March 24, 2011

Come To My New Blog And Web Site!

I have a new blog and web site, and I'm inviting everyone to it. This blog/web site focuses on my erotic writing. I will continue to post sex toys reviews on this blog. So, if you want to keep up with me, visit me at my new digs.

Elizabeth Black - Blog and Web site

See you there!

Lizzie

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

Another Article On The Discredited Parental Alienation Syndrome

This article cites the new Jennifer Hoult article about PAS and it described Fathers4Justice for its harassing tactics that led to it disbanning a few months ago

---

Rev. Anne Grant: The discredited 'Parental Alienation Syndrome'

01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TUCKED INTO a Rhode Island alleged-murder story in the May 9 Journal is a disquieting detail: The alleged killer's two children, ages 7 and 9, were in the apartment during the alleged fight to the death. The divorced father had left his children with a sitter to go out drinking; in the middle of the night he brought home the man who would die in his West Warwick kitchen.

The court computer spits out an 18-page rap sheet on Raymond C. Potter, charged with first-degree murder in the death of James Martin. It dates back to his first arrest, for domestic assault, seven years ago. The Journal reports that he also stands "accused of violating probation from a 2004 felony domestic-assault case, in which he was given a four-year suspended sentence."

So how did such a father get the children? It goes back 45 years, to an astounding proposition.
In an all-night final session on June 2, 1961, Rhode Island's sleep-deprived General Assembly unanimously approved dozens of laws, including one that set up Family Court. Gov. John Notte immediately named a chief judge and four associate justices. Pumped with patronage, the court ballooned. Today, its 13 judges and 8 magistrates impose sweeping decisions, with judicial immunity. Rhode Island is the only state that gives judges lifetime tenure without review.

Many of the lawmakers who established Family Court were lawyers -- directing a river of revenue to their profession. Did anyone really believe that adversarial litigation could help troubled families? This combative protocol has produced irresolvable wars of attrition, benefiting no one but profiteers. Lawyers, intent on causing collateral damage, bring in mental-health "experts" and send volleys whizzing back and forth.

In 1975, Rhode Island legislators approved "irreconcilable differences" as a ground for divorce. This eliminated any mention of "distasteful details of personal conduct." Though state law requires domestic violence to be considered when awarding child custody, the court routinely presumes no fault and awards joint custody. Even when there is a record of domestic violence, judges issue bizarre orders requiring the abuser and the abused to agree on important decisions in their children's lives.

Abusers with money or other forms of influence, skilled at terrorizing their families, easily gain the upper hand. Their children, suffering nightmares and stomach ailments, refuse to visit them. The abusive parent charges the protective parent with "brainwashing" the children, and wins sole custody.

The so-called Parental Alienation Syndrome, touted by many in the Rhode Island Family Court, has been discredited by the American Psychological Association and, recently, by both the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Children's Legal Rights Journal. For more than a decade, I have witnessed the devastating effects of this strategy in Rhode Island courtrooms and families.

Abusers often pride themselves on a no-nonsense parenting style that may appeal to judges. They typically show little concern for their children. Some pursue the children to torment their ex-partner or to avoid paying child support. Some force the children to deliver intelligence on the ex-partner, for protracted litigation against the protective parent. Threatened by a brutal, angry, demanding parent, the children frequently suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and worse.

A North Providence nine-year-old, diagnosed with PTSD, feared that his father would kidnap him and kill his mother, so he refused to attend school after his father returned from military duty in Iraq. On April 11, 2005, while the mother's lawyer was away on court assignment, the father's lawyer brought an emergency motion with a court-ordered guardian; the obliging judge ordered the father to enter the mother's home and "pick up" his truant son.

Mayhem ensued when the father appeared with two police officers. He literally picked up his screaming son and took him out over his shoulder, past the boy's weeping mother, grandmother, and therapist. The damage of this shock-and-awe approach is not easily undone.

