Dear Mr. Norgrove,
I wonder if just a few months is enough to fully consider all the facts relating to this enormous subject,I feel it is such a mammoth task more time may be required and I offer you all my research gleaned over the past 7 years and 3 years of publishing my findings from first hand experiences as well as other people's testimonies.
The misgivings I have uncovered in the family law system not only here in the UK but across the world has ramifications most especially on our young, their families and society as a whole and I hope the endeavours of your review will see it as a matter of urgency that these injustices are addressed and not some cost cutting expediency for this coalition Government. ( I apologise for my cynicism but years at the wrong end of family law will do that to a man!) Many of my contemporaries consider this could just be a fudge or whitewash but after completing the very detailed questionnaires last September feel this review should be given a chance and I was gratified for the final question which read 'what question should we have asked if you feel something has been missed?' to which I replied that I hoped you will consider the number of suicides that take place each year ( In Australia where records are kept 16,000 people have taken their lives through Family Court failure and CSA intimidation since November 2007 ) I would suggest in the UK and Canada the totals are probably double that in the USA it runs into 100,000's where the correlation between returning service personnel who then have to face broken relationships at home is just to much for one man to bear!!
Legal Professionals: There is great incentive for Solicitors and indeed Barristers rather then seek conciliation to cause still further agitation in sensitive matters as they can then make the most of the legal aid budget or rendering a parent, most often the father, bankrupt, all under the watchful scrutiny, of the Judge but of course all behind the secret family court. There is now a call for these judges to be scrutinised and courts to be opened up using the same safeguards as in criminal courts (Child A etc). I know you commended the work of theses so called professionals in your early considerations, but please look again as there is a darker side to this industry then I believe you are aware.
Grandparents: Once again I was dismayed by your early findings which much maline Grandparents.The role of the Grandparents is vital and I believe holds the key to fundamental reform of our failing Family Court system. Why is there such widespread Social Services or CAFCASS intervention in hitherto normal families? Surely if parents are experiencing difficulties the priority in the child's true best interest (not necessary the same as the court mantra wheeled out time and again.) is to keep the children within family care and Grandparents or extended family seems a more prudent and beneficial way to offer children stability then to rely on spurious snap shot reports from strangers which weak judges rely upon for their judgements.Grandparents should be equally responsible as parents in such cases and the law should reflect this.
Police: The Police have no real role in Family law proceedings and will admit as much , they are unable to enforce a court order on a mother who withholds her children in spite of dad standing there with his court orders waving over his head Chamberlain style ( and as much worth as the letter the war time leader was holding then) The Police unable to act will caution such a father that he could be arrested for breaching the peace and should return matters to court, but what for if the court order he has is not worth the paper it is written on?
CAFCASS: In my view should be disbanded as they have become lackeys or scapegoats for judges who can point to their reports when things go wrong, as they all too often do. Rather then rely on Social Services at all the courts should have access to previous family history records from a family doctor, so false allegations that emerge at these sensitive times can swiftly be quashed!
CSA : Should also in my opinion be disbanded as not only has it failed for over 20 years the tactics they employ are little more the draconian which I have likened to Gestapo and KGB as there is no accountability for their Sex discrimination Race discrimination or their breaches of human rights. Financial matters should be settled at court as part of the summing up process and in conjunction with contact and PR agreements.
I hope the Family Justice Review has recognised Parental Alienation which most often happens when the so called resident parents stops the so called absent parent (new name required here) is stopped from enjoying contact with his children ( More often Fathers but on occasion Mothers ) it should be outlawed as the psychological child abuse it is when a parent uses their own children as ransom to attain more money from a father or the system as she will show she is sole parent in spite of court orders to the contrary. Once again something the CSA will accept without the need to purse all the facts!
False allegations of abuse or violence should be dealt with as robustly as the genuine cases they undermine, and again Family GP records should be admissible to court or at least to the judge when it is clear there were no incidents before one parent wants to earn more kudos in this arena.
The solution I have arrived at for sometime and by coincidence a fellow campaigner did in Canada is to make legal aid available to both parties at the outset and one court appearance to be included in that cost. This will then focus minds on both parents doing the right thing for their children including contact arrangements and financial matters there after if a party wishes to return matters to court it has to be at their own expense and only refundable if proven that the alternative parent has not acted appropriately and stiff penalties for either parent who fails to adhere to the letter and spirit of the court order. This should mean no requirement for CAFCASS, SS or CSA intervention as long as the orders until the children reach secondary school age (12) can be enforced.
Family Courts should be opened to press and public scrutiney with the same safeguards in place for sensitive criminal cases but it is the Judges who we need to scrutinised. Once and for all recognise the biased and bigotry that exists in this industry and there should be law that makes both parents equal and responsible for their children in to adult hood. Mothers do not always know best and childhood is such a short span of time, lets get it right in their true best interest!
I rest my case!
I rest my case!
( View davey's campaigning site by clicking on this blogs title above)