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Coalition calls for explanation into why Family Justice Panel refuses to include voices of fathers

The Men and Boys Coalition has called on the Ministry of Justice to explain why it has refused to include a single fathers’ representative in its recently convened 11-strong expert panel on how the family courts protect children.

The ommission is of particular concern, as when the Ministry put out a call for expert members to sit on the panel, Familes Need Fathers, one of the UK’s only charities supporting fathers facing family court proceedings, submitted a request to be included. When the panel was announced, they had not been.

In our letter, we call on Families Need Fathers to be included on the panel and state the following:

“The issue of how the family courts protect children and parents in cases of domestic abuse and other serious offences, is one that we all recognise as an issue that requires urgent attention. It is vital therefore that the fathers, as well as mothers, and their children have full confidence that the Government is taking a fair, inclusive and gender-informed view. “

“An example of the importance of involving the voice of fathers can be seen by recent tragedy involving Cheryl Tompsett in Kent who took her own life after murdering her son. The Kent Safety Safeguarding Children Board stated that ‘a potential explanation for the homicidesuicide, was spousal revenge intended to hurt her ex-partner; a theory that could be supported by the death having occurred on Father’s Day.’ Her ex-partner had been granted custody of her son through the family courts and she had been granted access even though she had committed domestic abuse against her ex-partner.”

“If the Government chooses not to include the voices of fathers, there will rightly be questions raised on the whether the Government is taking an even handed approach and has a predetermined narrative – one that is designed not to take into account fathers and their children.”

The full letter is available here:

Paul Maynard MP’s response: