Courts ‘not following law’ in domestic violence contact cases, group claims

Children|Family|Family Law|Relationships|November 9th 2012

Unsupervised contact is regularly granted to partners with a history of domestic violence, claims a disturbing new report published by legal rights charity Rights of Women and the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU).

The report, entitled Picking up the Pieces, is based on the specific experiences of women living in London who had been in abusive relationships, as well as the  legal professionals working with them. It claims that many courts do not properly allegations of domestic violence, minimise its impact and allow risky contact with violent  partners.

The report claims bluntly that courts often allow contact with abusive partners, despite the distress of children, injunctions and even criminal convictions for domestic abuse.

Some extraordinary claims and ones that no one working within the family law system will enjoy reading. Can it really be true, for example, that most judges presiding over these cases do not fully comply with judicial practice direction 12J? This requires judges to weigh up a number of issues when considering allegations of domestic violence in residence and contact orders – for example the effect of the alleged violence on the resident parent and the child, and the motivations of the parent who is seeking contact.

And yet, when the legal professionals surveyed were asked whether judges, in their experience, routinely followed this guidance, only ten per cent said they did. An overwhelming 74 per cent said they thought judges only “partially” complied with it.

As for the motivations of estranged partners seeking contact, a massive 79 per cent of the solicitors and barristers surveyed thought that power and control was a primary motivator for abusive partners seeking contact with their estranged families. Such professionals are exposed to families riven by domestic violence on a regular basis, so they are in a good position to make such judgements.

Elsewhere, the report also claims that 74 per cent of the women surveyed were often worried for their safety when attending court to discuss contact – fearing violence from their intimidating former partners even in the midst of judges and barristers. What a sad insight into the capacity of some men to cause fear.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I have written about family mediation before and it seems particularly pointless in cases where domestic violence has been alleged.

Picking Up The Pieces is brisk about mediation in such instances, pointing out the obvious risk of exposing women to further intimidation and empowering partners guilty of abuse. As the report rightly points out, successful mediation depends on an equal status and equal bargaining power between the parties. There is no such equilibrium in domestic violence cases.

And yet more than a quarter of the solicitor and barristers featured in the report said clients who had alleged domestic violence were sometimes required to attend a mediation session. Only one fifth of the respondents said they had never seen this happen.

This is a vivid and rather unsettling report which I think shines a spotlight onto what may be some genuine failings in an often overstretched family law system. It is peppered with the heartbreaking recollections of domestic violence survivors.

Earlier this week we reported on the government’s plans to legislate in favour of shared parenting. Here we see the dark side of contact and mediation between parents – when done in an indiscriminate, mechanical way, woman and children are put at real risk.

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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  1. JamesB says:

    Dont you ever get tired of man bashing Marilyn?

  2. JamesB says:

    I just looked at their website and they should know that independent feminist research is a contradiction in terms. I also expect most of them are lesbians.

  3. Chambers says:

    A picture of a distressed woman, text worried about women and children – This is exactly what is wrong with the professionals in the family court system – They only see DV with women being the victims.
    Of course 40%+ of victims are men, even fathers believe it or not are victims of domestic violence from mothers, what an extraordinary thought men victims of DV by women?
    40%+ of the children involved in DV see their mothers as the perpetrators. Is this understood or even acknowledged by those who work in the family court system? No.
    The easy and lazy way is to just say women are victims, men are perpetrators. Keep fathers at a distance and make them jump through hoops to see their children or remove them all together based very often on completely false allegations.
    The easy and lazy way is to just say women cannot be perpetrators, ignore allegations from fathers even when proven by criminal convictions for the mother. Keep the children with the mother despite her being a risk to the children because of her DV or allegations of DV about her.
    This is the complete hypocrisy and utter shambles that is the family court system when it comes to looking at domestic violence allegations.
    Domestic violence is a people issue, perpetrators are nearly as likely to be women. Victims just as likely to be men.
    Yet only allegations against men are taken seriously; allegations against women are ignored for the most part.
    False allegations are a form of Domestic Violence and perpetrators of this DV need to sanctioned including prison, community service, fines and removing their children from them.
    More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals Campaign group Parity claims assaults by wives and girlfriends are often ignored by police and media
    Assaults on men represent more than 40% of domestic violence in the UK. About two in five of all victims of domestic violence are men, contradicting the widespread impression that it is almost always women who are left battered and bruised, a new report claims.
    Men assaulted by their partners are often ignored by police, see their attacker go free and have far fewer refuges to flee to than women, says a study by the men’s rights campaign group Parity.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Thanks very much for your comments. I thought this post would prove controversial and I have of course mentioned domestic abuse by women against men. It certainly happens.

  4. Marilyn Stowe says:

    I don’t men bash! Actually I like men and think I prefer them overall to women…I seem to get on much better with men but maybe that’s because I work in predominantly a man’s world.

  5. JamesB says:

    Well, it wasn’t a balanced article and Chambers is right in all his (or her) detailed response to it.

