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Domestic abuse, coercive control and unchallenged divorce

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce the government’s plans to criminalise domestic abuse this week, according to reports.

The new offense would add “coercive control” to the definition of abuse. This means that if someone tries to manipulate their partner by threatening them, or putting restrictions on their personal or financial freedom, they could be sent to prison.

This seems like a common sense solution to a terrible problem. However, there are all kinds of potential problems that the government has either not thought of or is simply ignoring.

For a start, the focus is slanted. Almost all of the conversation around this issue has been focused on male perpetrators and female victims. While no one is denying that male-on-female violence is a major problem, it ignores the fact that a lot of men suffer from domestic abuse too. Will they be able to prosecute abusive partners?

Even if someone is charged with using coercive control as a form of abuse against their partner, there is another hurdle: proof. If all of the abuse happens behind closed doors, obtaining proof of such abuse could be very difficult. Especially as psychological abuse does not leave physical bruises.

Lastly, as a divorce lawyer I could not help but consider the effect the offense would have on people looking to get out of an abusive marriage. Could an unchallenged divorce lead to criminal prosecution? I brought this up back when Theresa May launched a consultation on domestic abuse back in August.

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that people going through a divorce often want to get it over with as quickly as possible. The sooner the divorce is finalised, the sooner both parties can move on with their lives.

When “unreasonable behaviour” is cited for a divorce, the petitioning spouse will list what their partner has done which led them to seek the end of their marriage. In some cases this includes allegations of coercive control. More often than not, these allegations will go unchallenged even if the respondent vehemently denies them. This is because doing so will be costly and time-consuming.

The family courts are already struggling to cope with the rise of unrepresented litigants, despite the government’s efforts to steer people towards mediation. How would this situation be helped by creating an incentive to have every allegation in divorce proceedings ruled on by a judge?

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Andrew says:

    And I can just see Plod arresting either party in the middle of the night for being hostile and unpleasant . . .

    This is Politician’s Syndrome

    Something must be done –
    This is Something –
    Therefore this must be done.

    • Steen Rasmussen says:

      I am left blind after 12 years of on and off domistic violence, mental and Financial abuse 14 years after I was forced to leave with the Blessing of the statuary agencies. If you are a male dont bother reporting domistic violence and abuse it as no one give a shit no matter how serious assualts and the resulting GBH. Police ( in my case Thamaes valley) CPS ( celeb cases only that makes us look good in the news even if cases are 30 years old ) solicitors (all about Money – mankinds list of solicitors could care less unless they can make Money – list out of date Doctors could not care less just another problem to an overloadede NHS system and polititians with all Words and their socalled Laws which is nothing but a bunch of empty nothings on web sites. Its is no longer a criminal offence in the Uk to assualt someone and course GBH, also theft of Money, Financial abuse and mental abuse – WHO cares there is more Money for the police to chace car drivers. If some 10 A380s landede in heathrow everyday thats about the scale of the problem, male or female – domistic violence and abuse regarding gender is totally unacceptabe – but WHO cares NO ONE WHO COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    This is the end result of feminist political lobbying and I’m afraid to say many in the legal profession have been complicit in this. The whole issue of domestic abuse/violence is slanted, as Marilyn correctly points out, but in many ways it is also grossly exaggerated. In my opinion the state has well and truly crossed the line in terms of interference in private family life and such measures will inevitably lead to gross injustice. A major milestone on this journey was making a breach of a non-mol a criminal offence…. this was a complete disaster. I will never forgive this country, or my ex for that matter, for what it has done to myself and my family. As somebody that has tried to do everything right in life, to find myself convicted and very nearly sent to prison for talking to the mother of my children is completely unforgiveable… an absurd over reaction fuelled by feminist political correctness and a biased and politically influenced justice system.

    • Charles Pragnell says:

      “Talking to the mother of your children” was not the offence. Contempt for a Court of Law was the offence and for which there are severe penalties. Nothing to do with “feminist political correctness’ or an allegedly “biased and politically influenced justice system”. You broke the law, clearly and simply.

      • Stitchedup says:

        Not clear and simple at all Charles, to make such a comment without knowing the facts of the case is arrogant in the extreme. Non-communication orders are a step too far in many cases.

        • Charles Pragnell says:

          The judge considered the facts as presented to him/her and the findings and rulings were against you and consequently determined that a Non-Molestation Order against you was necessary but which you subsequently disregarded. If you can so completely disregard the words of a judge, then it is not difficult to appreciate why your ex-wife does not wish to communicate with you.

      • Stitchedup says:

        Answer this Charles, if I am considered such a threat to my ex, how is it that I have no restrictions placed on my whereabouts, allowed to be in same location as my ex within feet/inches???…. I’m just not allowed to talk to her…. totally absurd. This has nothing to do with protection, I’m just getting legally endorced/enforced silent treatment…. something my ex would resort to frequently when we were in the relationship and had a minor domestic agreement or she couldn’t have her way. Ex-communication is a way of life for her, she has done it to work colleagues, neighbours, friends she has fallen out with and other family members including her sister, who she still doesn’t talk to, and her parents who she didn’t speak to for over 3 years. Wake up and smell the coffee, these orders are draconian and ill conceived; they’re often used in the gamesmanship of divorce and separation just to get the upper hand….. nothing whatsoever to do with genuine protection.

        • Charles Pragnell says:

          I’m sure your lawyers would have explained to you the full meaning on non-molestation which would include not physically approaching her or attempting to communicate with her in any way. Whether you are in close proximity to her is irrelevant. That is enforcing a basic human right of who we choose to directly communicate with, or not. Especially if past communications have carried anger, accusations, or abuse. I’m sure that if there are important matters you wish to obtain her views on, then there will be a channel of communications via her lawyers. Being prevented from communicating with one person who does not wish to have any direct form of communications with you is far from draconian with the millions of people in the world you are able to communicate directly with.
          There are a great many ploys and tactics used by parties in divorce proceedings and are used by both sides to gain advantages, and I’m sure you have engaged in some yourself. Bleating and whingeing and being disgruntled at being out-manoeuvred will not help your cause and blatantly disobeying the Orders of a Court will only bring further sanctions and penalties for you.

          • Stitchedup says:

            Charles, again you’re attempting to draw conclusions without having the facts of a particular case. You’ve made several incorrect assumptions in your post above which really just go to highlight your biased and polarised views on this subject. Indeed, you have made several assumptions that I find offensive.

            I can go into detail about my case but I’ll try to keep the post brief. I’m not sure there is a basic human right of who we choose to communicate with, we find ourselves communicating with all sorts of people day in day out who we might may not like personally or agree with their opinions. I am however aware of the human rights of freedom of speech and expression.

            Securing a non-molestation order does not require proof of abuse or even allegations of abuse, though the later is likely to beef up the application to help ensure the order is secured. They’re issued like sweets in the civil courts with no burden of proof, often on an ex-parte basis so the respondent is not aware of the proceedings and is not there to defend himself. A so called “balance of probability” decision which more often than not means the judge is just looking to cover his/her backside. Yes, there will be a follow-up hearing, but the respondent is already in a position of guilty until proven innocent; he has to convince the judge he/she made the wrong decision, i.e. the order is made now prove your innocence. This is a complete reversal of how the UK justice system is meant to work and as a result has lead to gross injustice and it is this that I will do my utmost to highlight.

            Your comment below has really given the game away:

            “Bleating and whingeing and being disgruntled at being out-manoeuvred will not help your cause and blatantly disobeying the Orders of a Court will only bring further sanctions and penalties for you”

            So we are in agreement that non-molestation orders are rarely about protection and often about out-manoeuvring during the gamesmanship of divorce of separation??

            Given this fact it was wholly inappropriate to make the breach of an order secured in the civil courts with a civil burden of proof a criminal offence. It is doubly inappropriate to do this when it is clear that the use of non-mols is being abused and they are more often used to out-manoeuvre, as you put it, during the gamesmanship of divorce and separation rather than to offer genuine protection.

            As for blatantly disobeying the orders of a court… how have you arrived at this conclusion without the facts of the case??? With regard to breaches of non-molestation orders, I’m sure you are aware that there exists a defence of reasonable excuse. I am fully convinced that if I had been tried in crown courts with a commonsensical jury of peers they would have found that I had reasonable excuse. This is where “feminist political correctness” and biased and politically influenced district judges and magistrates courts come in to play. We are suffering form domestic abuse hysteria in this country, it is a major political hot button and the courts are issuing summary justice just to make examples out of people. It has all got out of hand and it appears that lawyers like Marilyn are beginning to see the line has or is about to be crossed.

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            Perhaps you need to examine your own utterances for bias, and I’m not sure what you mean by “polarised’ – polarised to what?. I find certain of your comments to be offensive and misogynistic and maybe therein lies the justification for your ex-partner’s actions.
            Of course everyone has the right not to communicate with certain others. It is also a matter of personal choice. If you want a known example then there is the right to silence of anyone charged with a criminal offence.
            Your ex-partner would still have to show to the Court reasonable cause for a Non-Molestation Order to be granted, whatever the circumstances you may claim occur in Courts. Showing fearfulness of the molester would probably be sufficient.
            No, we are not in agreement that Non-Molestation Orders “are rarely about protection”, and my comment about “being outmanoeuvred” was based solely on your claims, as I have no way of knowing whether such claims are accurate, as you correctly state. But I am absolutely sure from my experiences in such cases, that the vast majority of Non-Molestation Orders are genuinely based in fact and are for the protection of individuals. Possibly a small percentage are based in gamesmanship as practiced by either party.
            I am equally sure that a jury of peers in criminal proceedings would reach the same conclusions as District Court judges and Magistrates as they would have difficulty in accepting that any individual can have “reasonable excuse’’ for molesting another person, and allow them to continue with such behaviours.
            You stated yourself that you had been convicted and almost imprisoned for blatantly disregarding an Order of the Court at the beginning of this discussion. Or was that merely a misrepresentation or fabrication to embellish your persecution complex?.
            On the issue of domestic violence, I’m afraid you’ve been reading too much of the propaganda and mythology published on Father’s Rights Groups websites. Domestic violence is now of international concern in all civilised countries and led by the World Health Organisation. Many governments of western countries now recognise the immense harms and severe long-term sufferings which are being caused to women and directly and indirectly to children by such violence and the high death rates among women and children from such causes. Research also shows that there is a high incidence of child abuse, and particularly child sexual abuse committed by domestic violence perpetrators. The public and politicians are also aware of the immense financial costs to societies in those countries in medical and health treatments and other associated services, and in loss of working time, which are consequential to domestic violence. In Australia for instance, the financial costs of domestic violence have been reliably estimated at $40 Billion per year.
            This immense public and political concern is now being translated into action by the Courts, with a duty to rid our society of the scourge of domestic violence. This is not feminist `doctrine’ as you would see it, but plain and simple facts.
            As a final question, even if you were successful at having the Non-Molestation Order lifted, how would that benefit you?. Your ex-partner could not be forced to communicate with you, and there are more serious offences of harassment, stalking, and threatening behaviour if you were to attempt to make her do so.

