would be unemployed. No cure will be found for any disease if 50% of the problem is ignored - that being the other party whether same sex or hetero. Did you know lesbian IPV was greater than hetero? How can that be when they are both female? Violence by anyone against another is a serious business but these shelters and their advocates defy credibility with their notion of the massive victimization of women. How many abused men do they serve. Zero, None, Nada. As someone who was emotionally, physically and financially abused by a woman, who, when the time was right for her, waltzed out the door to the local shelter as part of her game plan to incite further abuse within the family court system. I am a cynic when it comes to the efficacy of such reports. Men do call these shelters for help so presumably some of these calls are from the gender who has no where to go. Men can not get help from tax supported emergency shelters anywhere in Canada and if they want to escape they have no where to go that will accept children. Of the over 500 shelters in Canada not one accepts men alone or with their children. Most studies show DV is pretty much equal between genders but men are told to "suck it up" because your a man. I'm a man who withstood it for 14 years and to quote from one of my favourite movies "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." More men should be filing Human Rights Complaints against the discrimination because there is not one politician in the land with the gonads to fight this extremely egregious propaganda. It casts a pall over those people who are actually suffering from violence rather than differences of opinions between intimate partners. Would you believe the so called science of the Duluth Wheel, used by all these shelters, insisting all men are perpetrators and all women are victims created with a sample size of 11 mostly self confessed abused women. It defies credibility and logic but is one of the foundations of new wave feminism which permeates the "believers" in the operation and advocacy of these shelters. We all know what happens when ideology trumps logic. Mike Murphy
OTTAWA — In Ottawa each day more than 50 calls are made by abused women seeking shelter. Last year, Ottawa’s seven women’s shelters received more than 18,600 phone calls for service. These statistics are among the findings found in Hidden from Sight: A Look at the Prevalence of Violence Against Women in Ottawa. The report, released on Monday by the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, paints a picture of abuse and sexual violence within relationships and homes. Of the women seeking shelter, the vast majority will be turned away from the city’s over-crowded shelters. In 2007, 613 women and 486 children fleeing domestic abuse situations were sheltered in Ottawa. However, 5,150 women were turned away because the shelters were full, according to the Community Foundation of Ottawa, which last year released Vital Signs 2008. It was the alarming results of the Community Foundation report that prompted the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women to gather their statistics together to understand better violence against women in Ottawa. Women’s shelters, sexual assault/rape crisis centres, counselling services, police and the hospital have always collected statistics on violence against women separately. Hidden from Sight brings this data together. The report consolidates data from 16 local agencies. “We’ve been talking for years about the low level of awareness of what is really going on. So we’ve presented the data together for the first time,” says Holly Johnson, Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa and advisor to the project. “The figures are staggering, especially when we consider that many women do not come forward for help. Therefore, they are not even counted in these statistics. As well, disturbing new trends are emerging, such as the numbers of men charged with forcible confinement of women partners.” In 2007-2008, a total of 606 sexual assault cases were reported to Ottawa police. In addition to that startling number, Statistics Canada reports that only one in every 10 sexual assaults is actually reported. Prof. Johnson said we can predict the number of sexual assaults is closer to 6,000 in one year.
Serge
August 20, 2009 - 12:58 PM
Ms. Shelley Page, • Ottawa has a population of 1 282 500 habitants ( 870 250 for Ottawa only). Let’s say we accept the fact that we have about 6000 abused women (613 in shelters and 5150 refused for no vacancy in these shelters as written in your article). It comes to a Domestic Violence ratio of 0,0047% a lot less than 1%. • Concerning phone calls, 18 600 calls for a total possibility of 1 174 072 = 0,0145 % (0,0213). • Since Juges in our justice courts find 68% of Domestic Violence cases not founded, how many of these calls ended in condamnation? Even more, if Courts consider 68% of these claims not founded, how many men and fathers falsely accused and destroyed ? Where are shelters for these fathers ? Where is the money for it ? • Holly Johnson is a Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Professor Holly Johnson’s primary research interests include sexual violence and intimate partner violence with criminal justice responses, and methods of measurement. She was principal investigator of Statistics Canada’s first national survey on violence against women and is a coordinator of the International Violence Against Women Survey. She is also working about «Feminist theory and gender theory». Obviously her belief is that domestic violence is only a men business. So how can she be impartial about it ? All statistics (from Statistics Canada as well as from Institut de Satistique Qu├ębec and about 130 other scientific documents across the world) report a 50-50 rate of violence among men and women. Did she explore the possibility of Domestic Violence perpetrated by women ? Where? How many of them ? 10 000 falsely accused fathers in Quebec and destroyed every year is it Domestic Violence ? Did she only went to Los Angeles, California this year, on June 26th, to share with specialists on Domestic Violence Murray Strauss, PhD, Deborah Capaldi, PhD, Don Dutton, PhD, Daniel O'Leary, PhD or Sandra Stith, PhD and others her views about the subject. She would have realized that her datas don't correspond with the last research. In California, she would have had the opportunity to talk to Errin Pizzey Founder of the Domestic Violence Shelter Movement which views are completly at the opposite to hers. Feminist lobbies gave all sort of false datas for the past 30 years. Infortunately, journalists didn’t take enough time to verify these statistics, how they were collected, by who ?. They should have. No doubt about it, Domestic Violence exists, both ways, and we will not correct the situation if we are one side blinded by feminist lobbies.