  6. JamesB says:

    ok, well must just be part of your job then. There is institutional bias against men in family law and well you talk on the subject it shows and also does make you ‘appear’ messandarist, along with all the other ‘professionals’ in the area.

  7. JamesB says:

    Anyway, all the best, I appreciate you do at least listen, which is more than most family law judges.

  8. Thomas Fidler says:

    Thank you Chambers for shedding some light on the truth of this. I can especially relate to false allegations of domestic violence being a form of domestic violence itself.
    It most certainly is!

  9. JamesB says:

    in an attempt to lighten the mood on this subject. A professional detective on this subject did advise me that men die in the kitchen and women in the bedroom on this subject.

  10. JamesB says:

    Yes, I also had the false accusations of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect thrown at me also in an attempt to deny me contact and increase her settlement. Sad thing is it works now I see less and less of my children everytime I go to court. Hence why I write with passion on this.

  11. Russell Armstrong says:

    “Earlier this week we reported on the government’s plans to legislate in favour of shared parenting. Here we see the dark side of contact and mediation between parents – when done in an indiscriminate, mechanical way, woman and children are put at real risk.”
    And so to the crux of the issue
    If the courts take an honest view, taking on board evidence and other salient facts (i.e. has a pary got an alibi to an allegation), if they examine the details of the allegations properly then they should come up with the right answer 80% of the time.
    but they dont do they they havnt “got the time” so in order to give them an easy way out (of making a bad mistake) they say “shared parenting” is a dangerous thing to presume because……..
    In many respects it will make the judiciary more carefull the way they take on board testomony so that mistakes are not made
    Oh and I forgot, what is the job of a judge? Would it be to listen to the facts and formulate a correct opinon?
    Oh dear, then the judiciary had better go and get good at doing their job shouldnt they?
    By the way like all professions there are good, very good, avaerage, bad and very bad judges out there. The only problem for us mere mortals called the paying taxpayer is that there are no checks and balances to be able to sanction bad judges to get them to mend their ways and in the final solution kick them out of office

  12. JamesB says:

    ‘On the balance of probabilities’ doesn’t help either. Especially when the police will arrest and charge even an allegation without evidence (called positive intervention).

  13. JamesB says:

    It all stincks really if the woman plays all them cards, been there seen that, they also get no comeupance on such behaviour and more likely than not to win even if the allegations are more often than not completely false, as in my case.

  14. Observer says:

    It was only a matter of time before this misogynist propaganda appeared here.
    It’s also curious that domestic violence is ONLY ever mentioned in the context of child custody cases and family law matters. Outside of these, nobody seems to care about the issue. That sends a pretty clear message that these organizations that are only concerned with rights are really just concerned with maintaining power, possession and control over offspring, and will lie and cheat in order to do so.
    The only violence I am familiar with is that which happens in court to dads, and more importantly, that inflicted on children by the one parent who cruelly puts them in the middle.
    Interesting that there are not 1001 charities trying to highlight that narrative though….

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Domestic Violence is not just related to child issues. It can happen any time any place when one party snaps. It may be slow burn or fast, but it can be remorseless, unrelenting and brutal.
      I have witnessed the outcome of domestic violence on my clients, the vast majority by men on women, and in one terrible case it cost my client her life.
      That is why I know it genuinely is a problem and although plenty of men couldn’t imagine committing a crime on women, it does happen, and it happens a lot.

  15. JamesB says:

    It’s a shame so many women cry Wolf, doesn’t help the honest ones in that situation that most of the time it’s bull.

  16. JamesB says:

    I also remember a barrister telling me he had my post then when I reached for it snatching it back and growling at me, just before we went into court to wind me up. SIck really the way these so called ‘professionals’ behave very unhelpful to society.