          • Luke says:

            “I find certain of your comments to be offensive and misogynistic and maybe therein lies the justification for your ex-partner’s actions.”
            I don’t know the detail of StitchedUp’s case – but then neither do you Charles, I defend your right to give a blunt opinion but then when you say you personally find his comments offensive I feel obliged to reply in similar vein to such a whine :– SO F*****G WHAT ?
            As to your misogynist claim, given your nonsense comments further down in your response I am not surprised – you appear to be a misandrist – and whether you are male or female certainly doesn’t preclude you from being one.
            “On the issue of domestic violence, I’m afraid you’ve been reading too much of the propaganda and mythology published on Father’s Rights Groups websites.”
            Charles you are yet another misinformed person that thinks domestic violence is predominantly a male problem, it isn’t, both genders do it and it’s pretty equal. Here’s some actual evidence – a ton of it in fact :-

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            Luke – I’m afraid that comparisons of domestic violence by men/women and women/men is an apples and pears discussion. IN American studies the men described such violence as “Pushing, Slapping, and Throwing objects”. None reported serious injury nor any lasting effects.
            On the other hand, women described such violent assaults as; being kicked in the stomach during pregnancy, being threatened with guns, knives, and axes (one mother was shot by her ex-husband on the Court room steps), being thrown down staircases, being brutally and repeatedly raped, being ruthlessly beaten while trying to protect their children, being doused in inflammable fluids and threatened with being set on fire. And of course the fact that homicide of women mainly occurs during incidents of domestic violence (more than two per week in the UK). Most women reported severe and long-lasting physical and psychological injuries to themselves and their children.
            It is completely spurious therefore to even begin to compare the relative violence of men and women.

          • AO says:

            Your defensive attitude here, over a matter in which you couldn’t possibly have all the facts, sickens me. My childhood was consumed with dysfunction, and all because of a controlling mother, whom I feel, and felt back then, was solely responsible for my father’s struggle. During my father’s funeral, at the age of 56, while I was giving his eulogy (which required every ounce of strength I could sequestor), my mother made derrogatory comments, sufficiently audible to myself, and no doubt clear to those who resided near her. My father was a very loving one, and showed it to each of his five children. I am now a 51 year old mother, with five of my own, my 29 y/o daughter, and then four sons, of whom three are United States marines. Every single day I pray that my children, and especially my four sons, will never have to experience the cruelty and manipulations that a woman is capable of, as was the female that brought me into this world. And now I have recently remarried, and face these very same issues with my new husband’s ex-wife. They were married for approximately 25 years, and the evidence of her reckless spending haunts us daily. They have five children also, about the same ages of my own. There is a major difference in comparison of our young adults…his family has shown to be financially irresponsible, anti-social, self-centered, and blatantly disrespectful. The evidence is all around me, as we currently live in the home that they shared during 10 years of their marriage. The ex has sculpted these individuals to her clone likeness, and my husband seems to live in a daily fear of her continued wrath. In the 2+ years I have been with my new husband (married Nov ’14), I have yet to meet his ex, face to face, nor have we ever exchanged words. I try not to interfere, but recent occurences involving his 19 y/o daughter, as well as the majority of his children (I will refer to them as ‘children’, because their behaviors do not warrant ‘adult’ characterization) have caused considerable discomfort, as well as highly probable legal consequences to him and myself. In conclusion, my advice to you is to keep you opinions to yourself, and leave “StitchedUp” alone. Your assumptions are hurtful

          • Stitchedup says:

            OK Charles, now we’re getting to the bottom of it. You’re clearly from the feminist encampment and as such hold a seriously slanted view of the issue of domestic abuse/violence that unearths a very low opinion of your fellow men….. as exemplified by your willingness to throw insults in my direction… I assume you are a man?? I am not misogynist, I’m all for equality, it is the misandry of modern feminism that I object to. Modern day feminism is not about equality, it is about demonising men.

            My stance on this has nothing to do with what I’ve read on father’s rights groups, it has been derived from personal experience. There seems no limit to your willingness/ability to derive conclusions about a person and a case you know nothing about.

            My concern is that the legal process in the UK has been compromised and undermined as a result of misandric political lobbying and pressure from feminist organisations, to the extent that it has now become broken and unsafe leading to gross injustice. There are very few men that would condone genuine domestic violence, certainly not within the company I keep. However, there are plenty that will tell you that the current hysteria surrounding domestic abuse is blurring the lines between normal domestic conflict and genuine domestic violence/abuse. Divorce and separation is a highly emotional time and there is bound to be conflict of interests and indeed anger, particularly where infidelity is involved. Criminalising people for showing emotion or having a disagreement about the selling price of the former family home is not the answer. This leads me to the question – what is your definition of molestation and a molester?? You appear to say a molester is simply a respondent to an application for a non-mol… i.e. already labelled and presumed guilty!!!! From what I can tell the terms have no real definition, they’re simply catch-all terms used to cover all sorts of behaviour similar to the absurd catch all definition of domestic abuse. Some of this behaviour may be perfectly normal and harmless…. such as having an opinion on the selling price of the family home or texting to say you’re going to be late picking-up the children for a contact handover.

            I’m sorry, but allegations of domestic abuse are all too often used in the gamesmanship of divorce and separation. Perhaps this is partly due to not supporting the concept of “no fault divorce” in the UK, which appears to be what this article is hinting at. Allegations of domestic abuse are used to gain occupation of the family home, which will come hand-in-hand with a non-mol; and to secure legal aid. I’m afraid Charles you did give the game away in admitting that non-mols are used to “out manoeuvre” and the rest of the rhetoric in your post appears to me to be a sorry attempt to divert attention away from that very issue and the resulting gross injustice that occurs.

            The current legal process is broken and unsafe. It starts with gamesmanship, then a so called “balance of probability” decision with no burden of proof, leading to a civil order that carries the possibility (read that as almost certainty) of a criminal conviction for even the most harmless and trivial breaches that would in normal circumstances not be considered abusive, violent or criminal behaviour; hence blurring the lines between civil and criminal. I know you feel I have a persecution complex but my stance and opinion appears to be supported by organisations such as liberty and their legal team, and indeed other legal professionals.

            As for you final question, the non-mol no longer exists, as a result of the breach it was replaced with an indefinite restraining order that simply forbids me from speaking to her even if she speaks to me.. as she has done on several occasions as witnessed by the police,,,,, ABSURD. FYI, she has also received a warning from the police for wasting their time and making malicious complaints against me… but I guess you’ll put that down to merely a misrepresentation or fabrication to embellish my persecution complex. Bye for now brave Knight in shining armour.

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            Is this one of those terrible feminists you are referring to?.

            LIEUTENANT GENERAL DAVID MORRISON, AO CHIEF OF THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY Chief of Army address to The White Ribbon Breakfast, Adelaide, Tuesday 25 November 2014.
            “By every credible measure, women are denied opportunities that are accorded to men as a birthright of their sex. At home they face levels of domestic violence that imperil their very being. This is the case in so called first-world nations and in the developing world; it is a feature of secular and non-secular societies. Women face barriers, sometimes tangible, often subliminal, that constrain their lives and their contributions to the development of our world.”

          • Stitchedup says:

            Generals shouldn’t be playing at being politicians…. leave it to the politicians. Most likely a case of the general telling the White Ribbon Breakfast what they want to hear. He’s hardly likely to go there and tell them they’re talking a load of bo…cks is he??

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            He has the right to report on his many years of experience in such matters and his opinions regarding such atrocities, and it is politicians who have created the current mess of Family Laws and dysfunctional Family Court systems. I’m sure he’ll be very aware that he can safely rely on Father’s Rights groups and other disgruntled fathers to fulfil the function of your final sentence.

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            StitchedUp – I do not have a low opinion of my fellow men. In fact the vast majority are great fathers and supporters of their wives. It is that small minority of men that I refer to, who tend to be selfish in their attitudes, self-centred and narcissistic, and believe they have an automatic right to have complete control over women and children and are prepared to use violence, threats, and oppressive measures to gain and maintain such control. Unfortunately, I observe the Family Courts are full of them every week as they groom and manipulate their lawyers and Court personnel to aid them in their objective of continuing in their control over ex-partners and children.
            On the other hand your constant slandering of your ex-wife and attacks on women in general is highly misogynistic and quite typical of the extremist minority of males in Father’s Rights groups.
            There is no hysteria about domestic violence, it is simply that it is now being exposed to public view for the first time in history and its incidence and nature are causing shock reactions to people who previously did not accept its existence, or turned and blind eye (sadly many still do), and recognise it is the major social scourge of modern times and action has to be taken against the perpetrators.
            Far from Family Courts being misandric as you claim, they very much favour fathers no matter what they may have done in terms of violence and abuse, and the associated costs to the children, mothers, and to society. Naturally the violent and abusive men in the Father’s Rights are not pleased that they are being exposed as such, (even after killing judge and judge’s wife, blowing up a lawyer’s car, campaigns of threats against lawyers and CAFCASS workers, and even threatening to kidnap a Prime Minister’s son.
            A group of U.S. lawyers protesting against the judgements of Family Court judges who are ordering children into contact with and even the custody of abusers.
            “Published on Oct 23, 2014
            Santa Clara County Appellate & Family Law Specialist Robin Yeamans speaks about her 44 years of experience in the California family law system, explaining how broken the system has become. This footage was gathered at the Sept. 19th Stop Court Crimes Protest at the Judicial Council HQ in San Francisco, where more than 60 people from 16 different California counties came to expose the corruption that is destroying the lives of good, decent, law-abiding people.”
            Family Court statistics in the UK indicate that less than 1% of Family Court applications for shared parenting or contact (fathers and mothers) are refused, so it would seem that fathers are not being badly dealt with in the way you claim. So I’m afraid that is purely in your imagination.
            This is supported by senior UK Family Court judges who state that it is mythology that fathers receive unfair treatment in the Courts.
            You are correct, neo-feminism is not about equality, it is about the oppression, subjugation, denial of opportunities, and their violent treatment by men and that they are able to enjoy the freedoms of choice, expression, movement, and the associated opportunities to explore those choices.
            The simple facts of your case as stated by you are, that a NON-Molestation Order was granted against you, but which you wilfully disobeyed – that is the offence for which you were convicted and almost imprisoned and not for the reasons you claim. If you choose to break the law, no matter how unjust you may feel that law is, then you must expect to be punished, and defying a judge of the UK Court is not a wise move.
            You have stated that you knew that you had a remedy in law for what you considered the injustice to be, but you chose not to explore that route and instead contravened a Court ruling. DUH!.
            I’m afraid you have given your game away, in that you have no respect for the law or members of the learned judiciary, believing narcissistically that you are always in the right..
            If you want the law changed because you feel it is unjust, then there are means to do that if you have solid research evidence to show such a need, and not merely spurious opinions which are not supported by the evidence (as above).
            I would not disagree with you that the Family Courts are grossly dysfunctional to their purpose as far as children are concerned. An aggressive adversarial system which polarises the positions of the two parties, and requires of them that they destroy each other’s characters, is not an appropriate forum in which to determine the highly important future care and welfare of children. Especially when those professionally involved in such processes have so little knowledge, qualifications, and training in matters of child development and ensuring the safety and protection of children.
            Family Courts do not have the powers, expertise, and resources to investigate child abuse and domestic violence. Chief Justice Diane Bryant – Australian Family Court.
            A Tribunal of Inquiry Model for determining children’s matters would be greatly preferred and would produce far better outcomes for children than being forced into shared parenting arrangements and contact with their abusers.

