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.