  17. Chambers says:

    Marilyn, the reason why you probably see more allegations by women regarding DV is that men generally simply would not bother to tell you or other professionals in the family courts when they are victims of domestic violence, because they know they will not be believed and it will harm their chances of seeing their children.
    Men are the victims 40% + of the time in DV, so why the big disparity between what the professionals at court see and the research?
    It is because fathers know if they raise allegations of DV in the court their chances of seeing their children are further reduced because they simply will not be believed and will just be see as undermining the mother.
    Many mothers going through separation are far more likely to make false allegations and report actual cases of DV than fathers because they know they will be believed by the system, and it will help their case and give them access to Legal Aid etc.
    The result is that many real victims of DV remain silent because they fear reducing their chances of maintaining or re-establishing their relationships with their children. Whilst many perpetrators of DV end up remaining the primary carer of children, simply because they are women.
    With no sanctions for false allegations whatsoever in the family court system and rewards for making false allegations (Legal Aid, sympathy and delay/stopping contact with a father) its no wonder it is almost to be expected in cases before the court.
    So professionals in the courts should not be at all surprised that they get cases which reflect their own expectations for the most part, because the system is set up to encourage and expect that mothers are victims and to dissuade fathers from revealing they are victims, despite the overwhelming research showings its just about similar for both genders in many aspects.
    The Police and other institutions had to go through many years of reforms in the past because of the institutional racism they could not recognise while other outside could see it plain as day.
    The family court professionals as the Police prior to the reforms only see what they want to see when it comes to DV. There is need for whole scale reform of the family court system so that the long-standing institutional prejudicial practices that demonise fathers for the most part and treat them as second class parents whilst mothers are seen as victims and primary carers is begun to be swept away.
    Many of those working in the family court system simply do not understand and cannot comprehend that their practices are perpetuate bias and crucially leave children in dire situations regarding a relationship with both of their parents and in plenty of cases leaving them with actual perpetrators of DV because these perpetrators are mothers.
    Home Office ‘Intimate Violence’ 2010/11
    Intimate Violence
     According to the 2010/11 BCS, seven per cent of women and five per cent of men
    experienced domestic abuse in the last year, equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million
    female and 800,000 male victims.
     In 2010/11, estimated levels of domestic abuse experienced in the last year were at
    the lowest levels since 2004/05 when the self-completion module was first included in
    the BCS. There has been no statistically significant change in the level of domestic
    abuse since 2008/09.
     Around six per cent of women and four per cent of men experienced partner abuse in
    the last year, equivalent to around 900,000 female and 600,000 male victims.
     Non-physical abuse (i.e. emotional and financial abuse) was the most common type of
    abuse experienced by both female (57%) and male (46%) partner abuse victims.
     Female victims of partner abuse were more likely than males to suffer from nonphysical abuse, threats and sexual assault, but apparent differences between the
    sexes for abuse involving force and stalking were not statistically significant.
     Around a quarter (27%) of partner abuse victims suffered a physical injury as a result
    of the abuse. Among those who had experienced any physical injury or other effects
    (such as emotional problems), around a quarter (28%) received some sort of medical

  18. Observer says:

    “it does happen, and it happens a lot”
    Be that as it may, tell this to any separated dad, and they will not believe you. And you’d have to forgive us, I’m afraid. We live in a country that rewards women in family court for false allegations, rewards women for this form of domestic violence, which still goes unrecognized. It’s a shame that the 1-in-a-million really is a victim, be it a man or woman.
    What is alarming is that the domestic violence rhetoric is so embedded in family law, rather than treated as a separate concern. This does not seem to be an accident. As I said, this sends the clear message that making accusations of domestic violence is not only rewarding for mom, but very profitable for the lawyers that elicit such accusations.
    Frankly, dads have had enough of this one-sided misogynist rhetoric. You’d think women have too, since it reduces them to pathetic weakling victims, which they clearly are not.
    Someone above quoted that 40% of the time, the woman is the perpetrator. I’d venture that it is astronomically higher than this, for the reasons that men usually do not report this sort of thing, and also because our culture is such that it disapproves strongly (and rightly) of male violence, but still seems to glorify female violence against males as a sign of liberation and freedom from patriarchal shackles.
    The truth is always harder to acknowledge though….

  19. Observer says:

    Chambers is right I’m afraid. And I’m sure you, Marilyn, have advised your male clients not to speak of what they have suffered at the hands of their female spouses. You as well as I know that males caught up in this abusive family court circus come across as vexatious (that’s the term, isn’t it?) if they say anything truthful in court. Fathers who want any contact are routinely advised just to bow down, bite their lip, say the silliest nicest things about mothers who were actually violent toward them. Is it any wonder that we then get the twisted perception that most violence is committed by men?

  20. Yvie says:

    ‘Be sure not to say anything about the mother’. This is advice which is given all the time by solicitors and if dads are to gain meaningful contact with their children, it is advice that is well worth heeding.
    I am not suggesting that is right, but it is the way things are.

  21. JamesB says:

    Yeah, the other one is “just take what she offers”, by way of contact. If you are a male littigant (defendent) and open your mouth in a family court, you are automatically wrong, vexatious, child and woman abuser, etc etc.

  22. Paul Gilson says:

    I was hurt quite badly by the mother of my child and I can vouch personally for the fact that right through the system, from criminal justice through to family justice, the allegations I made were treated with both disdain and disinterest. The lesson I learned was that if you’re a bloke, don’t bother, particularly if you have child contact issues at stake.
    Rights of Women come across as a hateful organisation with a one way street agenda.

  23. Paul Gilson says:

    The other DV-related insanity in family law is the phoney no-notice non molestation order where an instant return hearing is never granted to the father but is instead merged into a contact application process and left to fester for months, at the culmination of which the true perpetrator – the mother with her bogus claims – is never brought to book. But the damage of course has continued to accrue to the father and his child throughout.