Today, the boy must refer to his stepmother as "Bonus Mom," and he sees his real mother one hour a week, under intense court supervision.

In another case, last month, after a lengthy series touting the Family Court program that helps recovering addicts keep their babies, The Journal held an online interview with the chief judge. Outside, a teenager stood in pouring rain and handed out fliers with a photo of herself as a baby in her mother's arms.

Her father, a Johnston policeman charged twice by the Department of Human Services with failure to pay child support, had accused his former wife of drug addiction. Repeated tests proved him wrong, but the chief judge inexplicably gave him the baby.

"All my life," read the teen's flier, "my father told me and everyone else that I had a druggie for a mother. Three years ago I figured out he was lying. I finally left my father's violence and returned to my mother."

Since then her father has not let her talk to her half-sisters. Tormented with rage, she has sought help from psychotherapy.

The problem is not limited to Rhode Island or the United States.

In England, a group called Fathers4Justice asserted that "judges are denying fathers access to their children on little more than the say-so of vindictive ex-wives." Those fathers lost credibility this year after their plot to kidnap the prime minister's child became public. The Guardian noted ("Sins of the Fathers," May 8): "The little-known but astonishing truth about the family justice system is that it routinely grants contact orders to men who have been violent towards their partner and children. In the past decade, family courts [in England] have ordered 11 children to have contact with fathers who subsequently murdered them."

A year ago, the Rhode Island Senate established a commission to study Child Safety in Custody and Visitation. It never met.

Legislators seem too busy to care who, if anyone, is watching the children.

---

The Rev. Anne Grant, a retired minister and former executive director of the Women's Center of Rhode Island, is writing a book on domestic-violence child-custody cases.

Posted on June 27, 2006 at 09:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Article Denounces Parental Alienation Syndrome

There is a wonderful new article by Jennifer Hoult at the Leadership Council's web site. It describes all of the problems with Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation. It's an acrobat file.

Here are the details about the article. Here are the details about the article. Scroll down the page until you get to the PAS section to find it.

Jennifer Hoult. The Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Science, Law, and Policy, 26 Children's Legal Rights Journal 1 (2006).

Abstract: Since 1985, in jurisdictions all over the United States, fathers have been awarded sole custody of their children based on claims that mothers alienated these children due to a pathological medical syndrome called Parental Alienation Syndrome ("PAS").  Given that some such cases have involved stark outcomes, including murder and suicide, PAS' admissibility in U.S. courts deserves scrutiny.

This article presents the first comprehensive analysis of the science, law, and policy issues involved in PAS' evidentiary admissibility.  As a novel scientific theory, PAS' admissibility is governed by a variety of evidentiary gatekeeping standards that seek to protect legal fora from the influence of pseudo-science.  This article analyzes every precedent-bearing decision and law review article referencing PAS in the past twenty years, finding that precedent holds PAS inadmissible and the majority of legal scholarship views it negatively.  The article further analyzes PAS' admissibility under the standards defined in Frye v. United States, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Kumho Tire Company v. Carmichael, and Rules 702 and 704(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, including analysis of PAS' scientific validity and reliability; concluding that PAS remains an ipse dixit and inadmissible under these standards. 

The article also analyzes the writings of PAS' originator, child psychiatrist Richard Gardner - including twenty-three peer-reviewed articles and fifty legal decisions he cited in support of his claim that PAS is scientifically valid and legally admissible - finding that these materials support neither PAS' existence, nor its legal admissibility.  Finally, the article examines the policy issues raised by PAS' admissibility through an analysis of PAS' roots in Gardner 's theory of human sexuality, a theory that views adult-child sexual contact as benign and beneficial to the reproduction of the species.

The article concludes that science, law, and policy all support PAS inadmissability.

