26 Apr False allegations – the silver bullet.
Something we were brought up to believe was important. Truth and integrity as solid foundations on which to build our lives.
Something to instil into our children to guide them, like a shining beacon, through the challenges and rigours of life.
When did ‘truth’ become so easy to distort? To destroy lives, reputations and familial heritage and actually get rewarded for doing so?
We might assume that our UK Family Courts espouse justice, equality and fair process. Yet, astonishingly, it presides over institutional malpractice causing serious harm, serious injustice and human rights violations.
As a survivor of life-threatening domestic abuse, the imperative of protecting victims is innately understood. No-one should ever have to live a life of visceral fear, denigration, chaos and trauma. Our home is meant to be our sanctuary yet, in abusive households, it’s our prison.
There’s been some excellent progress in the intervening years since we launched a domestic abuse campaign to raise awareness and understanding of issue. The ‘behind closed doors’ scenario where police generally didn’t intervene in what was trivialised as ‘a domestic’.
It is now fully recognised for the intolerable crime that it is. Fully accepted that ‘abuse’ doesn’t just comprise physical or sexual harm, but includes psychological abuse and coercive control. Every bit as harmful and usually longer lasting.
When the Cameron-Clegg coalition came to power in 2010, the western world was standing on a financial precipice. The repeal of the Glass- Steagall Act in 1999 which enabled gamblers (investment bankers) to get their hands on domestic mortgages, was catastrophic. Public funding had to be slashed in order to avoid economic collapse.
Unfortunately, that included legal aid funding. As part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO); legal aid provision was removed other than for genuine victims of domestic violence, or persons who met ‘exceptional circumstances’. This made sense. Genuine victims of abuse have to be protected. Their children must be protected.
There were many warnings, however, that in the absence of rigorous checks on allegations before legal aid was awarded, false allegations would increase. That their strategic deployment would be the only way litigants could secure funding and the only way many legal firms could maintain their businesses.
Since LASPO was introduced, and despite a declining divorce rate, we have seen these warnings become a reality. We saw a charity quietly change their status to a ‘for profit’ commercial enterprise and build a highly lucrative business model on the back of issuing Non Molestation Orders. In particular the ‘ex-parte’ (without notice) orders. An investigation into the financial arrangements between this organisation and legal aid lawyers has already seen legal firms sanctioned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority for breaking the law.
Ex-parte orders which some legal firms continue to deliver late on a friday evening, so the recipient has little time to respond and contest. It is such common practice, it led to some West Country Judges taking the unusual step of speaking out publicly in concern about it.
All this shouldn’t really come as any surprise given we are dealing with human nature and vested interests. The fall out, however, is incalculable. In economic cost, ironically enough, but most especially in human cost.
That some innocent parties can be served with a non molestation order without notice. That the ‘full hearing within 14 days’ – part of due process – is often little more than 10 minutes, seems an obvious abuse of what was intended by legislators. It means that respondents have powerful court orders threatening their liberty, without the slightest bit of evidence brought forward.
They find themselves up against lawyers who are funded by the state, while they have to fully fund any representation themselves.
They then often have to wait months to contest the allegations and, in the interim, are blocked from their marital home and prevented from seeing their children. Sometimes with a Power of Arrest if they so much as try to contact their children, let alone see them.
We hear testimonies from innocent fathers and mothers. Parents arrested for even sending their own child a birthday card.
Agencies and organisations such as Cafcass, the police and schools who are sent a copy of the non mol, would naturally assume they are dealing with an ‘abuser’ when in fact, in too many cases, those accused have simply been unable to present their own evidence to refute the allegations. It is taken as ‘fact’ when it could, potentially, be anything but.
It’s the stuff of nightmares. Almost incomprehensible. Yet it’s happening to innocent parents throughout the UK. Right now.
And it’s not just the liberal dispensation of non mol orders which increased, as an example, by 239% in Barnet Family Court, 444% in Birmingham Family Court, 2918% in Wolverhampton Family Court.
Even without the evident misuse of non molestation orders, we are witnessing other sickening abuses of our judicial system.
Listen to this story of a loving father prevented from seeing his own children through false allegations. Allegations which were repeatedly imprinted in his children’s impressionable young minds.
Two serious crimes were committed here. 1) The false allegation itself 2) the crime of assaulting a child’s mind with false memories of abuse. Children cannot differentiate and are equally likely to suffer serious trauma whether the abuse claims are true or manufactured.
In this case, a domestic abuse organisation, without reference to any other agencies such as the police or social services to check the validity of the accusation, and without any reference to the falsely accused parent; installed a panic button and repeatedly taught the children how to ‘run and hide’ if they saw their ‘abuser father’.
Unbelievably, staff from this domestic abuse organisation were even allowed into the children’s school to further indoctrinate them with their ‘run and hide’ mantra.
It took a long time before the Judge finally wrote to the children to reassure them their father was, in fact, safe. Insisted they went to court and signed her letter personally to prove they had read it. Tried to encourage them to find it in their heart to forgive their innocent father. Recognised she couldn’t ‘force them’ to see him again but ‘hoped’ they would.
What utter madness is this?
A vindictive parent makes false and vexatious allegations. Creates such intense fear in her children’s minds that they refuse to see or speak to their father ever again. Attempts to sever the warm, close attachment bond they enjoyed with their much-loved daddy, by perverting the course of justice.
Yet this crime goes unpunished. And these children remain with their real abuser. A pathogenic parent who has created unimaginable fear, anxiety and distress for her children, for no other reason than to prevent an equitable co-parenting plan.
If this alarms you as much as it horrifies and sickens us, then please share this article widely.
We have zero vested interest, are completely gender neutral and support all genuine victims of abuse.
Our tight focus is on child protection and social justice.
Even for professional, political or personal expediency we will not, cannot, witness this and remain silent. Silence is complicity.