  24. JamesB says:

    One part of the process I fell foul of and cost me months of contact with my children is as follows :
    1. Ex calls the Police and lies that I assaulted her.
    2. Police (on the basis of positive intervention) arrest and charge and bail me on the above, despite there being no evidence. This policy is that the police should always arrest and charge these cases unless there is reason not to.
    3. Ex gets non mol and occupation order from Family court on the basis that there must be evidence else the police wouldn’t have arrested and charged me. Judge found I had used or threatened to use violence on the balance or probability. Complete b*&^%ks! Very bad abuse of the system and one I have since heard is commonplace and often advised by lawyers to get the men out of the house and the children with the women.
    4. I get found not guilty because wasn’t true and no evidence.
    By which time damage is done and I end up with bugger all time with the children and the locks on the house changed etc. Sick legal process.
    Another one I advise to be weary of is women being advised to say “I’m in fear of You!” – something which cannot be proved either way, so also means you get ousted and less contact (to safeguard the women) and also stinks. All this does bring the law in into disrepute and saddens me and a lot of men. Hopefully will be used less and less. I did complain to the police and have been advised that in this area the positive intervention policy is being withdrawn. That is a start. And one I suppose the women’s groups oppose. The policeman who handled my complaint said it generated too many complaints.

  25. JamesB says:

    One other thing. Put me in CAFCASS’s bad books all this nonsense.
    Also, when I said I was tired of being assaulted upon handovers Judge said if I wanted to complain about that I needed to submit an application.
    Whenever she made any unsubstantiated allegations, she automatically got a court hearing date resulting in changes to contact and ouster orders, non molestation, occupation orders, etc. It’s one rule for the women and one for the men. The family law courts are run by men hating people.
    All this talk brings back bad memories this thread for me and many others I expect, I just wanted to help those who may be going down this route.
    Always have a witness present if your ex wants to stitch you up.
    I’d rather talk about something nicer. Xmas is coming and the Xmas lights in town look nice.

  26. JamesB says:

    p.s. A lot of this (false accusing) is done to generate a false de facto status quo without the man. Women should be penalised for making up such nonsense. It is better for father and mother to be more co-operative for their childrens’ sake. Ending on a positive note.

  27. Paul Gilson says:

    The police are the worst of the worst when it comes to the application of article 8 to separated fathers and their children, no matter the positive obligation they are under to support that right. On challenging my own arrest for barely-suspected DV, I was told unashamedly by the custody officer that it ‘is force policy to arrest any man accused of domestic violence’. Forget the niceties of evidence, witness credibility, wider situational awareness or the individual constable’s personal code of conduct, if you’re a male accused of DV you get arrested and marched out in front of the neightbours too, as a ‘perp walk’ extra for good measure.

  28. JamesB says:

    99% of these allegations never even get to trial in a ‘proper’ (non-feminist, family law court) court, where beyond a reasonable doubt is the burden or evidence required to convict as that is usually a barier too high for them, because there is usually no evidence as the allegations are made up. In femist family law court where the burden of evidence is on the balance of probabilities, no evidence is required, thus the ‘conviction’ for DV for ouster orders etc is usual and also unsound and so unconvincing that the court will probably then contradict itself by ordering unsupervised access to the children, yes. The moral of the story? Don’t get married or go to feminist family law court.

  29. JamesB says:

    “Dead Man Walking!” Paul 😉 , joking.

  30. JamesB says:

    Actually, thinking about it, this is an advert in making sure you vote in the Police elections this week. Alienating 50% of the population through dodgy feminist policies isn’t really what Policing by consent should be about.

  31. Observer says:

    I’m sure if more people knew and had the time to contribute to this blog, what you’d find is that what Paul, James, Yvie and others describe is a pretty set pattern.
    James’ point about courts routinely telling dads to make further applications if they want to be heard on any matters other than those that they need to discuss in order to defend themselves from the perjuring opponent is also a very good one. I’ve witnessed this dozens of times.

  32. JamesB says:

    Yes, and the opposite is the case for the women, they bring up anything and Judge will hear it or book one in for them, up to and including final hearing. Bloke says anything, court don’t want to know.

  33. JamesB says:

    Same is the case for Cafcass, the police an the rest of these feminist institutions.

  34. JamesB says:

    Touched a nerve for me this thread, definitely.

  35. JamesB says:

    Come on, with a bit of help we can make 40 comments.

  36. Andrew says:

    Not all abusers are men. My friends girlfriend ripped his piercings out of his nipple and ear among other things. I remember he was found sleeping in a friends greenhouse because she was out looking for him. Often when men are battered they face nothing but stigma when they try to find help.

  37. Melanie says:

    This story has hit the nail on the head. I was abused by my ex partner. The first judge I saw in the family courts. Allowed him to abuse me and my children further. First the barrister representing me told me what he had done was not that bad. And I should just walk away. This leaving me and my children homeless. The judge, was annoyed that I had no legal representation, because I could not afford it and shuck my ex partners hand when he tossed us out if our family home. The system is disgusting. And further abuses the already abused.

  38. JamesB says:

    Yep, Judges and Lawyers only talk to Judges and Lawyers. You buy the result in court, so many examples, John Terry and OJ Simpson to name but two.

