We are active in the coalition Support Not Separation which campaigns to end the unwarranted and damaging separation of children from their mother or other primary carer.
What’s the problem?
The most common reason children are removed from their mother by family courts is domestic abuse. A mother can be blamed for failing to protect a child, even though she was the victim of that violence.
The father’s right to child contact trumps every other consideration - even safety and the child’s expressed wishes. Mothers who object to contact with violent fathers often find their reports of violence are disbelieved or dismissed as irrelevant. A common tactic by hostile fathers is to accuse mothers of ‘parental alienation’, invoking a discredited junk science that claims women and children lie about abuse in order to exclude a father from their life. Children’s objections and fears are commonly dismissed. They can even be removed and forced to live with an abuser, fostered or adopted.
Most of the mothers we are in touch with are women of colour and immigrant, who face structural prejudices. A 2020 government Review of the family courts found sexism, racism, disability and class discrimination are rife.
As part of SNS we are:
- Supporting mothers with their cases using the principles of self-help. SNS self-help Guide is widely used - mums say it's really useful.
- Building a network of self-help support groups, academics, lawyers, social workers and other professionals.
- Making mums' and childrens' needs and demands visible.
Monthly picket of Central Family Court
What you can do . . .
- Join us at the picket on the first Wednesday of every month 12.30-1.30 outside the Central Family Court in London with Support Not Separation to protest the unjust separation of mothers from our children! Boost the simultaneous protest via WAR on Twitter @AgainstRape and SNS #SupportNotSeparation / @NotSeparation
- Organise protests where you are.
- Set up your own mothers’ self-help support group.
- Write to the media to expose the injustices against mothers and children in family courts. (Don’t identify people as it puts child and mother at risk.)
We campaigned to get mums' demands for safety and resources into the Domestic Abuse Bill in 2021. See short films used to lobby the Lords during the passage of the STOP Family Courts aiding & abetting domestic abuse and End No Recourse to Public Funds
Read more at Support Not Separation Coalition blog.
Read more on family court issues
Domestic Abuse Bill in Parliament
See our latest short film: STOP the Family Courts aiding and abetting domestic abuse. Made by WAR & Support Not Separation. We are lobbying for the Domestic Abuse Bill to: recognise that domestic abuse victims are mostly women; provide vital resources so women and children can escape; extend all protections and resources to immigrant women …
Briefing 4: Report Stage Domestic Abuse Bill
Briefing 4: Report Stage Domestic Abuse Bill From Women Against Rape and Support Not Separation REPORT STAGE DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL, Monday 6 July We daily work with mothers who have suffered domestic violence and are fighting in the family court to protect their children from abusive fathers. Our experiences of sexism, racism, class and other …
PRESS RELEASE: Re government announcement to review the family courts
PRESS RELEASE: Re government announcement to review the family courts Why another review when all the facts are known? Where are the resources for mothers and children? We welcome the government’s announcement that the family courts must do more to protect victims of domestic violence, and that the presumption that a child’s contact with both …
BRIEFING 3: REPORT STAGE DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL
25 June: Oppose amendment proposed by Jess Phillips MP which would include children in the definition of victims of domestic abuse. We are inundated with cases of mothers who’ve suffered domestic violence fighting in the family court to protect their children from abusive fathers. Based on our experience over many years, we are very concerned …
Women’s group urges Parliament to reject ‘misogynistic’ MP’s amendments to Domestic Abuse Bill
Morning Star, 9 June 2020 Lamiat Sabin A WOMEN’S rights group called on Parliament today to reject “wrecking amendments” to the Domestic Abuse Bill proposed by Tory MP Philip Davies, who they say has a “misogynistic” record. The Shipley MP has said that attempts to use a child as a “weapon” by keeping them away …
PRESS RELEASE: Domestic Abuse Bill must go further and ensure family courts protect victims not perpetrators
The Domestic Abuse Bill is now going through Committee stage in parliament when amendments are considered. Some of its measures are welcome, but it must go further to stop violent fathers using the family courts to continue their reign of terror against women and children and avoid prosecution. The Bill must: End the legal presumption …
BRIEFING 2 RE: DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL
on behalf of Women Against Rape and the Support Not Separation Coalition Submitted to Public Bill Committee, 8 June 2020 Women Against Rape (WAR) is a multi-racial women’s organisation founded in 1976. It provides support, advocacy and information in individual cases. It campaigns for justice, protection and compensation for all women and girls, including asylum …
BRIEFING 1: Domestic Abuse Bill does not go far enough:
Women and children are entitled to resources and to family courts that support victims not violent men. The Domestic Abuse Bill is in Committee from Thursday 4 June, where they will discuss amendments. We are urging MPs to give women and children more protection. The Bill must go further in three key areas: 1. It …
DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL in Parliament today
MUST PROTECT MOTHERS and TACKLE WOMEN’S POVERTY The Domestic Abuse Bill is debated in Parliament again today – it must help protect women’s and children’s lives. The Bill introduces new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which should offer more protection in an emergency. But it must go further to tackle women’s poverty and the appalling …
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