Denis Pakkala
August 20, 2009 - 9:18 AM
Women's shelters spread misandry and do not address the very significant problem of female abusers and male victims. These shelters should be taken over by the goverment and offer services to ALL Canadian citizens, without gender discrimination. National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center Policy Statement on Family Violence “Reports from the WHO (Archer, 2006) also make it clear than in many countries around the world, particularly where women have little political or socioeconomic power, women represent the much larger share of IPV victims. However, the most reliable population of surveys indicate that in Western industrialized democracies such as the United States and Canada, where they enjoy higher status, women engage in physical aggression at rates comparable to men (Archer, 2000; Fiebert, 2004; Straus & Gelles, 1990) and are as likely or more likely to be the initiators (DeMaris, 1992; Morse, 1995; Dutton et al., 1999; Straus, 1993; Williams & Frieze, 2005).” “Shernock’s (2005) analysis of over 2000 IPV incidents in Vermont revealed that men were categorized as perpetrators 3.2 times more often than women on the initial police report, but subsequently arrested 9 times as often. At issue is the extent to which this pattern of gender bias reflects flawed “dominant aggressor” guidelines and assumptions about IPV based on discredited sociopolitical theories of patriarchy” “Victimized males do not have access to services because of the assumption that they are only minimally impacted by IPV, if at all. This assumption, however, runs contrary to an overwhelming body of research evidence. A significant minority of IPV-related physical injuries, between 25% and 43%, are incurred by men (Archer, 2000; Laroch, in preparation; Mirrlees-Black, 1999; Straus, 2004; Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000), and men are the victims in nearly a quarter of intimate homicides (Rennison, 2003)”
Mike Murphy
August 20, 2009 - 9:15 AM
The self righteous outrage at this affliction only women seem to suffer is only greater than the credibility gap of those involved in its production. These figures are never audited and no politician dares to suggest they ought to be looked at with closer scrutiny to verify them. The academics involved in these stories have a vested interest in more tax dollars going to shelters and to keep funding the billions involved in this industry including the hundreds if not thousands of studies done nationwide to find the "cure." Violence by anyone against another is a serious business but these shelters and their advocates defy credibility with their notion of the massive victimization of women. How many abused men do they serve. Zero, none, Nada. As someone who was emotionally, physically and financially abused by a woman, who, when the time was right for her waltzed out the door to the local shelter as part of her game plan to incite further abuse within the family court system I am a cynic when it comes to the efficacy of such reports. Men do call these shelters for help so presumably some of these calls are from the gender who has no where to go. Men can not get help from tax supported emergency shelters anywhere in Canada and if they want to escape they have no where to go that will accept children. Of the over 500 shelters in Canada not one accepts men alone or with their children. Most studies show DV is pretty much equal between genders but men are told to "suck it up" because your a man. I'm a man who withstood it for 14 years and to quote from one of my favourite movies "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." More men should be filing Human Rights Complaints against the discrimination because there is not one politician in the land with the gonads to fight this extremely egregious propaganda. It casts a pall over those people who are actually suffering from violence rather than differences of opinions between intimate partners.
Mississauga Dad
August 20, 2009 - 1:20 AM
And in the whole country there are how many shelters for abused men - NOT A SINGLE ONE!!! How many government dollars are available for programmes for abused men - NOT A SINGLE ONE!! Yet government statistics consistently and clearly show that the number of abused men is very nearly the same as that of abused women and is rising much faster than the number of abused women. I am an abused father. My wife abused me verbally, psychologically, and physically over a number of years. She threatened to kill me in front of a CAS worker. I have never abused my wife in any way. I worked every day to support her and my children. She hired a housekeeper so she wouldn't have to do housework. The kids were enrolled in a private school from the time they were 2 1/2 so they wouldn't be at home during the day. My wife then enrolled them in before and after school daycare so that the kids would only be at home when I was. I made the children's lunch the night before schooldays. I cooked supper for them at night. I spent the entire weekend, every weekend looking after our children and doing inside and outside chores. In 18 years of marriage my wife never once did my laundry. We were never wealthy - she felt she was 'entitled' to this lifestyle. She always refused to get a job of any kind. There was ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE I could go for help or support. I could not leave the house because of my children. When this information was brought up by my lawyer and well documented in Family Court during divorce and custody proceedings the judge literally sat back in his chair and guffawed, saying "Ha. Ha. Ha. You look like a pretty big guy to me. You still look pretty healthy to me. I don't think she meant it." Then to add to my abuse he ordered ME out of the house, gave custody of the children to my wife and ordered me to pay huge amounts of support based on "attributed" income. Yes, there is a need for shelter and support for abused women - I don't deny that or begrudge that - BUT there is a much bigger need for some funding for support programmes and shelters for abused fathers and husbands. Maybe if a few dollars could be made available to support abused men there wouldn't be over 2000 suicides a year by divorced and separated fathers and husbands who are abused not only by their partners but also by the laughable "Family Justice" system.