  39. JamesB says:

    And that in itself is illegal, but it’s one law for the establishment and one for everyone else. Law and justice should be accessible without money, but it is not.

  40. JamesB says:

    Worse in other countries but not good in this country also.

  41. JamesB says:

    The problem is no fault divorce.

  42. JamesB says:

    Wrt finances.

  43. JamesB says:

    And in General and in itself.

  44. Name Witheld says:

    What Chambers, James B. and observer have been posting has certainly been my experience in all of this…to a T!
    It saddens me that so many innocent fathers are removed from their childrens lives without evidence or concern as I have been and to the detriment and against the wishes of the children.
    Then you have true victims like Melanie who are not properly protected. I don’t see how that is possible as in my experience their was no need for evidence, collaboration or investigation. She said so, therefore it must be true and POOF! just lke that I have only seen my children rarely and under supervised visitation.
    I believe Melanie and that their are victims of true violence not being properly protected. I just don’t understand how it occurs when in my experience, all that was required was her to say “I am in fear” and the fact we lived together for 13 years with never any violence in the home and despite our children being age 11, they were never even asked. Had they been asked they would both have stated they had never seen even a single argument in their entire lives between their father and mother, that they had never even recieved a spanking let alone abuse at the hand of their father and that their mother scares them more then their father and that they miss and wish to be with their father.
    But 5 minutes with the children to determine the truth was far to much for the court to concern itself with, after all the mother said it was so, why would their be any need for further investigation? It’s absolutely disgusting!

  45. JamesB says:

    Yes, the “I’m in fear of you” line completely threw many when my ex started using it, it just didn’t sound right and was so obviously false, but, it’s like some of the other lawyers tricks. For UB divorce for example saying the other party is not affectionate enough, or that they are over demanding of sex or over concentrate on their career. A means to an end. Except that a menas to an end to remove Dad from the children is an immoral profession and evil in itself but I do accept their are good lawyers and bad lawyers.
    When I first saw my first solicitor the first question she asked me was “Who is acting for your wife?” When I told her she gave a big sigh and pulled a face. Some lawyers do like to make things bad and ramp up the fees, some do not, how should someone choose? I suppose a fixed price would be nice, I was so pleasantly surprised how other smoothly other lawyers work such as conveyancing goes through.

  46. Rosie says:

    Thank you Marilyn for publishing this. It is absolutely true, talking from personal experience. Myself and my son have been subjected to further domestic abuse due to the courts not taking DV seriously, and favour the father’s right to see his child over the child safety. The fact is, if a man is prepared to abuse a woman (the sole carer of his child), either physically, psychologically, verbally or sexually, how can he be deemed safe to care for the child whom relies on the health and well being of his mother for his survival.

  47. Stitchedup says:

    I’ve been through the whole no-mol and occupation order process and can confirm what many above have said – for men it is a complete stitch-up. Women know exactly how to play the game and if they don’t a quick visit to their local women’s aid or a chat to a sympathetic wpc or solicitor will arm them with all the key words/phrases to use that will press all the right buttons for the judge. My ex made all sorts of untrue claims when apllying for an ex-parte order which was granted. It was served on me 8pm on a Thursday evening, hearing 10am Monday morning, no time to get legal advice and little time to research the law and prepare my case. It was clear to me that I was in a position of guilty until proven innocent…. the order is made now prove your innocence. I didn’t contest the occupation order, I had simply had enough of her shit, but i did contest the non-mol as I wasn’t prepared to live with the stigma. However, the judge was quite open about it telling me it wasn’t a high hurdle for the applicant to get so not to bother appealing as it would only cost me more money… .a total carve-up.
    I ended up getting convicted for breaking the non-mol as I spoke to my ex, no violence or threats. Now have a criminal record, restraining order that just instructs me not to speak to ex, got 250 hours community service and 1 years supervision. Totally, Totally over the top…. completely mad.
    Since when is speaking to somebody something you shouldn’t be normally be doing???
    My defence was reasonable excuse but the judge wouldn’t entertain any argument of reasonable excuse unless it was a life or death matter….. a complete load of bollocks… why the hell do you want to convict a man for talking to his partner of 20 years with whom he has 2 childern, a family home and numerous other assets???
    Divorce and separation are highly emotional times, why make criminals out of people for showing emotion??

  48. Luke says:

    “Elsewhere, the report also claims that 74 per cent of the women surveyed were often worried for their safety when attending court to discuss contact – fearing violence from their intimidating former partners even in the midst of judges and barristers. What a sad insight into the capacity of some men to cause fear.”
    74% (!) of women said they were worried for their physical safety ? Let’s get this straight, the claim is that 3/4 of the married male population are violent and dangerous towards their wives !!!
    What are these women doing married all that time, almost always without a mention of all this violence, to all these supposed violent and dangerous men – often for decades – and how come they are still alive to tell the tale ???
    What a joke.
    The only insight we get from this is the capacity of many women to make baseless accusations in order to advantage themselves in court – oh, and of course the ridiculous situation where the family courts give them that advantage with no evidence at all.