          • Stitchedup says:

            My god listen to yourself!!

            “I observe the Family Courts are full of them every week as they groom and manipulate their lawyers and Court personnel to aid them in their objective of continuing in their control over ex-partners and children”

            So any accused man is simply grooming and manipulating their lawyers and court personnel if they dare contest allegations or put up a defence????

            “On the other hand your constant slandering of your ex-wife and attacks on women in general is highly misogynistic and quite typical of the extremist minority of males in Father’s Rights groups”

            Definition of Slander: the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation

            Evidence of slander please??? How are you in a position to determine whether any of my comments are false??? do you know me?? do you know my ex?? did you ever witness my behaviour?? did you ever witness her behaviour?? Do you even know the details of my case??

            Evidence of misogynistic attacks on women in general please???

            “You have stated that you knew that you had a remedy in law for what you considered the injustice to be, but you chose not to explore that route and instead contravened a Court ruling. DUH!.”

            DUH! NOOOOOO!! I stated I felt I had reasonable excuse for speaking so felt I was complying with law DUH!!!

            Frankly speaking you strike me as completely bonkers Charles, some sort of eccentric, almost extremist, character and I don’t think I was far wrong with my somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference to your vision of yourself as a brave knight in shining armour as exemplified by your militant sounding rhetoric and “call to arms”.

            I really can’t be bothered to address the rest of your nonsense, you’ve completely missed the point of my argument and the article. Your implication that anybody issued with a non-mol is most likely a child abuser or sexual abuser gives every divorcing/separating man every reason to contest vigorously any allegation of unreasonable behaviour at the outset, nip it in the bud before they find themselves in the position that I now find myself.

            Sadly, I think you may in time look back and only see the damage you have done to families and children by promoting such extremist views. As one contributor to this blog commented, I think it was Nordic, separated families do not need to be broken families….

          • Stitchedup says:

            Actually, given this is the written word shouldn’t we be discussing libel not Slander. Either way it is BS because nobody has been named and Charles does not have access to the facts so is not able to determine whether any false statements have been made.

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            StitchedUp: Firstly you have experience of only one case – your own. I have experience and details of many hundreds of such cases and over a great many years, listening to and hearing the accounts of both sides. I think therefore I am a little more qualified and experienced in such matters than yourself to state what occurs and why and how.
            You have tended to go from the irate to the irrational.
            One of my major observations in Family Court cases, and based on my knowledge and experience in such matters, is that many of the fathers who are engaged in such proceedings have tendencies towards narcissism and psychopathy, as are defined by a wide group of experts. Definitions of such psychopathy include: cunning, deception, and manipulative skills, blaming others for the consequences of their actions; absence of genuine emotions and feelings, lack of remorse for the harms they have caused; a singular obsession with exercising power and control over others (they find it particularly pleasing when they have fooled lawyers and judges and CAFCASS workers into believing them. They believe that rules, including laws, do not apply to them if they can get away with it. However prisons are full of such psychopathic individuals who didn’t.
            I can understand the difficulties a lay person may have in understanding such behaviours, actions, and conduct but you may gain some understanding if you were more widely read.
            It is not necessary to know the full circumstances of your case. The simple issue, as described by you, is that a Court of law placed a Non-Molestation Order on you. (Whatever may be the merits and de-merits of such an action considered by you.). You chose to disregard and breach that Court Order and were consequently given a criminal conviction for so doing. You clearly have no respect for the laws or those who administer the law, no matter how unjust you may feel the findings and rulings may have been. If. As you claim, you had `reasonable excuse’ then that should have argued in Court and not ignored the law and then try to attract sympathy and attention in these columns..
            Now an even greater sanction has been placed on you, because you chose to break the law and to show contempt for the law administrators. No amount of bleating and whingeing in these columns is going to change that. You had a remedy in law and you chose not to use it but rather to act as though such sanctions did not apply to you.

          • jo says:

            Reading your posts Charles, it’s reassuring that there are family lawyers who are aware of the psychology of some of these people. I think part of the problem is that people in general are not aware of how these individuals operate. I read a lot from the author George K Simon who is an expert on human aggression. He talks about the “aggressive personalities” and the failure of traditional psychology to correctly characterise them. Traditional psychology only characterises one subtype: the antisocial pattern or overt aggressive. These are the types who violate major social norms and are likely to have a criminal record.. He puts the aggressive personalities into various categories: antisocial (overt aggressive, likely criminal record), covert aggressive (aggresses but keeps it veiled, highly manipulative), sadistic aggressive, etc… They’re all very similar at the core. They must be in a one-up position, are lacking in empathy, are lacking ina sense of shame and remorse, think in black and white terms, will not accept responsability for their own actions, and are conniving and manipulative. Their core personality is almost unbelievable and is so far removed from your average person it is very difficult to comprehend that someone can really be that way. Also it’s not readily obvious from the outside, you need a long period of sustained interaction with these people to even strat to see it because they are also very skilled at impression management. They are very good at presenting two completely different faces to the person they are seeking to control and third parties. I did find that some lawyers I came into contact with did not really appreciate this. There is a general naivity about how some people operate. People tend to assume if someone is behaving badly or is hurting someone in some way, there must be a reason or a motivation that is at the very least understandable. It does seem that it can be hard for people to believe that this is not necessarily the case. It can be hard for people to believe that there are some men for example who have no interest in the children, other than using them to exert control over their ex-partner, who are highly abusive and may deliberately harm the children, with the express intention of setting their ex-partner up when she calls him out, claiming to the court that he is the perfect father and she has gone mad, and is a crazy, unstable, vindictive woman who is making it all up to deny him access to his children,. so that the children will be put with him so that he can “win” and maintain control over his ex, even if this would completely traumatise the children involved. All the while claiming he is a wonderful father and doing everything he can to create this impression to the people evaluating the case. It seems that often the narrative that the woman has just lost it when challenged with the custody of her children is more believable, because at least the motivation is somewhat understandable to the average person. People need to be more aware of how psychopaths and similar actually operate. They are dangerous as hell and there must be lots of these people in the court system

          • Steve says:

            Charles, Wake up man! My ex wife used coercive behaviour for 3 years to control me, the more I protested my innocence, the worse her lies became. It was driving me in sane. You can’t control it, she was totally impossible, childish and had to play the victim every time. A manipulating devious two face woman who got me a restraining order by lying under oath in court 16 times. Don’t be so quick to convict people when you don’t know the whole story. Lastly, I’m all for being a civil mature grown up and talking things through, but because I wanted that, my ex made sure it would never happen, I wanted civil, she was violent and hostile, I tell the truth, she lies, and it goes on and on and on. You cannot win against a sociopath.

    • jo says:

      Stitched up, with respect, you have absolutely not clue what you are talking about. There are plenty of people out there both men and women, who are sociopathic, psychopathic and so on. Coercive control is real. I can tell you from personal experience. There are people out there with a dangerous psychological setup. These people are fundamentally motivated by the need to be in a one-up position and “win” no matter what. In every interaction their preferred outcome is “win-lose”, where you lose. They cannot abide the other way round you “win” they “lose” and will do and say anything to avoid that outcome. Pretty much every interaction with these people is framed in these terms. They manipulate, lie, threaten, intimidate, have Jeckyll and Hyde personalities. Because they are innately highly narcissistic aggressive individuals who have never learned to either submit their will to any social principal, or to view other people as individuals with any intrinsic worth, they are extremely dangerous. They have very little empathy, are lacking in a sense of shame and remorse, are machievellian, self-centred, and entitled. They want to be in control even if they have to destroy you to do it. Whole relationships function with these people in which the other person is continuously duped by the sociopathic/psychopathic individual. The dynamics are complicated. The psychopathic individual plays a continual con-game of impression management with the normal partner diverting their attention away from the true agenda of the controlling person which is to get the other person to continually submit to their agenda. The controlling person is skilled and intentionally leads the normal person into believing they are being unreasonable or it is them that is the problem. The other partner in the relationship tends to be someone who quickly blames themselves for things, and the controlling person (who usually has a completely lacking sense of shame) actively uses this maintain their control over that other person. There are a variety of manipulation tactics that are used: intimidation, threats, minimisation, rationalisation, gaslighting, and so on. These people function very differently to your average person. Their motivations are completely different. At the core they are aggressive and narcissitic, and almost every interaction is about getting what they want and getting the other person to submit to their will. They do not understand compromise and are innately unreasonable and self-centred people. Many of them do it in very twisted and sometimes subtle ways that are difficult to see from the outside. In child custody litigation, this is a disaster. The stakes are high for these people. Both men and women do it, they do it in different ways because there is a gender imbalance in terms of what they want to get out of it. Women usually the control of the children, men usually to maintain control over the ex-partner, and the courts treat them differently. But for both sexes, their fundamental drive to “win” at any cost takes over. They will do anything to avoid a situation where you win and they lose. Then “lose-lose” is preferable. This is how children end up being murdered by their fathers. I lose you lose is a better option to them, if the children have been placed with the mother, and their control is slipping away from them. Although these individuals come from both sexes, the man on average may be more predisposed to serious violence than their female counterparts and the motivation is more to control and punish the woman by taking the children away. He has no interest in them himself. In the case of abusive women, the motivation is to get control of the children and exclude the non-abusive man. She probably will not kill the children. The courts have no idea how to deal with sociopathic individuals. Their inner workings are so different it is almost unbelievable the level of conniving, duplicity, control, and willingness to damage their children in the process, simultaneously claiming they have the children’s interests at heart, and trying to turn the whole situation around onto the non-abusive party. There needs to be something to help get to the bottom of it. Changes to the law to recognise coercive control is the first step. It also needs to recognised that women do this too. They’re often better at hiding it because of the cultural bias that says “grow a pair” to any man who makes this claim, and the abusive woman will try to frame it all in those terms to help hide what she is doing. There’s a big assumption the child should be with the woman etc. Men fighting against abusive women, don’t have a hope in hell and it’s a terrible situation for them too. Abusive people are a serious problem in the court system of both sexes. The courts don’t know how to deal with it. They misinterpret it as just another couple who are struggling to communicate and put the children first. That is a completely erroneous and dangerous view of what is really going on in these cases. Absolutely judges, solicitors, CAFCASS need to get educated on the dynamics in these sorts of cases.