Paul
August 19, 2009 - 8:25 PM
All summer I followed a blog about domestic abuse which stated over and over again the issue was gun control. I would suggest people in the domestic violence industry should support the removal of the gun registry to look for additional funding. People keep forgetting there is only so much money and people that live in the same circles that seek funding for shelters are also the same people that pushed for the gun registry. Given the current political climate both conservatives and liberals could find common ground making Canadian citizens winners.
Paul
August 19, 2009 - 2:50 PM
All summer I followed a blog about domestic abuse which stated over and over again the issue was gun control. I would suggest people in the domestic violence industry should support the removal of the gun registry to look for additional funding. People keep forgetting there is only so much money and people that live in the same circles that seek funding for shelters are also the same people that pushed for the gun registry. Given the current political climate both conservatives and liberals could find common ground making Canadian citizens winners.
T.M.
August 18, 2009 - 6:38 PM
To Ms. Muonde: You have my respect and appreciation for helping women through the most devastating times of their lives. You have a front-line view in a sickening war. My commentary is NOT a quibble about inflated numbers. It is a criticism against those groups who wilfully present information in deceptive manner, so as to abuse the community's trust, with the sole purpose of profiting from poorly allocated tax dollars. Those tax dollars have to be used for services to people who require them. Instead, they are wasted on these illiterate and innumerate reports and the salaries of those who produce them. Shame on Shelley Page and the Citizen for foisting the distortion on the public 2 years in a row. And, Ms. Muonde, if it were up to me, I'd be funding you, not them.
Concillia Muonde , SASC OTTAWA
August 18, 2009 - 5:50 PM
The level of ignorance our society has on the realities of violence against women is appalling. The significance of the numbers of women who are turning to shelters says more about the society we live in. Here are the questions we should all be asking: Why do we allow violence against women in our community? What responsibility are we taking to make sure no one needs a shelter? What are we doing everyday to prevent violence against women? If we seriously ask ourselves these questions, we will not be arguing about the numbers being inflated, or women faking abuse and so forth and so on. Violence against women is everyone’s problem, we all need to act.
T.M.
August 18, 2009 - 3:24 PM
This one-year follow-up is very interesting. It clearly shows that neither the loudest activists on the issue of violence against women, nor the shelters themselves, have done anything at all over the past year to help their clients. Just a year ago, these same numbers were shown in their proper light, as criticism rained down on the "Vital Signs" report. A look at this year's report reveals the same abuse of mathematics for the sake of sensationalism and renewed funding for the report writers. "It is estimated that in a single year the 7 shelters collectively receive over 18,600 phone calls for service, averaging just over 50 calls per day in Ottawa." What Shelley Page and the report fail to point out is that there is no central phone number for a woman to call when she is seeking shelter! If all the shelters are full, one person will make 7 calls (at least) in one day, and be "turned away" 7 times. A simplest fix to actually HELPING women would be to establish a single phone number. This same solution was proposed by sensible critics of "Vital Signs", yet nothing was done. All of the recommendations included in this year's report are concerned with the funding for more data collection and more reports. It's time for the governments to use our tax money to help women in need, rather than self-perpetuating women's organizations who help nobody.
mt
August 18, 2009 - 1:15 PM
It is sad how uneducated so many posters are on this issue. The truth of the matter is, prostitutes and drug addicts also need a place to lay there heads. They have children too and they may also find their way into abusive relationships. As to whether or not the aggressors are immigrant men, I am sure some are, but the reality it, Canadian men are awfully good at abusing women. The numbers for violence against men by women: VERY low. Seriously, all this information is out there. Am I the only one who can read?
Michel
August 18, 2009 - 12:27 PM
I cannot help but wonder about the so-call priority of our elected officials... on one side, we have women shleters turning away vulnerable individuals, because they don't have the financial resources... on the other hand, we have politicians wasting millions of dollars on the gun registry...
truthfulness
August 18, 2009 - 6:04 AM
I can't believe people imagine living in a shelter with all its risk (bad ones ) to be fake , peole who decide to go to shelter are either homless or have no choice (and no money at all and no family to run away to ) which means they deserve to be in, I don't want to say bed bugs and addictd people go there with their drugs, sniffing and drinking just on the door of the shelter but the truth is they do, no mother will ever accept to go unless she is abused realy bad
Bruce
August 18, 2009 - 2:38 AM
I wonder how many shelters could have been built with the $2 BILLION wasted on the failed, useless Firearms Act?
JayPea
August 17, 2009 - 9:32 PM
Out of interest. How many assaults against men by women?
afterfostercare
August 17, 2009 - 7:07 PM
How many of these children end up in foster care? Why does a victim parent in an abuse situation have to lose their child because the "failed to protect their child" or because the child was exposed to abuse. Why does the law not apprehend the abusing partner, regardless of their sex and take them into a group home.

