Fathers4Justice: Sheffield dads protest over custody

owen nisbet
owen nisbet
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Fathers desperate to see their children paraded through Sheffield calling for family courts to give dads more contact.

The Fathers4Justice campaign group carried banners and placards through the city centre yesterday.

Fathers4Justice members in Sheffield

Fathers4Justice members in Sheffield

They also stopped off at the family law court in Sheffield and offices of Cafcass – the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – which represents children in family court proceedings.

Campaigners including Paul Manning, from Sheffield, and Tim Harries, from Doncaster, were involved.

They are calling for ‘parity and equality’ for all parents in custody cases.

Paul, of Lower Walkley, who has not seen his son for two years, said: “Statistically 97 per cent of mothers end up with custody of their children in family court proceedings, which is wrong.”

Tim, who has not seen his two daughters for more than three years said: “It destroys you. We are not living in medieval times, fathers are just as capable of looking after their children as mothers are.”

They said they want Cafcass to be more impartial.

They claim reports prepared by Cafcass for family court judges are often ‘rubber stamped’ without any further investigation.

Paul said: “We love our children and we want to see them – I would do anything.

“We visited Cafcass to let them know how their actions affect the lives of fathers.

“What they say in their reports to the courts often go unchallenged by the judges. We just want equality.”

A Cafcass spokeswoman said: “Cafcass recognises children benefit from a continuing relationship with both parents after parental separation, where it is safe.

“We have met with groups that support those going through the family courts, including fathers.

“We are focusing on building constructive relationships with those who have a genuine interest in providing such support, as this ultimately benefits the children we work with.

“We are aware members of Fathers4Justice may have concerns about individual cases.”