      • Jo says:

        Another issue that is really a problem in the courts is that abusive women will often accuse the non-abusive man of being abusive, of harrassing them, stalking them etc, when he isn’t. These women really make it difficult for non-abusive women who really are struggling in custody disputes with an abusive man, who is really is harrassing them, being controlling, and is dangerous. Meanwhile the abusive man is trying to paint you out to be that other kind of woman making false accusations. No wonder the courts have difficulty and don’t always get it right. The answer is more evidence not less. More understanding of coercive control not less. Somehow, there needs to be a way to spot these kinds of people with psychopathic, sociopathic, narcissistic and aggressive personality traits, who are likely to be instigating all kinds of abuse, and simultaneously denying it and actively seeking to use the courts as another tool to exert control over their former partner and children. There seems to be this happy clappy assumption in the family court system that everyone is alright really. Everyone is more or less honest and decent. If only they could put their bad feelings aside and be encouraged to put the children first, they’ll be able to stop fighting and everything will be alright. This is an utterly naive view of human nature and is simply dangerous when dealing with these sorts of people. Something needs to change. Firstly abuse needs to be reliably identified. Coercive control is not easy to spot. The perpetrators are skilled at turning things around and are often charming, convincing liars. Meanwhile their victims are likely to be volatile, hostile and disjointed because they have been exposed to the psychopath’s abuse. Mental health professionals who are specialists in aggressive personality sub-types need to be brought in to help determine what is really going on. Once it is established that abuse is happening, there needs to be a system tailored to deal with those cases. Minimal cooperation and communication between the parents is an absolute must for a start in any court order. I had the judge telling me we needed to learn to “trust”, “put aside acrimony” and “communicate better”. That judge had zero understanding of coercive control and abuse. It is absolutely unacceptable that in the family court system, judges can be so naive about domestic abuse.

      • Steve says:

        Jo, well said. My ex fits the profile of a sociopath, and believe it or not, we never had a raised word in our house in the 18 years we were together. After our split, you would have thought I was a wife beater, yet she was the one controlling everyone and anyone to look like she was the victim. You couldn’t make it up.

  3. Charles Pragnell says:

    And a call to arms for all other non-violent men, who are the majority.
    Lieutenant General David Morrison – “And for us, the men of Australia? Well here is the really hard part. It is not enough to just abstain from hurting women; from treating them as sexual objects rather than as people with an innate right to lead a dignified life. It is not enough to refrain from distributing foul images or stories that attack the well-being of others. No, the really hard part is to do all of that as well as ensuring that we are not bystanders when such things do happen. This means not shrouding ourselves in the comfortable shades of grey that comprise the passive acquiescence of
    the malevolent acts of others. It requires us to recognise that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept and that you are judged not just on your actions, but on how you allow others to act.
    This call to arms is daunting. It requires drawing on the most special of all human qualities – moral courage. I have failed at times in my life to apply it when it was needed and I am bitter, on reflection, that I did not. I certainly don’t ask of anyone to be perfect. How could I when I am so imperfect? But I am implacable in my resolve to be better and so should all of us.”

    • Stitchedup says:

      FYI Charles, My initial plea was not guilty. The judge stated he could not understand why I entered a not guilty plea as I had admitted speaking to my ex. My solicitor explained that my defence was based on reasonable excuse. Without hearing any details, the judge made it clear he was not going to accept a reasonable excuse defence, and instructed my solicitor to reconsider my not guilty plea. The court was adjourned and I was advised by my solicitor to change my plea to guilty as the judge had clearly already made up his mind before hearing my case, It was a damage limitation exercise from then on. The case was effectively over before it had began, it is this experience that leads me to believe that summary justice is sometimes handed out in the magistrates courts by politically indoctrinated district judges.

      I’ve yet to find anybody that can explain to me how a defence of reasonable excuse can be used without first admitting the breach…. I’m also of the opinion that what constitutes reasonable excuse for a district judge is most likely vastly different to that which a commonsensical jury of peers would consider reasonable excuse. For example, most reasonable people would consider it reasonable to speak if spoken to, they may consider it reasonable to be allowed to ask to speak to the children if the ex answers the phone; or consider it reasonable, indeed polite, to text the ex if you’re going to be late for a contact handover. Indeed, I believe most reasonable people consider it unreasonable to have a zero tolerance of all forms communication except via solicitor. Solicitors may like it because they get to make money out of the letters and telephone calls, but many people consider it an absurd overreaction when going through the turmoil of divorced and separation.

      You can speculate as much as you like Charles, but many people aware of the details of my case, including legal professionals, have described it as a travesty of justice. My solicitor also advised me that it was too risky to appeal as I had been given a high community service order, so an unsuccessful appeal may have resulted in a custodial sentence.

      When my ex and I first separated she stated that it was because I was outdoorsy and she wasn’t, we were incompatible and she didn’t think it was fair for me to be in a relationship with somebody that didn’t share my hobbies and love of the outdoors. The ex left the family home but some weeks later returned and asked if I would move out so that she could move back in. I refused to leave my home and my children so the gamesmanship began.

      If the above sounds irate and irrational then I’m irate and irrational, not widely read, and probably a narcissist, child abuser and sex abuser to boot. As for respect for the law, I respect law if it is good law and I respect judges if they interpret law fairly, rationally and proportionately. Unfortunately we don’t always have good law, which is why the law is always changing; and judges don’t always interpret the law fairly, rationally or proportionately so I reserve the right to form my own opinions

      • Charles Pragnell says:

        By your own admission, StitchedUp, you disregarded the law without reasonable excuse to satisfy the Court and you were punished accordingly. No amount of arguing in these columns is going to change that. No one is above the law, no matter how fairly or unfairly they may consider it to be written or applied.

        • Stitchedup says:

          “By your own admission, StitchedUp, you disregarded the law without reasonable excuse to satisfy the Court and you were punished accordingly”

          Wrong Charles.. I have said and will always maintain that I had reasonable excuse. Changing a plea as a damage limitation exercise in the face of absurd political correctness and a hostile judge that refused to accept a perfectly viable defence before even hearing it does not amount to a true admission of guilt. It wasn’t even a case of plea bargaining. And I was not punished accordingly, I was punished completely disproportionately. As an example here’s another judgement that you might want to consider :

          “As well as the compensation, Sainte-Luce will undertake 12 months of unpaid community service work, with an unpaid work requirement of 180 hours, and has a 10-week curfew between Wednesday and Sunday, which will see him housebound at his home at Fairwater Grove East in Cardiff between 8pm and 6am.”

          The worst I was accused of I was speaking to my ex partner of 20 years just prior to the sale of the family home… I got 250 hours community service, a fine and 1 years supervision… in the words of the judge I was being “deliberately awkward about the sale of the house”. … no violence or threats of violence involved… just a disagreement about the timing and eventual selling price of the former family home.

          • Stitchedup says:

            Oh, I should add that I only ended up speaking to the ex when I phoned to speak to my eldest son to ask him to get documentation that was in the house so that I could provide details in relation to the sale of the house that I had been asked to provide by a solicitor the ex had instructed. She answered the phone and told me that neither of my sons were there, asked what it was I was calling about, I told her and we then got drawn into a conversation that started amicably but became contentious as we had differing opinions about the asking price. I terminated the conversation and she phoned me back twice!!!! The judge said I should have just hung up the phone when I heard her voice, in other words I should have just made a silent phone call… dread to think what would have happened then…. I would probably have locked away for life!!!!…. This is not domestic violence Charles, punching a woman in the face and knocking them out is violence!!!

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            I’m sure you submitted all of that to the Court and the Court found against you including that you did not have reasonable excuse and you were sentenced accordingly for defying the rulings of a judge. You then decided to disobey that ruling and suffered further consequences. Now you are asking others to condone and collude in your wrongdoing and law-breaking. Prisons are full of people pleading their innocence or that they suffered injustices. Very few are or have. Just get over it and behave lawfully in the future.

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            StitchedUp – You have a very narrow and outdated view of Family Violence. It has been defined by the Family Law Council as:

            Behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour –
            • is physically or sexually abusive; or
            • is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or
            • is economically abusive; or
            • is threatening; or
            • is coercive; or
            • in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or wellbeing of that family member or another person; or (b) behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour referred to in paragraph (a).

            Perhaps you need to re-examine your past actions according to these criteria.

          • Andrew says:

            Last time I looked the Family Law Council did not define the law of England and Wales. If this Council is in this country I would like to know when that changed?

            I don’t deny that “violence” in the extended sense exists, is common, and is an evil. But unlike actual physical violence which is more commonly male-on-female all the other nasty things a couple can do to each other are equal opps.

            They also tend to be a state of affairs rather than discrete acts which makes them unsuitable for injunctions – and grossly unsuitable for arrests in the middle of the night or ex parte orders by courts or police officers to “leave your home and go who knows where”. They are suitable as grounds for divorce if there is a marriage and for parties to separate – without financial consequences except child support – if there is not.

      • JW says:

        Stitchedup, Charles, is the kind of feminist misandrist working throughout the court system. All men need to be aware that these people go by feminist theory and will gladly imprison a man for over a decade for being “controlling”, which is as long as some murder sentences. You’re a scmuck to have gotten married in this culture. 70% of men aged 20-34 are not married, so when Charlie boy say it’s a small minority, he’s using shaming language to try to make men who aren’t willing to serve women and castrate themselves before the courts seem insignificant. Men like him are just sad.

      • Steve says:

        Sorry to hear that. The system does not work. My ex had a ” letter of notification” against me , simply to control me, nothing more. She then tried contacting me through a family friend, to which I responded by sending her flowers for her 60th birthday, followed by 6 loving and supporting emails. She then lost face with her entourage and decided to prosecute me for harassment. Thats exactly what happened, restraining order etc. I told the mags court about the contact and that I could never be prosecuted for harassment due to her contact, but they decided to prosecute anyway. So I divorced her, then she really tuned nasty, damaged my personal possessions ( police did nothing) caused me untold harassment, ( police did nothing) Lied to police about a cement mixer she locked behind a door ( contrary to a court order) police did nothing. Was told in a court order to take herself off my bank account, so she opened a dispute on my account and the banks froze them ( police did nothing. Said I could have some of my possessions, then gave them to a charity shop ( police did nothing) WELL DONE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE POLICE.

  4. Luke says:

    Charles, I’ve given you solid evidence on domestic violence, you don’t like it so you ignore it.

    You then give us some Lieutenant General in the Australian army, some youtube video on a woman who doesn’t even mention gender issues but is just basically slagging off her legal system and a claim about Family court decisions in the UK being even-handed – which you don’t back up with any evidence at all.

    If that’s all you’ve got then you haven’t got much – the rest of your posts are largely misandric BS…

    • Charles Pragnell says:

      Luke – I think you’ve exposed your deep-seated prejudices in these matters and your unwillingness to accept facts. To dismiss the statements of the Head of the Australian Armed Forces and a senior UK judge shows an arrogance and conceit beyond belief.

      However if you consider statistics as important then here are two exceedingly authoritative sources – the World Health Organisation and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as quoted.

      Finally, it has become necessary for the Australian Chief Justice Diane Bryant to issue a warning to Australian lawyers who have adopted a habit of coercing, pressurising, and even threatening mothers into accepting contact arrangements even though they have been victims of domestic violence.
      You may also find it useful to read some of the material published by the National Organisation for Men Against Sexism [NOMAS]. These are the representatives of the majority of real men who are opposed to the small minority of men who violently abuse women and children.