Nicholson should run for the NDP ~ NDP Remains No Dads Party

Press Release

Contact: Kris Titus Phone: 1-888-345-2262 ext.703

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 18, 2009

Nicholson should run for the NDP
NDP Remains No Dads Party
Is anyone else surprised at the amount of attention and coverage a backbencher bill that sits in the 200s on the order paper is getting?
The Canadian Bar Association, a 'vested interest' in the divorce industry and its continuation as a flawed means of handling family breakdown, asked for assurances from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson that he would not support Bill C-422 to amend the Divorce Act in favor of presumptive equal parenting at their annual conference.
With divorces in Canada costing $25,000 per person on average, is it any wonder the CBA would be out to protect the status quo?
Nicholson is quoted in many news publications as saying, the interests of children must take priority over a father's right to an equal parenting role after divorce, and "I believe, and I think most people who have been involved in family law or studied this, that the best interests of the child are always paramount . . . and should be." "I'll bet that's a slap upside the head to all the non-custodial mothers out there that relate to what fathers are going through," says Kris Titus, National Coordinator of F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada.
Fathers 4 Justice's mission is to tirelessly promote every child's right, in life and law, to be raised by both parents on an equal basis in the event of separation and/or divorce.
We further believe that such equality in parenting has been clearly shown to be in the best interests of children. "Why does everybody have such a hard time applying the same comments to mothers? Rob should have said the interests of the children must be taken over the rights of the father AND the mother. It's an absolute bias, absolutely! With comments like that, he's better off running for the NDP, the No Dads Party," says Titus. Speaking of the NDP. Their conference this past weekend provided them an opportunity to remake their name and their image. As reports from the conference show they did neither, continuing to focus only on domestic violence against women, they remain the No Dads Party. Maybe Mr. Layton should be afforded an opportunity to explain his party's position on the stand when the trial for the No Dads Party begins.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CONTACT: National Coordinator, Kris Titus 1-888-345-2262 ext. 703
National Website for more information about F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada Canada: www.f4jcanada.ca
-End

Vellacott calls for Canadian Bar Association to play constructive role in equal parenting debate