  49. Stitchedup says:

    The courts and judciary have become infected with feminist political correctness when it comes to family law. All we hear quoted is the statistic that 2 women a week are murdered by current or ex partners, so that justifies treating every separated dad as a potential murderer… it’s simply too dangerous for a man to display any emotion. Nobodby mentions that 1 man is killed every two weeks by their current or ex partner, or that the suicide rate in men is far higher than women…. the main reason… family breakdown and the barbaric way men are treated by fmily courts.
    Men are simply expected to leave their shirt at the door, give up the right to see their kids, loose everything they’ve worked towards for the past 20 or 30 years and start over again at 40 or 50, keeping a smile on their face, not saying a bad word about it.
    All the research shows that women resort to psychological and emotional abuse far more than men, using the threat of family breakup as the ultimate weapon; family courts need to wise-up to this.
    The divorce figures say it all…. 68% initated by women , 28% jointly, 4% by men. Women in the UK are simply far less committed to long term realtionships and a stable family life than men, and they’re fully aware they have the upper hand in the family courts.
    “As regular readers of this blog will know, I have written about family mediation before and it seems particularly pointless in cases where domestic violence has been alleged.”
    Family mediation should always be the first option, and as a family lawyer you should be promoting this. However, women rarely take up the offer, particularly if the man is making moral arguments rather than legal arguments as they know they have the upper hand in court.
    Another perverse outcome is that since the judiciary have promoted mediation, and made it known that they will not look kindly on those that refuse, women are making false allegations of DV to justify refusing mediation; often with a little nudge in the right direction from their solictor or one of the feminist political organisations such as Women’s Aid.
    My ex initiated the split claiming ,after 20 years!!!, that we were incompatible, I’m the outdoors type she isn’t. Bollocks, the reason was I had lost my job, she wasn’t perpared to put up with some tough times and, let me put it politely, allowed her head to be turned.
    I wouldn’t agree to her initial settlement and offered family mediation to come to agreement. She then applied to the family court for a settlement agreement and an order of sale of the house, and suddenly out of nowhere, claims hat the relationship wasn’t without incidences of DV. Sick cow,
    couldn’t tell the truth, put her hands up and play fair.

  50. justamummy says:

    My experience is completely opposite of your comments, my ex partner claimed domestic violence towards me (a woman) to gain legal aid for court proceedings, with no proof or evidence, who previous to starting court action hadn’t bothered with our child for months, i had to email him to ask him to please pick up the phone and speak to her, this was seen as harrasssment on my part, both men and women seem to be able to manipulate the system to suit there own needs without opposition,

  51. S says:

    the system is dangerously open to abuse, more often than not it’s a case of who makes the first allegation wins. I was served an harassment notice just because I dared to ask personal property to be returned.. no threats or bad language use. I had called the police for advice, the call centre told me they would arrange for a PC to meet my at the house where my ex-partner was staying to get the items returned. Instead she returned framed photographs via our son and the police then issued me with a harassment warning because I had also asked for bank statements to be returned which were considered joint property; I bent over backwards to avoid this sort of thing happening. Of course when in court her solicitor made a huge issue out of the whole thing just to get the upper hand. It seems I was more in the wrong asking for property to be returned than she was for taking my personal property without my permission… the world has gone mad.

  52. Luke says:

    “I have witnessed the outcome of domestic violence on my clients, the vast majority by men on women, and in one terrible case it cost my client her life.
    That is why I know it genuinely is a problem and although plenty of men couldn’t imagine committing a crime on women, it does happen, and it happens a lot.”
    I understand that that might be your experience Marilyn but it is not in any way typical – the following link might help. Women commit as much or more domestic violence than men.
    I know the feminists won’t like to see it, but it does appear to be the case.

  53. Stitchedup says:

    I wouldn’t put that link on the Guardian Womens pages “Comment is Free” (Cif) …. you will be barred immediately!!
    Marilyn made a commnet in another article saying that the family courts were doing a pretty good job!!! It beggars belief that anybody can make such a comment when we have 1 million children living without fathers, a massive difference in the number of divorces initiated by women 68%, men 4%; men being threatened with custodial sentences for talking to women or for having a diagreement about the selling price of the family home!!! etc etc…
    The truth is the lawyers like it this way… it’s an easy day’s work for a solicitor to get a non-mol- just a signed affidavit and a form to fill in, no burden of proof to worry about and the judegs are simply too scared not to issue them. They take the attitude that it doesn’t stop a man from doing something he shouldn’t be doing anyway, and it doesn’t affect the man as long as he doesn’t break it…… complete ad utter bollocks! Non-mols put men in an incredibly precarious position…. a custodial sentence for talking!!!??? since when has talking been something you shoudn’t normaly be doing????? Then there’s the stigma, the word MOLESTATION for god sake, has sexual connotations and conjures up all sorts of things.