      Chief Justice warns lawyers against custody case pressure
      • From: The Australian October 20, 2014 12:00AM
      FAMILY Court Chief Justice Diana Bryant has warned family lawyers not to pressure victims of domestic violence into accepting child custody arrangements that are inconsistent with their wishes.

      Her warning came after the mother of a 17-year-old West Australian girl known as “Abbey”, who took her own life, said she did not willingly consent to parenting ¬orders that allowed the girl’s father — a convicted pedophile — overnight access to her daughter.

      Abbey’s mother said the parenting orders led directly to the confusion and self-loathing that caused her daughter — who later disclosed that she had been abused by her father — to take her life.

      Chief Justice Bryant said in Sydney that she was often told by parents who complained about ¬orders made with their consent that they had been pressured by their lawyers into agreeing to ¬arrangements they did not want.

      She said parents sometimes told her they had been warned that the court would not believe their allegations. “I doubt that is true: I hope it’s not true of anyone in the room and I do understand that these are people’s perceptions and they arise from very complex ¬situations,” she said.

      “(But) we must ensure always, all of us, lawyers and judges, that where the orders have been by consent, that it is truly and abso¬lutely a reflection of appropriate practice and free will.”

      Chief Justice Bryant said lawyers had to be careful when dealing with cases involving family violence. “The act provides for matters to be raised with the court and they should be,” she said.
      “No one should ever suggest it’s not appropriate in any way (to raise them) and I would hope nobody here does so.”

      In Abbey’s case, the parenting orders had been made by the Family Court of Western Australia at the request of both parents and with the consent of the Department for Child Protection, following the recommendation of a psychologist.

      The orders, which were also consistent with Abbey’s expressed wishes, allowed the -father overnight access to his children, provided his current wife or parents were staying overnight with him. Last year, Abbey disclosed to her mother that her father sexually assaulted her repeatedly ¬between the ages of three and seven.

      Family Court of Western Australian Chief Justice Stephen Thackray has defended his court, saying the difficulty in Abbey’s case was that it was never asked to make a decision, which was effect¬ively made for it by the parents.

      However, Abbey’s mother said she had spent 11 years navigating the family law and child-protection systems and did not give her consent willingly.

      She said she could not afford to challenge final orders in court, ¬especially when she would have to fight the recommendations of the psychologist.

  5. Luke says:

    I think you’ve exposed your deep-seated prejudices in these matters and your unwillingness to accept facts.
    Your statements are laughable Charles – I gave you a link to 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews – not individual opinions or anecdotes – and you’ve ignored these facts because your level of prejudice is so deeply ingrained that you can’t handle the truth.
    I am not claiming it is one-sided, I know that men commit domestic violence and it’s horrendous, but I also know that women do too and at comparable rates. It is YOU who is claiming that it is virtually a one-way street.
    You made a claim that the UK courts are even-handed with men – so I asked you for evidence – and you ducked it yet again. Well I’ve got a statistic for you, 97% of women in the UK get residency of their children in divorce, that’s how “even-handed” it is – and if you don’t believe me ask the owner of the website because she quoted the study.
    To dismiss the statements of the Head of the Australian Armed Forces and a senior UK judge shows an arrogance and conceit beyond belief.
    No it isn’t, I am interested in empirical evidence, not individual opinions, we know that individual Judges can make spectacularly stupid and unfair decisions and the Judge you quote is another one – she says that ALL allegations from women on domestic violence should be believed !
    As for your Lieutenant General, at that level he’s first and foremost a politician with an agenda, there may be a specific problem with the Australian army but if he wants to talk about domestic violence in general then he needs to look at the unbiased evidence and educate himself.
    You love individual opinions and anecdotes so perhaps Erin Pizzey, who started the first women’s shelter for battered wives will explain it to you – she stated that most women in these shelters were as violent or more violent than the men they were seeking shelter from ! Of course the women were at a physical disadvantage when trading blows. Naturally Pizzey didn’t get to meet the passive men who were suffering DV in their homes…

    Pizzey has been subjected to all sorts of attacks including death threats once she came out against militant feminism.
    Pizzey’s views are public knowledge.
    However if you consider statistics as important then here are two exceedingly authoritative sources

    Authoritative sources ? You are having a laugh – you point me at claims from extremely feminist websites and the WHO – the latter is well known to be infected by feminism just like Wikipedia. In fact on Women’s Studies at Universities they are told to go out and target these sites so that their view is highlighted.
    I am talking about unbiased studies – and they stack up against your argument – you’ve got nothing except bluster.
    It’s sad to see someone as severely brainwashed as you Charles, because I highly doubt you are ever going to recover from it – take a deep breath, stand back and look at the hard evidence instead of the interest groups.

    • Charles Pragnell says:

      No I have not ignored the studies you quoted. The vast majority were conducted among adolescents who tend to engage in short term relationships and without the difficulties faced by couples in long-term relationships with the attendant responsibilities towards each other and others. Nor do such adolescent relationships involve long-term applications of power and control over the other, with ongoing physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, and social violence and abusive and occasional retaliatory violence by the victims. Nor do they tend to involve the mental tormenting and torturing of the victims over considerable periods of time with the inherent gaslighting until the victim is mentally destroyed.
      The few studies which examined the comparative forms of violence between males/females and vice versa do not appear to go into any depths of the forms of such violence and appear to have used what are now outdated definitions of domestic violence, which were usually confined to physical violence and abuse.
      In short such studies no longer have merit or validity or application and are again an apples and pears comparisons.
      A more valid study would be to examine present-day medical (including psychiatric and psychological), and hospital records of injuries sustained as a consequence of intimate partner violence, conviction records of assaults and murders of intimate partners and children, and the respective testimonies of the victims of such intimate partner violence within a long-term relationship and their comments on the various forms of violence occurring within current definitions of such violence.
      If you are interested only in `empirical evidence’ and that opinions of experienced and authoritative sources are of no interest to you, then I suggest you examine this document by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
      Domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia: an overview of the issues
      Janet Phillips, Social Policy Section Penny Vandenbroek, Statistics and Mapping Section
      Executive summary
      • The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the levels of violence experienced by the world’s women as ‘a global public health problem of epidemic proportions, requiring urgent action’.
      • In Australia, domestic, family and sexual violence is found across all cultures, ages and socio-economic groups, but the majority of those who experience these forms of violence are women. However, it is not possible to measure the true extent of the problem as most incidents of domestic, family and sexual violence go unreported.
      • The information available on the prevalence of domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia is derived from surveys. The 2013 Australia-wide survey on personal safety conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found that many men and women experience at least one encounter with violence in their lifetimes. The survey showed that men are far more likely to experience physical violence at the hands of a stranger but the majority of women experience physical violence by someone known to them—usually an intimate partner or family member. Both men and women are more likely to experience physical violence than sexual violence but women are much more likely to experience sexual assault in their lifetime than men.
      • The social and economic costs of violence against women are considerable. In 2009 the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (NCRVWC) estimated that violence against women and their children, including both domestic and non-domestic violence, cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion.
      • The Commonwealth Government is responsible for the over-arching government programs designed to reduce violence against women nationally. However, it is the state and territory governments that have the law enforcement responsibilities in relation to policing and prosecuting instances of domestic, family and sexual violence.
      • Reducing violence against women has been a priority for both Coalition and Labor governments for many years. The most recent Government initiative is the National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children (National Plan) endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2009. The National Plan set a framework for social change and proposed the introduction of sweeping changes between 2009 and 2021 to be implemented through a series of four three-year action plans over 12 years.
      • The move towards better integrated, multi-agency responses and coordination across all levels of government through the National Plan has been received favourably by most stakeholders and is viewed as making significant progress in terms of reducing the levels of violence experienced by women in Australia.
      Children remain resident with mothers for a wide number of reasons, not least because many fathers agree that such an arrangement is in their best interests and it permits fathers to pursue their careers (and of course their sporting, recreational, and leisure pursuits. Unless of course you have empirical studies which show that large numbers of fathers would be willing to give up their careers to stay at home and look after their children, performing the multitude of domestic tasks involved, and had the capacity to meet their children’s physical, emotional, psychological, and social needs and be severely restrained from engaging in and maintaining relationships and social outings with other males.?.
      The other reasons why mothers have residency of children include very sound anthropological, biological, psychological, and sociological reasons for doing so.
      In my (very considerable) experience in those cases where fathers have residency, the children are usually left in the care of paternal grandmothers, or paternal siblings, girlfriends of convenience, or are simply left to their own devices while fathers continue in their occupations and indulge in sporting and recreational pastimes. Family Courts do not of course do a follow-up of such cases to examine what happens to children when such decisions are made by them. Not even when children are placed in the residency of fathers with convictions for sexual abuse of children, as quite commonly occurs. E.g. Rivas & Rivas – AustLii.
      This article summarises many of the very real difficulties faced by mothers in the Family Law system, but which few, if any, fathers, experience.

      • Charles Pragnell says:

        P.S. By extension of the Australian figures, the costs of domestic violence to taxpayers here in the UK will be in excess of 20 Billion pounds per year. That is more likely to be the major reason why UK politicians are now taking an interest in this issue, and one which Courts need to consider when granting contact with and even the residency of children to such violators.
        Again on the subject of your fetish for empirical studies, you may wish to consider the findings of a study by the Monash University into false allegations of violence and abuse made to Family Courts. The study found that less than 9% of such allegations of domestic violence and abuse are false and the gender breakdown was 55% of false allegations were made by fathers, and 45% of such false allegations were made by mothers.

        Family Courts would therefore be wise to consider that allegations of domestic violence and abuse are therefore overwhelmingly truthful rather than discount, ignore, or disregard such allegations.

      • Stitchedup says:

        This article summarises many of the very real difficulties faced by mothers in the Family Law system, but which few, if any, fathers, experience

        Ha!!! the Guardian!!! Not exactly known for their balanced reporting on such issues or for their support of men and fathers… loony left wing and feminist to the core!!! Google loony left and will see loony left Guardian as an the 2nd option in the search box!!!! Clearly been working hard on their SEO!!! 🙂

    • Stitchedup says:

      Well said Luke.

      • Charles Pragnell says:

        Luke – Studies are not FACT. They are a collection of information to be examined for their relevance, validity, and merit, which I have done and found them seriously wanting. That is what lawyers do all the time in Courts.
        Lord Justice Wall regarding two cases in the Court of Appeal in which he delivered a lengthy written judgement : “For too long the family courts have been the subject of the canard that they administer `secret justice’ welcoming the government’s moves to greater transparency and hoping that they would finally “Dispel the myth that there is a gender bias against fathers within the family justice system”.
        In the first case Lord Justice Wall stated of the father: He completely lost sight of the principal focus of the case – the welfare of his son – and had become wholly pre-occupied with what he regards as an ongoing battle with the mother of his child”. But the reason the father was not seeing his son was nothing to do with what the boy’s mother had done or because of any failure by Judge Hunt, who had heard the case, the reason was simply the father’s behaviour.”.
        In the second case, the father “Instead of persuading Mr Justice Coleridge that he had a case which had been misunderstood, the judge found that the father had clearly demonstrated that everything the judge had said about him was correct. The children’s hostility towards the father, the judge had found, related directly to his behaviour towards them. They had not been alienated by the mother!.”