(Note: The Children's Legal Rights Journal is published by the American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law, and Loyola University Chicago School of Law)

Posted on June 27, 2006 at 08:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 09, 2006

When Children Are Ordered To Visit Their Abusive Fathers In Prison

For those who don't believe the case I had recently posted about in which a woman was ordered to make sure that her children visited their father in prison, after the man had attacked and raped her, they should read this article from The Guardian in the U. K. It includes information that counters bogus claims made by the discredited and ugly fathers' rights group, Fathers4Justice. Fathers4Justice imploded for good not long ago after allegations were made that members of the group had threatened to kidnap Tony Blair's son. Children are sometimes ordered to visit their fathers in prison, even if their fathers had abused them.

Below is an excerpt from the article. Go to the link to read three stories about mothers who were ordered to take their children to visit their fathers in prison. Two of these fathers were abusive, and one had kidnapped his child. While parents may have rights to visitation when they are imprisoned, ordering abused children to visit the fathers who had abused them is just plain wrong.

The sins of the fathers

Young children dragged kicking and screaming to visit their abusive fathers and mothers threatened with prison if they don't comply ... It's a world away from the image of wronged dads that the campaign group Fathers4Justice implanted in the public mind. Yet, as Decca Aitkenhead discovers, it's the harrowing reality for many families riven by violence or sexual abuse

Monday May 8, 2006
The Guardian

If a divorced father abducts his daughter, takes her abroad and goes to prison for the crime, you might think that no court would dream of granting him access to her again. When a court hears that a child is accusing his father of sexual abuse, most people would expect the man to be, at the very least, banned from further contact with his son. A father who has been repeatedly violent towards his ex-wife and children surely stands little chance, one would assume, of being allowed anywhere near them.

In fact, the father in each of these three cases has been granted access to his children by a court of law. The mothers are legally obliged to make the children see their fathers - even when the children are weeping and pleading not to go. If the mothers fail to force children, kicking and screaming, to visit a father who has abused them, they risk being sent to prison or losing custody. "And there's nothing - nothing - you can do about it," one explained. "It's not about what your child wants, it's about what the court wants. The courts want fathers to have contact. And if you don't play ball, you will lose your child."

We spoke to the three women involved in these cases, and their stories are told below. All three were scared to speak, and would only do so anonymously. Their cases are shocking - but they are far from isolated, nor are they legally anomalous. The little-known but astonishing truth about the family justice system is that it routinely grants contact orders to men who have been violent towards their partner and children.

In the past decade, family courts have ordered 11 children to have contact with fathers who subsequently murdered them. A Women's Aid report, Failure to Protect, found 18 cases of children ordered to have contact with fathers who had been convicted of schedule one offences - meaning violent crimes against children. It found that 64 children had been ordered to have contact with a parent whose behaviour had previously caused children to be placed on the child protection register. Of those, 21 had been ordered to have unsupervised contact with the abusive parent.

Fathers4Justice, in its colourful three-year campaign, helped create the impression of an unjust legal bias against fathers in the family courts. And, because family court hearings cannot be reported, the myth was allowed to flourish. Parents involved in contact disputes are often banned from discussing the proceedings, even with close friends and family, so most of us have no idea how judges decide which parents can have access to their children. But it is now widely believed, due largely to the stunts of divorced men dressed as Batman, that judges are denying fathers access to their children on little more than the say-so of vindictive ex-wives.

This is simply not true. In fact, family courts have a legal obligation to operate under a "presumption of contact" - meaning they must strive, wherever possible, to ensure that fathers see their children.

Fathers4Justice claimed that the courts deny access in 40% of cases, but the actual figure is tiny. Even though two-thirds of contact court cases involve allegations of domestic violence - often towards the children as well as their mothers - the number of fathers denied access to their children by judges is just 1%. The family courts require exceptional circumstances to overrule this presumption of contact, and, indeed, some of the Fathers4Justice campaigners had been denied access for good reasons. The plot to kidnap Leo Blair, which led to the disbanding of the organisation earlier this year, offered an instructive insight into its members' concern for a child's wellbeing.