Maurice Vellacott, MP Saskatoon-Wanuskewin
For Immediate Release August 20, 2009
OTTAWA – MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) today called for the Canadian Bar Association to play a constructive role in the unfolding debate on equal parenting following divorce, in response to negative tones raised at the annual meeting of the CBA being held in Dublin, Ireland. Echoing Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s statement at the conference that best interests of the child must indeed be paramount in family law, Vellacott pointed out that “the central problem being addressed in my Private Member’s Bill is quite simply that ‘best interests of the child’ are not defined in the Divorce Act.” “It’s like having a car without an engine and a steering wheel, in which the only way to move the car is with lawyers pushing and judges supposedly steering, all of which is done at great expense to divorcing parents and taxpayers,” he continued. “It’s simply not fair to Judges, taxpayers, parents, and least of all the children of divorce,” he added.
“The unsubstantiated views voiced by a few CBA members at the conference are not constructive” Mr. Vellacott noted in reference to calls made by Meg Shaw reportedly on behalf of CBA to reject Bill C-422. “It’s time for a reality check. First, Canadians overwhelmingly support shared equal parenting according to polls. Secondly, social scientists have long confirmed that this arrangement is generally the optimal outcome for children as well as parents. Third, children themselves prefer continuity of relationship with both parents and associated family. Fourth, all political parties agreed 10 years ago in the “For the Sake of the Children” report that shared equal parenting was the way to go. Fifth, all indications point to growing non-partisan consensus in this parliament that it’s time to address commitments made by all parties a decade ago.” “Let me state for the record that Bill C-422 reflects extensive input from the Canadian extended divorce community, whose members well understand the realities of family law through trial by fire. In many ways, it is they who are the experts, and I also call upon all Members of Parliament to accord them the long overdue status as primary stakeholders in this complex issue,” Vellacott emphasized. Vellacott noted, “Working with the Canadian Equal Parenting Council, a coalition of 40 organizations, we have developed legislation that not only defines decision criteria for the best interest of the child, but also faces up to the contentious issues of child abuse and inter-partner violence. It represents a solid down payment for long overdue reform in family law.” Vellacott concluded, “I now call upon Mr. Kevin Carroll, the incoming president of the CBA, to join us in constructively refining the legislation. This is not only for the sake of the children, but ultimately for the sake of all Canadians.”
– 30 –
For more comment, call Maurice Vellacott at (613) 992-1966; (613) 297-2249; or contact Prof. Edward Kruk, M.S.W., Ph.D. at edward.kruk@ubc.ca; 604-822-2383, lawyer Karen Selick at karen.selick@sympatico.ca; 888-877-2154 (fax) or Toronto family law lawyer, Gene C. Colman at 416-635-9264.

Fathers 4 Justice campaigner 'elated' at court result

Thursday, August 20, 2009, 15:00

20 readers have commented on this story. Click here to read their views.

A FATHERS' rights campaigner who was jailed for his high-profile stunts has finally resolved an eight-year legal battle over access to his daughter.

Jonathan 'Jolly' Stanesby has hit the headlines for handcuffing himself to MPs, scaling American monuments and ultimately serving a prison sentence in his fight for joint custody of his ten-year-old.

Now, crippled by debt and "emotionally drained" from the gruelling legal process, the 39-year-old, from Ivybridge, has told The Herald his amazing story.

He described himself as "elated" by this month's court result, but hit out at the "oppressive" system which he says forced him to take such drastic action through the high-profile Fathers 4 Justice campaign.

Jolly said: "I've only ever asked for one thing: to be able to see my daughter.

"I'm obviously elated but I'm also very bitter about the whole experience. It destroys your life.

"Our system is not working, it's completely and utterly discriminatory and for me it's been a war against that bureaucracy since 2001."

Earlier this month, Jolly and his ex-partner issued an agreed statement stating that they had reached a shared care arrangement agreement which had been approved by a judge.

A founding member of Fathers 4 Justice, Jolly's fight for awareness has seen him climb monuments such as Stonehenge in fancy dress, sleep in cranes for a week and even handcuff himself to former children's minister Margaret Hodge.

Finally, after spending 24 hours on deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman's roof last June dressed as a superhero, he was hit with a two-month prison sentence.

The registered childminder, who had never been in trouble with the law until his custody battle began, ended up sharing a cell in Wormwood Scrubs with an international drug-smuggler and a man convicted of a stabbing.

He said the long battle had left him cynical, untrusting and angry.

"It was as though I was locked up for wanting to see my daughter," Jolly said. "She is now living with me half of the time and she's chuffed to bits – it's what we've always wanted.

"But it's left me completely emotionally drained.

"I'm still paying fines, I'm still in debt, I don't trust anybody and I'll probably never be able to go back to the work I loved now I've been to prison."