        Such findings are very common in Family Law cases. i.e. that fathers are not concerned with the child’s best interests, only that they gain an advantage over the mother, and secondly that the hostility of their children is caused by their own behaviours, and not by any form of alienation by the mothers.

        But I’m sure Luke that such statements will again be summarily dismissed by you as no one’s opinion matters except your own and evidence which conflicts with your highly subjective view of the world, is therefore wrong by definition. Try opening your mind to all of the evidence and gain an understanding from all perspectives, not a narrow little view of the world through the bar room windows.

  6. Yvie says:

    Impressive post Luke.

  7. Luke says:

    As usual Charles you write a lot but you don’t say a lot.
    Charles is too far gone in his delusion but I will allow others to consider whether the 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews linked to are just about adolescents as he claims – and whether his insulting claims about fathers looking after their children and less than 5% paternal residency reality in the UK can be justified – as he tries to claim.
    There comes a point when somebody is trying to tell you black is white that you have to accept where they are and what they are standing in…


    • Charles Pragnell says:

      The simple truth is that it is mothers who are discriminated against in the Family Courts and constantly encounter biased and ill-informed beliefs and attitudes.

      This recent study by the University of Sydney `No way to Live’ established that:

      `The most common beliefs that women encountered in their contacts with the many professionals they dealt with were that:
      • children need a relationship with their fathers (even in a context of abuse and violence)
      • women fabricate allegations of child abuse and domestic violence
      • mothers attempt to stop contact, including by alienating children from fathers
      • women should not raise allegations of violence and abuse in the family law system because they risk being seen as uncooperative by the court
      • the courts will inevitably order shared care or at least some contact, no matter what violence or abuse has occurred prior to separation.’

      The starting point in all Family Law proceedings is that the non-resident parent will have substantial contact with the child and the onus of proof is on the resident parent to provide evidence to justify not granting that. As you can see above, mothers face immense prejudice in trying to do so.

  8. Andrew says:

    Charles, that was a Australian study; this is an English blog.

    In any event to say that a woman should provide substantial grounds for refusing a child contact with the father is not prejudice – it is recognition of the parenthood of both parties.

    • Charles Pragnell says:

      “… that was a Australian study; this is an English blog”. So that disqualifies most of the `studies’ posted by Luke. I’m sure he’ll be pleased to hear that. Domestic violence is a universal scourge as recognised by the World Health Organisation and is directly comparable between all western countries.

      • Luke says:

        Well Charles, that means you have to accept those studies as relevant and therefore also accept that you are talking absolute bullshit on domestic violence – we already know that you are talking insulting bullshit about fathers – you can’t have it both ways on DV evidence.
        Of course in reality I know you won’t do any of that and will deny the evidence because you have an extreme misandrist view.

        • Charles Pragnell says:

          “If you can see the words you have spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools…”. No Luke, that is not what I said. You have contributed nothing to this discussion except a list of dubious studies which I have shown to be irrelevant to the debate and which your compatriot Andrew similarly dismissed as irrelevant because they were largely conducted in other countries. I’m afraid that your attempts at sarcastic ridicule and invective are no substitute for knowledge and carefully considered thought and intelligent argument. I don’t think you have anything else to offer.

          No I am not a misandrist but I do have an intense dislike towards males who attempt to be abusive bullies who cannot discuss subjects reasonably and responsibly. I am quite sure I am supported by the vast majority of other males in so doing. Your only talent appears to be for pigeon chess.

          • Luke says:

            That IS what you said – you call the studies ‘dubious’ and said that they are only about adolescents (based on sweet FA as usual) because you don’t like them – and your attempts to pretend they are irrelevant have been condemned out of your own mouth !
            I don’t think you’ve ever had anything to offer Pragnell, any person who thinks domestic violence is a virtual one-way street and defends the fact that men almost never get residency by insulting men as fathers is a misandrist and I’m quite sure the majority of men would find your views outrageous.

          • Charles Pragnell says:

            I accept that………. as your admission that you have nothing to say of value or merit. Now leave the discussion to people with intelligence, experience, and knowledge.

          • Luke says:

            More nonsense waffle from you Pragnell – what a surprise…

            If the discussion is only for people with intelligence, experience, and knowledge then the moderator will have to delete all of your posts 🙂

          • Stitchedup says:

            “Now leave the discussion to people with intelligence, experience, and knowledge”

            Definition of Narcissism – The pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.

  9. John Smith says:

    I am a victim of this behavior by a devious lying woman. The ex, me and my son were due to go on a family holiday, two days before our departure date we had a small argument which escalated very quickly. She then informed me that she wasn’t going and I should go with our son. Upon returning after a great week away she snatched the boy out of my arms and slammed the door in my face, I was then handed a non mol by a process server, I was totally bewildered. It turned out while we were away she had been to court and got an ex parte non mol order saying I was the perpetrator of Domestic Abuse. Four days later I was staying at my parents house and I was served with a prohibited steps order saying I could not remove my son from her care and control She told the court I had kidnapped him and took him on holiday without her consent! I then never saw my son for a month until we went back to court, and even then it was limited to a few hours a week.
    Woman can lie, woman can be devious and they most certainly are cunning.
    Oh and by the way, I was the primary carer, the stay at home dad while she went out to work, she got legal aid because she alleged DV. I got a large bill.

    This all happened over a year ago, but it seems to me that the Family Court do take the womans side, in my case they did anyway.

  10. anon says:

    I am a victim of domestic violence, backed up by historical police records and witnesses. I was called a liar in the family court , my children were placed with my abusive ex , as I would not admit that I was lying so therefore I am supposedly mental. The so called expert had no experience in domestic violence and asked rather unintelligent questions such as why didn’t you go to the doctor every time you were beaten up. .My children have now been alienated from me. I am now paying maintenance for children I do not see, who live in a house I paid the mortgage on and the legal fees to buy. I am female .
    It just does not happen to men, and believe me I am not unsympathetic to anyone of either sex who has had the tables turned on them.

  11. Charles Pragnell says:

    AUSTRALIA – Leading the world in tackling domestic violence:

    • Charles Pragnell says:

      Police to appoint new Assistant Commissioner for family violence
      December 5, 2014
      • (29)
      • Read later
      Cameron Houston and Craig Butt

      Chief Commissioner Ken Lay. Photo: Eddie Jim

      Victoria Police is set to appoint its first Assistant Commissioner for Domestic Violence in response to another surge in family-related assaults and growing community awareness about the extent of the problem.

      Crime Data released by Victoria Police last Monday revealed that domestic violence offences increased by 14.4 percent over the 12 months to September 2014, and now account for almost half of all crimes against the person.

      A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed that Chief Commissioner Ken Lay had “committed to forming a dedicated focus within the organisation that will provide a single point of accountability and governance”.
      “Whilst a proposed model is still being considered and finalised both within Victoria Police and with government, it is likely that the details will be publicly announced shortly,” the spokeswoman said.

      There were a total of 21,848 family violence assaults over the 12-month period to September – an average of almost 60 a day.
      But this number was outstripped by the number of family violence intervention order breaches and other justice procedure offences reported to police.

      Repeat offenders made up a significant proportion, with the number of offences involving people breaching family violence orders three times within 28 days soaring from 85 in 2012-13 to 1152 in 2013-14.
      In April, Fairfax Media revealed a three-fold increase in arrests for family violence-related homicides in 2012-13 compared to the previous financial year.

      The decision by Police Command to create a new Assistant Commissioner role to tackle family violence follows this week’s appointment of Northcote MP Fiona Richardson as the state’s first Minister for Prevention of Family Violence under the new Andrews government.

      Premier Daniel Andrews has also vowed to establish a royal commission into domestic violence, which he described as a “national emergency”.
      “Some people think the chief duty of a government is to maintain law and order. Well, the biggest law and order issue in our state is unfolding inside our homes,” Mr Andrews told the ALP conference in May.

      Chief Commissioner Lay has been a vocal critic of violence against women since he took the top job in 2011, identifying domestic violence as one of the most significant challenges faced by police.

      In a recent speech that marked the national day of action against domestic violence, Chief Commissioner Lay promised to provide the leadership “so desperately” needed on violence against women.
      “All of us would do well to believe women’s stories … for too many years, violence against women has been one of Australia’s dark, dark secrets,” he said.

  12. Charles Pragnell says:

    Australia needs to ‘get real’ about domestic violence, says Quentin Bryce
    December 6, 2014 – 12:15AM

    Judith Ireland
    National political reporter

    “I just feel very, very deeply about the responsibility I have as a woman to make any contribution I can to addressing this issue.” Photo: Glenn Hunt/Fairfax Media

    “I know I’m probably shouting at you,” Quentin Bryce says, almost apologetically. “I feel so strongly about it. And so determined.”

    The former governor-general is not shouting – can you ever imagine it? – but her usually melodious tones have a steely edge.

    She is speaking about domestic violence, which she describes as “the most grave human rights issue in the world”.

    Speaking out: Former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce has been particularly affected by childrens’ accounts of abuse. Photo: Andrew Meares

    In Australia, about one in three women has experienced physical violence and almost every week a woman is killed by her former or current partner.

    “I cannot believe that in 2014, in our society, we are seeing this horrific, abhorrent behaviour increasing,” Bryce says.

    In her career as an academic, community advocate and vice-regal representative, Bryce has been working around the issue for decades. But as the chair of a new Queensland government taskforce on domestic violence, it is now her prime focus.

    “I just feel very, very deeply about the responsibility I have as a woman to make any contribution I can to addressing this issue,” Bryce says.

    Since starting work on the taskforce – which is due to report to Premier Campbell Newman at the end of February – she has been inundated with stories of abuse.

    Last week, a 20-something woman approached Bryce while she was waiting to collect her luggage at the airport.
    The young woman told of how her mother would keep the car running at times in case the family had to make a quick getaway from their violent father.
    “She just stood there for this long story – I must have missed my bag 10 times.”

    But for all the personal accounts, it is the ones about children that most upset Bryce, who is a mother of five and grandmother of 11.
    “It brings tears to my eyes, really, the conversations with children,” she says before talking of a nine year-old boy she met recently.
    “As grandmas do, I was talking about what did he want to do when he grew up. He just looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘I don’t want to be anything’.”

    A policewoman later told Bryce that one of the boy’s parents had stabbed the other more than 20 times.
    “I know from the research that I’ve been reading myself [that] no baby or toddler is too small to be traumatised by domestic violence,” she says.