Yet despite all this, its campaign was highly influential. Parliament is currently debating a bill designed to reinforce still further the legal presumption of contact. Informed by the fear of vengeful mothers exploiting access to punish blameless ex-partners, the children and adoption bill proposes even harsher punishments for women who fail to comply with contact orders. The bill would, in one concession to safety, require the courts to investigate any allegations of domestic violence before granting contact. However, the investigations would be carried out by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass). During a recent inspection of their service, Cafcass officers frankly admitted: "The presumption of contact is so strong, it makes it difficult to challenge, and we don't give adequate attention to the continuing impact of abuse on the child ... We look for compromises, knowing the court will presume contact."

The inspection found that in one out of 10 cases children were not even seen by Cafcass officers. Police checks were not completed in a third of cases, nor social services checks in a fifth. The court was not provided with full information in a fifth of cases. "There was a worrying lack of attention to safety planning in almost all the observed sessions," the report concluded. "The nature of domestic abuse is not sufficiently understood by most Cafcass practioners."

One of the pressure groups lobbying for the bill to treat the risk of violence more seriously is Women's Aid. According to its chief executive, Nicola Harwin, existing safety checks are dangerously hit and miss. "The whole starting position isn't concerned with safety, but with trying to patch things up. And that is very dangerous," she says. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, former head of the family justice system in England and Wales, recently echoed Harwin's concerns, stating, "The court, of course, doesn't know whether the men applying are schedule one offenders. They don't do pre-court checks."

Harwin points out a bizarre contradiction in government policies on domestic violence. On the one hand, the criminal justice system is pursuing prosecution more aggressively than ever before. On the other, the family courts are practically being instructed to ignore it. And in the current post-Fathers4Justice climate, Women's Aid's demands for more safety measures risk being dismissed as alarmist propaganda for the anti-father agenda. But, says Harwin, "this isn't about being pro-women or anti-men. It's pro-the safety of children. We want fathers to care for their children. We don't want to end up with more children being murdered."

Posted on May 9, 2006 at 04:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 05, 2006

Morons For Justice

These guys really don't get it. The way to get the U K government on your side is not to throw eggs at Education Secretary Ruth Kelly. I didn't call them "Morons For Justice". The Sun did. A man from the "Real Fathers For Justice" is behind the egg attack. Kelly is at the center of a media storm for letting "child sex perverts" to work in schools. I'd be outraged at that kind of thing myself, but the way to make your point and accurately get it across is not to throw eggs at people. That just lands you in handcuffs.

Posted on March 5, 2006 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 19, 2006

More Distancing: Fathers And Families Denounces Fathers 4 Justice

Fathers and Families is a fathers' rights group from Massachusetts. It's trying to distance itself from Fathers 4 Justice, as are many fathers' rights advocates. It has sponsored a bill that makes it harder for custodial mothers to relocate with the children, but the bill doesn't look into noncustodial fathers who move away from their children, even though their moves completely disrupt visitation. The Braver moveaway study pointed out that noncustodial fathers are just as likely to move as custodial mothers. Fathers and Families has also sponsored a presumptive joint physical custody bill, and a bill that claims women can get restraining orders at the drop of a hat. Women rarely lie to get restraining orders to get an upper hand in court proceedings. None of these bills has passed. I believe a bill did pass that makes restraining orders be heard in a more timely fashion. The presumptive joint custody bill has been sent off for study, and no action has been taken on it.

Fathers and Families protested the documentary "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories". The group even wrote a 20-page brief full of misrepresentations and ad hominem attacks against the documentary and against persons connected to and not connected to the documentary. You may read the counter-brief published by "Breaking The Silence" producer Dominique Lasseur and attorney and George Washington University Law School professor Joan Meier here.