Jolly said police had visited his house in Manor Close more than 80 times, twice raiding his home and carting away his computer to gather intelligence.

He said: "Before this I had no criminal record, no involvement with the police whatsoever. But I've now been arrested and also suffered broken ribs and other injuries.

"I had my driving licence taken away and police were watching me all the time.

"I felt constantly targeted, like they were waiting for me to slip up.

"Every time I went to London two uniformed police officers would follow me everywhere, even into the toilet.

"When they raided my house they took everything, even pictures my daughter had done for me.

"But they brought it all back because I had nothing to hide.

"It was so emotionally crushing.

"I've felt like giving up many times but you're in a situation where you can't give up – it's your child."

Jolly said he had received dozens of letters of support from across the globe while in jail at Wormwood Scrubs and HMP Wandsworth, where supporters gathered outside to protest at his sentence.

He also spent a night in an American cell, chained at the feet after being arrested by an armed SWAT team when he scaled the iconic Lincoln Memorial to unveil a banner in 2007.

"I have feared for my life," Jolly admitted. "I was chased by the FBI when I went to New York to shut down the Brooklyn Bridge.

"They think differently out there – they told me if I didn't comply they would be forced to shoot me.

"They said it would make their jobs easier if myself, and another protester I was with, went with them to see the sights and went to restaurants and clubs so we did – they treated us like royalty and paid for everything.

"They said we were thought to be the biggest threat to New York at that moment; we had nine men on us.

"But Fathers 4 Justice has always been a non-violent organisation."

The stunts began just after Jolly and his ex-partner separated in 2000, with his daughter less than two years old.

He wanted greater access to his child and began the gruelling battle for shared residence.

He said: "I had a spacious house, I had great references, I was a registered childminder and I'd been helping in the nursery.

"I was the perfect picture of a dad.

"Then I went to court for the so-called final hearing and I felt I was completely and utterly humiliated.

"I was so angry – I left it a week then I climbed onto the Plymouth Courts' roof.

"I was overwhelmed by the response and it just snowballed from there – I had to get the message out there.

"But it wasn't really until I was in prison that I realised how much people are watching."

Jolly first hit the headlines when he staged a protest from the cab of a 100-foot crane in Exeter in 2003.

Then he took his campaign to the capital, proceeding to scale the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

He also staged a Christmas protest on Tower Bridge, took up residence on the Tamar Bridge, gatecrashed the Queen's Birthday Parade and stormed family law conferences with other activists.

At the height of Father 4 Justice's notoriety, the group was even falsely accused of plotting to kidnap then-Prime Minister Tony Blair's son – an accusation that still angers Jolly.

Now, despite securing shared residence of his daughter Jolly is determined to keep fighting for other fathers in the UK and beyond.

He said: "It's not about what you miss out on as a parent, it's what your child misses out on.

"Something like 280,000 cases went through the family courts last year and thousands more dads can't afford to take it that far.

"For years they had taken men out one by one and we'd never had a voice, but we've set the wheels turning now and I don't regret a single thing, even prison.

"The only thing I do regret is the fact I've had to go through it.

"It seems to be guilty until proven innocent for dads in the family courts – and it really hurts.

"For a father it starts with being out of the family home, then he has to apply to see his children, then the CSA starts contacting him for money and then most give up.

"Then he's made financially impaired – and on top of that he's emotionally drained."

Jolly said his own legal bills had run into tens of thousands of pounds, while the legal process took up so much of his time that he was forced to give up childminding and working for a local architects' firm.

His finances were hit so hard he was forced to give up land near Kingsbridge where he had been rearing sheep and, eventually, he had take up Legal Aid and claim benefits.

Jolly admits he found hard to cope with at times.

"You are constantly depressed," he said. "It takes over your life.

"In the end I couldn't work anymore and I've had counselling because I couldn't cope.

"I don't want to be out of work – I want to be a childminder and even foster children.

"But I couldn't give up the fight, how could a dad not want to see his daughter?

"Financially, it's the days in court, it's paying for parking, it's making phone calls to the solicitors – even ink for your printer all adds up.

"It can grind you down and make you give up.

"I know a number of people who have had to sell their houses and move back in with their parents after spending £50-60,000 on legal fees."

Half a dozen boxes packed with legal documents are testament to his eight-year battle, which has seen 23 separate agencies and hundreds of members of their staff take on the case.

Jolly is convinced the system is in place to keep people in work – not to benefit the children who have to go through the struggle.