    Bryce is adamant that domestic violence is not just an issue for the government to solve – all Australians have to “get real”.
    “We all have a responsibility here … nothing will happen without the community driving it,” she says, adding that people need to talk about domestic violence for more than one day a year.
    “The issue is one that for me calls up the word ‘courage’. It requires courage for a victim to tell her story, courage from each one of us to take action and not be a bystander and courage from perpetrators to seek help.”

    Along with chairing the taskforce, Bryce has been devoting her time, post-Yarralumla, to community organisations, particularly those for indigenous people.

    Back in Brisbane and installed in an office at the Queensland University of Technology, she feels like she is going “back to the beginning”.

    Having spent large chunks of her career at universities, Bryce says she loves being on a campus among young people again.
    “They’re so engaging and friendly. And I try and eavesdrop on their conversations,” she says.

    There is time for reflection, too, now that she is home.
    “I’ve got 45 years of professional papers that need sorting out. If you open a cupboard here, they all come tumbling out.”

    And as she prepares for her 50th wedding anniversary to husband Michael next week, she enthuses about being to be closer to her family, after nearly six years in Canberra.
    “I love being near my little grandchildren, some of them live a stone’s throw away … all those gorgeous things.”

    But thinking about her do list, including the number of speeches, Bryce chuckles. “Frankly, I’m a bit too busy.”

    It is eight months now since Prime Minister Tony Abbott made Bryce a dame.

    But the former governor-general says it has “not really changed anything” for her – apart from the fact that people don’t know what to call her.
    “[They] feel a bit awkward about it,” she says, noting she has been called everything from “Dame Bryce” to “Your Honour”.
    Not that she cares about titles much, firmly correcting Fairfax Media during the interview that instead of Dame Quentin, she prefers “Quentin, thanks”.

    • Stitchedup says:

      “In Australia, about one in three women has experienced physical violence and almost every week a woman is killed by her former or current partner”

      Good job Australia is a big country, going to need a lot of prisons if they intend to lock up 33% of the male population. One woman a week killed by her former or current partner, how many men killed?

      “A policewoman later told Bryce that one of the boy’s parents had stabbed the other more than 20 times”………. was this the mother stabbing the father or the father stabbing the mother??

  13. Charles Pragnell says:

    Saturday Soapbox: Be a man and stop all the violence

    Mercury •
    December 06, 2014 12:00AM


    Be a man and stop all the violence
    Women should feel safe in their own home, but domestic violence remains an all-too-common reality.

    IT is rare in politics for there to be complete agreement on an issue, but eliminating violence to women and their children and achieving gender equality are necessary exceptions.

    We are standing together as elected representatives to voice our grave concern at the level of domestic violence in our community — the lives that have been lost, the women and children who have suffered at the hands of violent men.

    Importantly, the men of your Parliament are standing with their female colleagues every step of the way, as is every Tasmanian White Ribbon Ambassador and every man who respects and values women and girls as equals in our community.

    In a historic move to mark White Ribbon Day this year, our Liberal Premier, the Labor Opposition Leader and Leader of the Greens led a moving debate that committed the Parliament to standing up, always, for the rights of Tasmanian women and children.

    This is an issue beyond party politics.

    The authors of this article, from left, Lara Giddings, Jacquie Petrusma and Cassy O’Conno
    The authors of this article, from left, Lara Giddings, Jacquie Petrusma and Cassy O’Connor join forces as White Ribbon Ambassadors to help stamp out domestic violence.

    The level of domestic and family violence in Australia, and in Tasmania, is shocking. It is, by any definition, an epidemic.

    In the words of Army Chief Lieutenant General David Morrison: “When you start to look at the terrible statistics for this country … of violence against women and children, it’s breathtaking.”

    A woman dies at the hands of a violent partner or ex-partner, on average, every week in Australia.

    This year, already 69 Australian women have been killed by a man they know — 69 women, 69 individual lives full of dreams and hopes, of people who loved them, and 69 stories cut violently short, never to be told in full.

    These murderous acts have claimed women and men in Tasmania.

    People like mother of two, Meagan Wilton and her partner, Benjamin Eyles, murdered in front of her children by her ex-partner at Hamilton in December 2012.

    And mother of four Jessica Kupsch, bashed to death in a Launceston motel room by her on-off partner in August 2012.

    In the space of six months in 2012, five Tasmanians were murdered.

    The list goes on, and it has been going on for generations.

    We have a duty to honour the memory of these Tasmanians, and all those who died before them, whose only crime was to fall for, or associate with, the wrong kind of man.

    In Tasmania there are women living in fear of their husbands, boyfriends, fathers or sons.

    They live with the threat of violence, unsure when the next attack will come, how hard the hit, whether they will be left with broken bones, or worse, whether they will live to survive.

    If there are children, they will be left with lifelong psychological scars.

    A reported average of 105 Tasmanian children each month witness violence in their domestic circle.

    Because we haven’t yet broken cycles of violence and trauma, substance abuse, intergenerational poverty, lack of education and housing stress, some children will become perpetrators.

    At the human frontline, government-run and state-funded community services provide a strong crisis response that is full of heart, but funding is always tight and meeting the demand for services remains a challenge.

    There were 2380 violent incidents reported to Tasmania Police in 2013-14, and 1691 reported family arguments, making a total of 4071 events.

    Back in 2004-05, total events were 4095, so in nearly a decade we have decreased by only 24 events. The nature of these crimes ensures the statistics don’t tell the real story. It is estimated 58 per cent of victims do not report their injuries to police.

    One in three Australian women will experience violence at the hands of a male at least once.

    The statistics show there is a solid correlation between reported national rates of domestic violence and entrenched gender inequality.

    Despite its “fair go” character, Australia is not yet a nation of equals.

    Australia ranks 24th on the World Economic Forum gender gap index, just above Ecuador and Mozambique.

    Australian women are four times more likely to be sexually harassed in the workplace than their male counterparts.

    It is hard to argue discrimination and everyday sexism are not still embedded in our cultural fabric.

    It is 111 years since Tasmanian women were given the vote, four years since Australia elected its first female prime minister, a little over three years since Tasmania’s first female premier came to office.

    A woman has held the office of governor-general, and a great Tasmanian woman has recently been appointed Tasmanian Governor.

    So much progress, and yet we are still so far from a society where women and girls are treated as equals and feel safe from violence.

    We all have a responsibility to stand up for the equal rights and safety of women and children. Prevention begins at home, in our schools and workplaces, in community groups and sporting clubs.

    It begins, most of all, with the men in our community.

    No woman is an island, and we need all Tasmania’s men to step up and be counted for their mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, partners and for every Tasmanian woman and girl.

    Not just on White Ribbon Day, but every day until we create a more equal and safe Tasmania.

    Jacquie Petrusma, MP, Minister for Human Services, Minister for Women

    Lara Giddings, MP, Shadow Attorney-General

    • Stitchedup says:

      “There were 2380 violent incidents reported to Tasmania Police in 2013-14, and 1691 reported family arguments, making a total of 4071 events.”

      Excuse me!!! 1691 family arguments??!!?? since when has it been a crime to have a family argument!!???!!!

    • Stitchedup says:

      “This is particularly problematic because claims of alienation are a common abuser tactic but courts seem to be more open to these allegations than domestic violence which mothers rarely falsify”

      Well, I think we can put this article in the bin then.

      • Charles Pragnell says:

        Yes some women are violent towards men. A typical scenario.
        “Lydia Salce feared for her life when her biker husband held a knife to her throat and started punching her. When he dropped the knife, she stabbed him.
        A court sentenced her to sixteen years in jail.
        In this day and age, when courts are dead set against men, and women can do no wrong, how did this happen? “. – See more at:

  14. Charles Pragnell says:

    New Research Requires Changes in Custody Court Practices
    Barry Goldstein
    Starting with the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study in 1998 medical researchers have established the enormous and long term harm to children from being exposed to traumatic events such as witnessing domestic violence and direct physical or sexual abuse. The research establishes that there is a cumulative adversity so that the more exposure a child suffers the greater the chance of serious medical consequences and the more serious those consequences are likely to be. There is now a substantial body of medical research that establishes not only the enormous harm to children, but the many mechanisms that result in increased illnesses and injuries during their childhood and for the rest of their lives. When court or other professionals fail to take sensible actions to safeguard children, or give more consideration to less important factors they are literally reducing the life expectancy of these children.
    When domestic violence first became a public issue in the mid to late 1970s, custody courts had to develop practices to respond. For many years when a protective mother went to court seeking a protective order and for any visitation with the father to be supervised judges would routinely ask some version of “Did he also assault the child?” If the answer was no, the court treated the father as if he was just as qualified as the mother for custody and visitation. These risky practices continued until the eighties and nineties when research established that children witnessing domestic violence were more likely to engage in a wide range of harmful behaviors when older including substance abuse, self-mutilation, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school, prostitution, crime and for boys to assault future partners and girls to be assaulted by future partners. These findings led to legislation in every state either to require courts to consider domestic violence in any decision about custody or visitation or to create a presumption against custody for abusers under some limited circumstances.
    Every state has adopted the best interests of the child standard to determine custody and visitation and has developed a list of factors either legislatively or through case law that must be considered in making these decisions. Unfortunately the states have not required that children’s safety be treated as the first priority so courts are free to use very subjective standards when deciding where the children will live. In many cases political or personal beliefs and factors far less important than the safety of children are determinative in custody decisions. This often poisons the process because abusers can distract attention from safety issues by raising less important issues. Judges sometimes believe that fairness requires the court to treat the issues raised by the mother and father equally even though one of those issues is more fundamental to the well-being of children. This is an example of false equivalency that is common in custody courts. In many cases, courts weigh allegations of domestic violence and alienation as if they are equally important to the well-being of children. At worst, alienation might temporarily interfere with the relationship between the child and a parent while domestic violence leads to serious and life impacting health problems throughout the child’s life and often reduces how long they live. I have never heard an evaluator or a judge weigh the relative importance of these issues based on scientific research. This is particularly problematic because claims of alienation are a common abuser tactic but courts seem to be more open to these allegations than domestic violence which mothers rarely falsify.

    • Stitchedup says:

      “This is particularly problematic because claims of alienation are a common abuser tactic but courts seem to be more open to these allegations than domestic violence which mothers rarely falsify”

      Well, I think we can put this article in the bin then…. not at all one sided 🙂

    • Stitchedup says:

      I’m not exactly sure of the point of your post, but thanks for the info anyway; I’ll be sure to avoid any male that appears “glib and charming” as he’s probably a psychopath.

      Is there a version of this where they ask…. Did you examine the mother for any symptoms of the mental illness of psychopathy???? Should I be avoiding glib and charming females also???

      Am I being glib??….. oh my god I must be a psychopath!!!!! 🙁

      • Charles Pragnell says:

        PSYCHOPATHS RULE OUR WORLD ( including the Family Courts)

        “A psychopath is not a psychopath unless he or she can hide their tracks with total success. They get away with murder exactly because no one sees it coming because they are that good and that intelligent with their ruinations. So most people would not recognize a psychopath until they are trapped, suffering or dying at the hands of one. This describes most people’s idea of psychopaths who are hidden wolves among the many sheep.”