Recent News

01/18/2006
F & F Denounces British Fathers’ Rights Extremists

Plot to Kidnap British Prime Minister’s Son a Blow to the Fathers’ Movement

News stories breaking today report that fathers’ rights extremists in England discussed the possibility of kidnapping Leo, the five year old son of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Because no arrests appear to have been made, it’s hard to believe the discussion went very far.

Fathers & Families denounces any tactics of this sort. They are anathema to the goals of this movement. In fact, such tactics set this movement backwards. Who would want to give shared parenting to child kidnappers?

The possible plot apparently was foiled just before Christmas, but is only being reported now.

We love our children, and simply wish to participate in their upbringing. It’s that simple. Kidnapping a child is a detestable act.

Posted on January 19, 2006 at 08:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (70)

Fathers Rights Activists Try To Save Face In Light Of Fathers 4 Justice Disbanning

Here are some comments from various fathers' rights mailing lists about Fathers 4 Justice being thwarted in kidnapping Tony Blair's 5-year-old son. I'm also posting their backpedaling comments about Fathers 4 Justice disbanning. They've even blamed the plot on a plot by the Blair government! Fathers' rights activists are saying the proposed kidnapping was fake. They'll do anything to distance themselves from such a heinous act.

Matt O'Connor has just announced on Channel 4 news that Fathers 4 Justice is now disbanded due to being let down by fathers.
 
Rather than state the phony kidnapping nonsense is nothing more than a smear campaign, he chose to accuse the 'dark underbelly' of members, the Realfathersforjustice, which was formed when the majority of co-ordinators, unhappy with his poor leadership and lack of direction,  chose to form their own group which has been in disarray since day one!
 
This may have been engineered by Matt to retire and take his ball home with him.
 
My friend should be writing in detail and I will forward his post when I get it.
 
Men and women risked life, limb and liberty to be sold down the river.

I must admit when I heard it last night on the TV News I immediately smelt a lying rat. Thank you for updating us and giving us all a balanced overview on the sad situation. It is obvious it is nothing more than  orchestrated smear campaign thought up by the many 'Bliar spin doctors' , assisted by a misanthropic media who want to classify all good Fathers as criminals and terrorists. However the truth is they are worried that F4J members are rapidly exposing the catastrophic consequences and problems that is a result of  'Fatherlessness'  in Western societies.  The gutter tactics of Bliar equate to that for the vile & debauched tactics used by our spiteful women Prime Minister - Miss Dark here in New Zealand.  More bad news I afraid to say as she is in the hot seat running to take over the corrupt UN . Well - well the think pink social engineers  & politically correct manipulators  have really hit us in the face early this year.

I don't think we need more proof that the supporters of sole custody will drop to any low to hide a justice industry that abuses children for profit.

[...]


The fact that Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia condone the abuse of children for profit would allow the radicals to pronounce the west as terrorists, and they are. Yes they will do anything to keep the abuse of children for profit from public scrutiny. The feminists are just an excuse. Like the abuses of the oil for food program abusing children for profit is all about greed. Odd isn't it, the terrorists of our children are fighting against terrorists that put family and children first.

Mr (Terrence) Bates (Real F4J) told Channel 4 News: "Mr O'Connor should have done this more than a year ago. There were members within Fathers 4 Justice a year ago who were very unhappy with the way things were going.

"Nothing has really changed in family law - there are still huge problems." He said that many people had left the organisation because "Mr O'Connor has failed to move it forward". Mr O'Connor has also been accused of becoming autocratic.

Mr Bates said that the allegation of a kidnap plot was "absolute nonsense". He added: "There is no dark underbelly of extremist fathers within the organisation which Matt speaks about. There is no organised, extreme terrorist-type group planning to kidnap the Prime Minister's children."

How did it come to be that one guy can spell to the media "that father's have stopped". If you ask me father's haven't stopped at all. It is only him who has stopped and for fathers in my opinion that is for the better as without having direction and substance he proved a liability all over the last year.