He added: "Society's biggest asset is children.

"But it doesn't work in the interest of the child, it works in the interest of the resident parent, which is the mother in 97 per cent of cases.

"I think it's an oppressive system, but it employs a hell of a lot of people.

"At the end of the day it's all about money; a broken family causes big business, whereas a happy family doesn't.

"Children need stability and they need both parents in their lives.

"Research has proved that children without both parents are more likely to fall into gangs, crime, drugs, everything.

"One thing I found in prison was people were in there for things that mostly stemmed from family matters.

"A child like my daughter, who has seen eight years of this, is bound to be affected by it forever. How can she not be?"

Jolly, who reformed the group as New Fathers 4 Justice after one of its founding members left, is determined to take the campaign to other countries such as the US, where he says dads have similar difficulties.

He is currently in discussions with numerous other organisations about ways to take the campaign forward.

But he said that, for now, he is looking forward to finally being a dad again.

He added: "When you're cut off by the courts you're cut off from their school life, their friends, everything.

"I have a lot of catching up to do.

"My daughter can't wait to spend time with me, and she can't understand the system either – even at her age.

"It's the little things that I'm elated about now, like I've been able to get her a phone so we can talk whenever we want.

"She's very artistic, she plays the piano, does paintings and she loves animals.

"With Fathers 4 Justice, I don't want to see something I've started go to pieces so for that reason I'll continue.

"But my family comes first – that was always the reason in the first place."

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/FATHER-GETS-JUSTICE/article-1269449-detail/article.html?cacheBust=DPCD6aG3Avoj&success=true#community