      • Petunia Pigg says:

        Actually StitchedUp, that might not make you a psychopath, but coupled with your other posts, it make you sarcastic. I also read failure to communicate, failure to listen, stubborn, possibly delusional (due to your belief that you do not need to obey a court order). Ironically my ex shares these same traits, he is a convicted domestic abuser of several females (ex and current partners). I myself have a permanent no contact order. An order, which contrary to your claims, was not simply handed to me like candy. It took nearly a decade, many incidents of abuse, stalking, harassment and more and the initial order was only for six months. My ex was his own worst enemy, and not knowing BOTH sides of your issue, I would hazard a guess there were probably similar issues in your case. My ex simply refused to think anyone had the right to tell him he could or could not do something. And it sounds like you have this very same issue. You state that proof was provided that your ex called you back twice? The order is against you not her. She has no limits on communication with you, the restriction is on you to not communicate with her. The proper protocol to have followed when you phoned to speak to your child (and what possessed you to think asking a child to dig up papers or documentation was a good idea) and the child was not present, was to have simply stated – thank you please have him return my call, goodbye. But again if you are anything like my ex, you would not have done this. You would have attempted to assert your ‘rights’ which I hear about quite a bit from you and the others on here, with little or no mention of the opposing party’s rights, or more importantly, the children’s rights. We are missing volumes of background info on your case, most importantly, your ex’s version of the events of the mentioned situation. Before you point out that there is no mention of my ex’s version of my recitations of my case, realize this is a pen name (avery well known pen name in family rights circles) and for the protection of the children involved in this case, extra info will not be forthcoming. So I understand that I may or may not be credible, however it is not my circus nor my monkeys to worry about whether you, a man very similar in word and nuance Tony ex, believes me. The right people believed and I and my children are protected from a man very much like you. Thankfully it only took a decade to resolve. Sadly, it took a decade to resolve.

        • Stitchedup says:

          “stubborn, possibly delusional (due to your belief that you do not need to obey a court order).”

          Reasonable excuse was my defence and still is.

          ” not knowing BOTH sides of your issue, I would hazard a guess there were probably similar issues in your case”
          Guess as much as you like, the fact is the non-mol was down to gamesmanship to get me out of the family home. As you say we don’t know the details of each others case.
          “The proper protocol to have followed when you phoned to speak to your child (and what possessed you to think asking a child to dig up papers or documentation was a good idea) and the child was not present, was to have simply stated – thank you please have him return my call, goodbye”
          I first asked to speak to my eldest son, he was 19 at the time, intelligent and fully capable of putting his hands on documentation filed under mortgage. My younger son was 17 nearly 18, equally intelligent and fully capable of putting his hands on documentation filed under mortgage. I thank you for agreeing that uttering some words would appear reasonable but the Judge was not in agreement with your considered “proper protocol”, he said I should have put the phone down as soon as I heard her voice… i.e. I should have made a silent phone call, perhaps I should’ve thrown-in some heavy breathing for good measure. That said when a person asks what the call is about most people think it reasonable, polite and proper to explain what the call is about. I was asked by a solicitor she had instructed, to provide info and to sign corresponding documentation to comply with a court order of sale. I explained this and my ex continued the conversation providing some of the required info. It started amicably but I terminated the conversation when it became contentious as we weren’t in agreement on the selling price for the house…. You’re welcome to question my judgement but there was certainly nothing malicious on my part.

          “You state that proof was provided that your ex called you back twice?”
          The ex admitted she called me back twice, she also admitted I asked to speak to the kids not her.

          “The order is against you not her. She has no limits on communication with you, the restriction is on you to not communicate with her”
          Now we’re getting to the crux of the issue and I thank you for raising it. This is the absurdity of the situation, why communicate with somebody you don’t want to communicate with or you claim to be in fear of?? So I’m supposed to stand there dumb/mute while if she tries to communicate??? Perhaps she’s just trying to provoke me or catch-me out….ha ha you spoke….got you!!!! Most reasonable people would consider it reasonable for a respondent to communicate if the applicant has initiated/invited communication, most reasonable people would understand that a respondent can not control who answers the phone; most reasonable people, like yourself, would consider it reasonable for a respondent to say something politely so that the applicant knows who is on the other end of the phone and understands that it is not a malicious silent phone call.

          Non-communication orders are a step too far in many cases and the courts cannot be relied upon to consider reasonable excuse in a commsensical way.

  15. Charles Pragnell says:

    From the FBI – Psychopathy.
    1. Are you familiar with the psychiatric illness termed as Anti-Social Personality Disorder in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual?. It is commonly termed as psychopathy or sociopathy, is it not.?
    2. Are you also familiar, with the recently published Law Enforcement Bulletin published by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation and titled “Psychopathy – An Important Forensic Concept for the 21st Century”. (if s/ he hasn’t ask the Court if you can give him a copy on the witness stand).
    3. Did you examine the father for any symptoms of the mental illness of psychopathy.?. For example: Quote “In general, psychopaths are glib and charming, and they use these attributes to manipulate others into trusting and believing in them” and “ deception; manipulation; irresponsibility; impulsivity; stimulation seeking; poor behavioural controls; shallow affect; lack of empathy, guilt, or remorse; sexual promiscuity; callous disregard for the rights of others; and unethical and antisocial behaviours?.
    4. Would it surprise you to know that the father has exhibited the following signs of psychopathy over many years?. Quote “Many psychopaths exhibit a profound lack of remorse for their aggressive actions, both violent and nonviolent, along with a corresponding lack of empathy for their victims. This central psychopathic concept enables them to act in a cold-blooded manner, using those around them as pawns to achieve goals and satisfy needs and desires, whether sexual, financial, physical, or emotional. Most psychopaths are grandiose, selfish sensation seekers who lack a moral compass—a conscience—and go through life taking what they want. They do not accept responsibility for their actions and find a way to shift the blame to someone or something else”.
    5. I further quote, ” However psychopathy often is misread, misdiagnosed, minimised, or explained away by professionals who’s jobs require regular interaction with psychopaths, namely in the mental health, judicial, and law enforcement communities. When these Professionals encounter Psychopathy in the course of their work, its too little too late. Their lack of information can lead to serious consequences , ranging from the mishandling of Strategies in Interviews and interrogations TO BELIEVING A PSYCHOPATHS COMPLETE FABRICATIONS AS SEEMINGLY PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATIONS.” Would you agree with that statement?.
    6. The article also states that “Many misconceptions about psychopaths can lead to mistakes in investigations, interviews, and court proceedings”. Do you think it possible, that the father may have used you as such a `Pawn” and has groomed and manipulated you?.

  16. Luke says:

    Is the father a psychopath ? Psychopathy would be a great label to pin on him.
    You haven’t labelled him a psychopath ??? Are you SURE – have another look – are you really sure?
    You’ve probably made a mistake, I’d go and re-evaluate if I was you – are you SUUUUUURE he’s not a psychopath ????????????

  17. Charles Pragnell says:

    This is typical of how mothers are being treated in the Family Courts in the UK, USA, and Australia and why so many are now fleeing overseas to try to protect their children. Leaving their homes, their friends and relatives, their support networks, and often their successful careers, for the sake of protecting their children when Family Courts fail to do so.

  18. anon says:

    I an no expert but I can say that my abuser was a most superficially charming man, a tremendous actor who liked to be centre stage. He excelled at public displays of his talents and slipped into character. He can lie so easily.
    I can tell you it is absolute nonsense that he beat me out of temper , he was completely in control. It could stop and start at will.
    He acted as the victim, getting people to side with him.
    Have I described a psychopath?

  19. Charles Pragnell says:

    “On August 1, the Istanbul Convention, a landmark treaty of the Council of Europe dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, will enter into force. It could not come at a better time. Violence against women remains one of the most widespread human rights violations which takes place every day in Europe; intimate partner violence is still among the major causes of non-accidental death, injury and disability for women. This tragic situation stems from a variety of social, economic and cultural reasons, but a common background condition is glaring inequality between men and women. The Convention has the potential to become a powerful driver in making progress on this pressing human rights issue.”

    • Stitchedup says:

      Charles we all know domestic abuse is a major political hot button, that is exactly what I have been saying….the problem is justice is not meant to be political. Unfortunately as a result of all this hysteria and feminist political pressure we are seeing gross injustice/summary justice being handed out as a result of political correctness. How can it be right that a man, found in breach of an ex-parte non-mol because he has spoken to the mother of his children and partner of 20 years, receives a stiffer sentence than a man that punches a young woman he doesn’t really know and knocks her out???

      • Charles Pragnell says:

        StitchedUp- whilst not necessarily agreeing with your view of events, the law often moves in mysterious ways and far be it for me to question the inscrutable ways of the Triers of Fact. (apologies to F.E. Smith). It is a highly subjective process despite claim by the judiciary and legal profession to the opposite. Personal biases and prejudices abound, particularly in the Family Courts where complete discretion is permitted regarding the application of the Evidence Acts. Hence they are little more than Kangaroo Courts.
        Family Courts are little more than an adversarial, combative arena with the (legal) champions of each side competing for a win and prepared to use any ploys and tactics to do so. It is those champions who leave with most of the spoils, no matter who wins the verdict.
        Empathy and compassion for the children involved are completely banished during such contests and the children are treated as mere inanimate objects, and names on multiple pieces of paper, with no recognition that they are human beings with emotions, feelings, and views on how they should spend the rest of their childhood.
        I’m afraid, dear friend, that as the saying goes, “Nobody said that life would be fair” and unfairness and injustices abound in the Courts. Of course protests against such unfairness and injustices are dismissed as being a “disgruntled loser” by those who have profited from the sufferer’s demise.
        My primary and paramount concerns are for the children involved in such matters and how they are treated so atrociously by many of those involved and which frequently results in many hundreds of children suffering continuing abuses, and even death. I read and listen to their pained words and accounts of abuse almost daily. I don’t therefore have many sympathies for parents who have minor gripes with the system.
        But then, once Final Orders are made, and the winners count their spoils, the Courts don’t care what happens to the children, no follow up is done, no further reports, so their consciences are salved and they can rest peacefully in their beds.

      • AO says:

        I have found myself, throughout most of my adult life, being sympathetic towards men, and all because of my own mother’s lack of compassion for my deceased father, as well as myself and my five siblings. The description of narcissism should include my mother’s name. Years of counseling for myself, due to the neglect I was subjected to by this being (she had no maternal instincts), has lead me to the satisfied conclusion that it’s ‘ok’ for me to distance myself from her company. I remember her always playing the victim, but even as a child I saw through her facade…my siblings and I matured extremely early, out of sheer survival mode. I’ve raised my own children in an entirely opposite environment, and their goals and accomplishments are evident in every aspect of life. My point here is: family violence can take on so many faces, and women should be held accountable, instead of being automatically assumed the victim. My mother can clinically be labeled a psychopath, yet I survived her.

  20. Coercive Behaviour - the criticisms says:

    […] Additionally, renowned family lawyer Marylin Stowe also fears that under this new law, divorce could lead to prosecution: […]

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