  54. eyeslegal says:

    isn’t this amazing, so many men here saying it is women who attack men, poor men etc all having their own little axe to grind. Lets look at the statistic shall we?
    ‘around two women a week are killed by their current or former partner’ (Home Affairs Select Committee (2008)).
    ‘domestic violence is the largest cause of morbidity worldwide in women aged 19 -44, greater than war, cancer, or motor vehicle accidents’ (ibid).
    51% of homicides against women were most likely to be committed by a partner or ex-partner, (ONS 2011/12).
    and I am not even going to go into detail about the number of suicides taking place as a result of domestic violence where the women has been totally unable to cope and finds death to be the only way out.
    But still – go ahead – feel hard done by and its a load of feminist tosh when mothers, daughters aunts and nieces are dying!
    Oh, and you will find, you poor things, that generally the statistics support it being other men (not necessarily partners) who are the main cause of the death of men.

  55. eyeslegal says:

    isn’t this amazing, so many men here saying it is women who attack men, poor men etc all having their own little axe to grind. Lets look at the statistics shall we?
    ‘around two women a week are killed by their current or former partner’ (Home Affairs Select Committee (2008)).
    ‘domestic violence is the largest cause of morbidity worldwide in women aged 19 -44, greater than war, cancer, or motor vehicle accidents’ (ibid).
    51% of homicides against women were most likely to be committed by a partner or ex-partner, (ONS 2011/12).
    and I am not even going to go into detail about the number of suicides taking place as a result of domestic violence where the women has been totally unable to cope and finds death to be the only way out.
    But still – go ahead – feel hard done by and its a load of feminist tosh when mothers, daughters aunts and nieces are dying!
    Oh, and you will find, you poor things, that generally the statistics support it being other men (not necessarily partners) who are the main cause of the death of men.

  56. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why it is so hard for people to admit that both women and men do horrible things. This seems to be increasing because children are growing up without the love and moral guidance of both parents involved
    In presenting your distorted and inflated statistics to each other, moreover, all you are doing is turning the whole thing into a gender war, and forgetting the young souls who are growing up with little more than your hatred on their minds.
    The future is looking grimmer.
    One of the few people who seems to be trying to correct this, in spite of the all the organizations and law firms who are only concerned with money, is Karen Woodall. She is one of the few who has not forgotten that there are children in the middle.

  57. Stitchedup says:

    excuse me if I cut and paste from some of my previous posts.
    I don’t see anybody denying that Domestic Violence exists. What I see are people saying that the phenomena is being exaggerated, and that non-mols etc have become part of the gamesmanship in divorce and separation. The system is way too open to abuse and designed to fail.
    I’m reliably informed that the biggest problem for the Police is spotting the genuine, serious cases of domestic violence amongst the noise caused by gamesmanship and minor domestic disputes.
    The DV card is routinely played in divorce and separation, push any lawyer far enough and they will admit this. However, some will say it is a price worth paying, tough on anybody that has been given a raw deal…. I strongly object to this attitude.
    Domestic violence does not mean violence anymore. The definition of domestic abuse/violence has been widened to the extent that it is simply too dangerous for a man to have a disagreement with a woman. All she has to do is claim he’s using his physical size to intimidate, no violence and no proof needed, just a claim. This will be enough to obtain a non-mol and gagging order in the family/civil courts on the balance of probability.
    This will then be used to oust a father from his home and restrict access to his children. Also, one slip of the tongue from a man that has lost his family and home, experiencing one of life’s most stressful events, and he could go to prison. Again, the slip of the tongue doesn’t have to include threats, it could just be that the woman answered the home phone when he called to speak to the children.
    None of the above will solve the 2 women a week issue because non-mols don’t stop murders. If a man is prepared to kill he has gone past caring what a family court judge has ordered.
    Women can be violent also, one man is killed every two weeks by their female partner and I’ve heard that on average, 1 child a week is killed by a parent, usually the mother. So you will also see people objecting to the issue being genderised in the way it is.
    So to the points you’ve raised:
    “Around two women a week are killed by their current or former partner’ (Home Affairs Select Committee (2008)).”
    – Around one child a week is killed by a parent, usually the mother, and one man is killed every two weeks by his current or ex partner.
    ‘domestic violence is the largest cause of morbidity worldwide in women aged 19 -44, greater than war, cancer, or motor vehicle accidents’ (ibid).- The UK is not like the rest of the world.
    51% of homicides against women were most likely to be committed by a partner or ex-partner, (ONS 2011/12). – That still doesn’t mean that women are les violent than men or that men attack women more often than women attack men. Men are better able to defend themselves but also more likely to inflict injury as a result being naturally more strong.
    “I am not even going to go into detail about the number of suicides taking place as a result of domestic violence where the women has been totally unable to cope and finds death to be the only way out.”
    Are you aware that the suicide rate in men is more than three times that of women?? , and men are more likely to suffer a detriment to their health as a result of divorce and separation