  • All well and good as long as he is financially supporting the child!!!!!
    K, PLYM
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 17:11
  • I know Jolly and his daughter and from my knowledge of his case his daughter had to threaten to do what my three daughters actually did to be with me - run away to him. At that point the Family Courts simply cave in and give the child what he/she wants, as in Jolly's case and as in mine too. The family courts are corrupt to the core; they ignore all mothers' breaches of contact orders, refuse to enforce any orders for the Dad, accept all false allegations made against the father without any evidence and refuse to pay any attention to what the children want until they either threaten to take the law into their own hands, or as my kids did, actually just take the action for themselves. I went to court 133 times over ten years to see my kids, but the day they ran away a Judge simply FAXED a residence order to my house and that was it, all over. It cost the taxpayer in excess of One Million Pounds because no one wanted to hear what they were saying. That was now over six years ago and they all still live with me. Family courts operate in secret, so these appalling CAFCASS/Social Worker/Child experts can corrupt the process while the Judges simply let it happen. Make no mistake, thousands and thousands of child experts, Solicitors and Barristers are making an absolute fortune out of the bias and corrupt Family Courts who refuse to follow the intentions of the Children Act 1989, that Shared Residence becomes the norm when families break up. If these cases were properly dealt with at the point of family breakdown, that being every child will spend quality amounts of time with each parent unless very good reason exists to prevent it-and enforced where necesary-then all these leeches living off of parents misery would be made redundant, and that's why they do not support the Children Act's intent. Mark Harris, author, Family Court Hell
    Mark Harris, Plympton
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 17:01
  • Jolly: Only another dad in the same boat as you knows the love and passion for his child that causes us to want to change the system and do things in protest we would never have contemplated. An unjust system that needs reform requires men of your strength and resolve to change it as few others, like Nick from Plymouth have the gonads. As a fellow member of the international movement of F4J I salute one of the greatest achievements of a persons life - to regain parenthood of your child after having it removed arbitrarily and without evidence. We will continue to strive to get the system changed to treat parents equally and fairly from the beginning.
    Mike Murphy, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 17:00
  • Congratulations Jolly. It's been a long hard fight and finally you've won. You deserve it.
    Martin, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:52
  • as a little girl growing up a part of me was missing , part of my identity , i never even knew what my dad looked like ... i wish my dad had done what jolly did then i would have grown up feeling loved and wanted yes some women are awful my mom was to my dad x
    FAMILY JUSTICE GROUPS UNITED, stafford
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:47
  • Well done for your perseverence. You never hear the other side of it though do you. The thousands of kids who desperately want their dad to be part of their life but they can't be bothered, or have started a new family. There is no court order that can be made in those circumstances. My heart goes out to all those kids and to those mums that want a bit of support (and I am not suggesting financial but that wouldn't go amiss either). Best wishes
    Anon, Cornwall
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:42
  • congratulations on the outcome of your mission, its a pity that being a father was kept from you, it doesnt take courts to tell you that you are a father. pity the mother didnt realise this sooner?good to have both loving parents involved even if not together? well done..
    plyMOUTH, plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:38
  • I wonder if Jollys daughter will have much respect for her mother after what he has had to do just to see her and be her father , its discgrace how women can do that
    eugene, lipson
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:30
  • NICK I THINK UR A PRAT HIS DAUGHTER IDOLISES HIM AND AS A WOMAN WHO GREW UP WITHOUT A FATHER I WOULD BE SO PROUD IF MY DAD HAD MADE THE EFFORT HE DID !
    FAMILY JUSTICE GROUPS UNITED, STAFFORD
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:22
  • As a father myself i just want to say how i adore Jollys bravery. This an inspiring story for any dad , its a shame there isnt more decent people in the world like him .Your heart is in the right place , well done
    eugene, lipson
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:21
  • well done jolly from all of us you so deserve it a very genuine , caring supportive man xx
    FAMILY JUSTICE GROUPS UNITED, stafford
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:18
  • 'bout time. hurray for Jolly and his daughter! bunches of love and respect from the USA. time for all fit parents to have equal custody. shared parenting works. teri stoddard examiner.com
    teri stoddard, california, usa
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  • commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:16
  • Nick, just a quick note but Jolly did these stunts not through fun but because it was the only way ANYONE would listen to his side of things, those "stunts" have helped him gain joint residancy of his child who he's had little or no contat with for 8 years? Don't see you telling the mother her child, flesh and blood, is not a weapon to be used in a family split. No we don't know what went on behind closed doors so we can't make a judgement either way.
    Shell, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:15
  • Nick Plymouth, he opened a can of worms and has exposed the disgusting system, he is a hero to anyone in the know, as you are obviously clueless to the very sinister Social Services and Family Courts, lets hope and pray that when they come for your kids (and they're coming)that Mr Jolly will still be available to offer you advice on how to get them back, as you are fored to "voluntarily" hand them over...
    SSarepureevil, Midlands
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:14
  • The way the Family Courts work is an affront to the legal system. The only group of people who win in the end are the solicitors and barristors who try to make as much cash as they can by by making a living out of other peoples misfortunes. I find it quite unbelievable that Judges, appointed to uphold the dignity of the courts and to ensure a fair hearing of all, should wish to get involved in a system that is discredited and shameful. I wonder why? Congratulations Jolly. Your courage in fighting the system has been a revalation.
    plymptonjohn, plympton
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:13
  • Jolly, congratulations and well done. You have proved to not only the courts but to your daughter how much this has meant to you. We all at some stage giggled at you on roofs and thought you were mad, but it has all paid off and the biggest winner is your daughter, one very proud little girl. Shame not all fathers want as much to do with their offspring as you do. Dont give up on Fathers 4 Justice as there are many men out there in your situation, give them hope. :)
    Shell, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:11
  • Absolutely thrilled for you both. When so many Mums moan about absent fathers, why didn't the ex-wife bring this to a close sooner - for the absolute sake of her daughter? What a credit you are Jolly!
    Bemused, The Hoe, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:05
  • I personally think the blokes a prat, I wouldn't want any child of mine having anything to do with a father who pulled the stupid stunts he did, how embarrassing for the poor child. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors and all credit to the mother for keeping a dignified silence. Above all though, alls well that ends well. :)
    nick, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:03
  • Good luck to Jolly and all the other dad's out there who have been ground down and dismissed as unimportant to families. Latest reports show that dad's are more important in young boy's lives than mum's, the lack of fathers' influences has lead to the gang culture. Government policy and the courts have inflicted dangerous streets on the population by tearing apart families.
    Suzzy, UK
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 16:00
  • Not only justice for Jolly but his daughter too.
    Mr Justice, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 15:55
  • Well done! That's the spirit, never give in. I have two young daughters. Thankfully my relationship with Mrs Big Gay Larry is fine, for now. But who knows what the future holds. I for one have the utmost respect for this man, even on the days when I got to work late because he occupied the bridge. He only wanted to see his daughter, but was prevented by a punitive ex partner. Was that really too much to ask?
    Big Gay Larry, Saltash.
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 15:49
  • Justice for Jolly at last.
    Mr Justice, Plymouth
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    commented on 20-Aug-2009 15:18