  58. I says:

    I am a woman who has been through DV, the violence started when I got pregnant. Ex was obsessed with my body image at a tiny size 4, he demanded I have an abortion to which I refused given that we were married for two years . I went on to have the baby and he made it clear that that I’ll be solely responsible for the child’s physical and emotional and financial needs. I was young at the time and accepted this, when I fell pregnant the second time he beat the pregnancy out of me; I lost the baby.. By this time I was suffering from depression and seemed help in the form of therapy. A year later I fell pregnant again and this time The beating sent me into preterm labour at 26 weeks gestation, I still went back to him after he begged for forgiveness. I eventually left him for good when the second child was 3 months old, I finally plucked up the courage to report incidents to police when he started threatNing me for leaving him. I became children’s primary carer for the past three years but allowed him to have children for weekends and holidays.
    A year ago he had asked my permission to receive benefits in the name of one of the children for housing benefit purpose as he couldn’t afford his rent, I felt sorry for him but my family warned me not to trust him so I refused. After this I received several calls from police and social services about alleged numerous abuses towards children made by my ex and non was followed through. He was building a case against me by using my depression.
    Four months ago after taking the children for the weekend he refused to bring them back at the agreed time, he text to say “see you in court” after I called to ask why he was taking long to bring them back. At the first court hearing he made so much allegations that the judge asked me to prove my mental health and other issues whilst banning me any contact, second hearing judge didn’t read any of our statements, ex didn’t have evidence but I had over 50 of them but I was self representing myself and his barrister got more chances to talk. He had claimed children were scared of me and not wanting to talk or see me, judge took their every word for gospel and ordered supervised visits. His solicitor dragged her feet to issue the order judge ask them to write up and ended up waiting a month until next hearing when another judge ordered supervised visits again and it took two months from previous hearing before I finally got contact.
    Supervised visits went great as his claims were refuted, now Cafcass have written a section 7 report that acknowledged him to be a high risk dv perpetrator, recommends he takes a course to reflect on his behaviour but also recommends that children stay with him as they have been through a lot and any change could affect their education and emotional wellbeing, and oh oldest child at 7 expressed in her wishes and feelings interview that she wants to be back with me, youngest is only 3 so she was not interviewed. Now final hearing to take place next week.
    My ex has used the courts to get these results and courts allowed him to continue the abuse, so for all you guys blaming women and saying court treats women claiming false dv highly. WRONG…
    The family court can be biased on both sides. I can’t think why they acknowledge his violence and abuse but yet favoured him.
    1: is it because I was self represented?
    2: is it because am black and he’s white (hate to use the race card) but I imagine had he been black this wouldn’t have turn out this way.
    3: is he paying these court officials
    The only reason why they were forced to acknowledge his abuse was because there were mountains of evidences I presented but even that was not enough to stop the abuse that is still taking place in the courts.
    PS: I am so confused with the family court system, please help me understand…!

  59. Stitchedup says:

    “so for all you guys blaming women and saying court treats women claiming false dv highly. WRONG…
    The family court can be biased on both sides.” But more often biased in favour of women. As you said yourself, if he was black you think it may have gone your way; the woman’s way. Perhaps we’re actually on the same side, you hint at potentially racial bias we have experienced copious amounts of gender bias and we observe it everyday in policies, judgements, sentencing etc etc etc..

    • Stitchedup says:

      By the way, I don’t want to appear unsympathetic. If you’ve suffered the physical assaults you described that clearly amounts to genuine physical domestic violence, and the police/courts should have locked him up given there would have been obvious physical evidence. That is a world away from what many men are accused of, e.g. Being found in breach of an ex-parte non mol for a verbal disagreement with an ex about the Sale of the family home; an ex-parte non-mol secured on the basis of no evidence of abuse/violence.

  60. Paul says:

    The courts are totally disreguarding the law and disreguarding a mans pessumption of innocence in court. I can testify from experience.
    This is a legal stitch up !!!
    Scarborough Magistrates court i asked to speak to duty solicitor. He i formed me that i had very little chance because the judge was a hard line femanist.
    I self represented. I stood their and pointed out the fact that they had no course of conduct amounting to ‘Harassment’ it was an issolated insident.
    I was convicted and lost my job.
    I logged an appeal at York crown court. Used the same defence aka no course of conduct. They through it out within 10 minutes.
    This is a national disgrace that men are treated this way.
    My trial at Scarborough was a WITCH TRIAL. They had no intention of finding me guilty.

  61. Paul says:

    *not gulity obviously.

  62. Stitchedup says:

    Unfortunately Paul, most people don’t understand what’s going on until they go through it for themselves. The issue of domestic abuse had become a mediaeval witch hunt. Courts, particularly district judges, are dishing out summary justice in the interest of target chasing and political correctness. In doing so they’re causing immense damage to families and society as a whole. They’re encouraging horrendous levels of conflict during divorce and separation and rather than pouring oil on troubled waters they’re fuelling the fire. I’ll tell you my story when I have more time.

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