I think it's all very unfortunate publicity for the fathers' movement: the problem with F4J as I see it is that it hasn't gone beyond stunts and also become an engaged, political force for change in the system.

I DOUBT very much that this is true. F4J has been becoming more popular and I do believe the governement had to find a way to discredit them.

Think about the tares and the wheat. satan plants his people in with real Christians so when his people do very bad things, who gets the blame? IF there was a plot, I think it could well have been a tare in the F4J.

Posted on January 19, 2006 at 08:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Father 4 Justice Campaigners Could Be Shot

British Dads' Group Cites Police Warning

By ED JOHNSON
Associated Press Writer

January 18, 2006, 11:14 AM EST

LONDON -- A fathers' rights group known for breaching security said
Wednesday that police had warned its members they could be shot if they came
near Prime Minister Tony Blair's office amid reports of a plot to kidnap his
5-year-old son as a publicity stunt.

A report in The Sun newspaper Wednesday claimed that extremist sympathizers
of the group Fathers 4 Justice were hatching a plan to abduct Leo Blair and
hold him for a short period to publicize the misery of fathers denied access
to their children.

The newspaper said police carried out a security assessment after uncovering
the plot, including what protection should be given to Blair's other
children -- sons Euan, 21, and Nicholas, 20, and daughter Kathryn, 17.

The British Broadcasting Corp. cited police sources who said the plan had
only got as far as the "chattering stage."

London police declined to comment on the report, and Blair's office said it
did not discuss security issues.

One of the group's founding members said he was aware of heightened police
activity in recent weeks.

Anti-terrorist officers had visited former members of the group over the
Christmas period, Matt O'Connor said. Contacts at the Metropolitan Police
had warned the group that armed police "were threatening to shoot people if
they did anything in the region of Downing Street," he said.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the alleged plot. According to
The Sun, police foiled the plan at an early stage, and it was unclear
whether the activists had even carried out reconnaissance of Downing Street.


Fathers 4 Justice has a history of breaching security at the heart of the
British government, in its campaign.

In May 2004, two activists hurled bags of purple flour at Blair inside the
House of Commons chamber, prompting a security alert.

In April 2005, two members hurled eggs at Blair's car as he left a campaign
rally.

An activist also has scaled the walls of Buckingham Palace dressed as
Batman, while another member handcuffed himself to a government minister.

O'Connor said he knew nothing of the alleged kidnap plot, but warned that
some former members had pressed for the group to take more militant action.

"We do peaceful direct action with a dash of humor. We're in the business of
uniting dads with their kids, not separating them," he said.

"There are some ex-members who we turfed out last year. We had a bit of a
clear-out in May of people who wanted to take the organization on a more
militant route," O'Connor added. "We have to consider the future of the
organization if our name is being associated with such actions."

Posted on January 19, 2006 at 08:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)

Still More On Fathers 4 Justice Disbanning

The few mothers groups that exist don't pull harassing and criminal stunts like this. The mom's groups don't throw powder bombs on government officials. They don't scale buildings dressed as superheros. They don't make kidnapping threats. Most of the mom's groups are support groups for mothers who are going through custody battles, or for moms who have lost custody. Much of the talk in those groups is about domestic violence and child abuse. They are nothing like fathers' rights groups, especially groups like Fathers 4 Justice.

Please take note of this quote from the article below. It shows the men in Fathers 4 Justice as they really are:

"Campaigners have become increasingly confrontational - solicitors have been bombarded with abusive e-mails, court offices stormed and judges visited at their homes. This led to accusations from lawyers and ex-wives that the organisation had created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. Some former wives and girlfriends of the group's members described break-ups of their relationships involving violence, being forced to live in refuges and incidents in which their children witnessed frightening aggression by their fathers."

Fathers give up campaign
By Sarah Womack and George Jones
(Filed: 19/01/2006)

Fathers 4 Justice, the radical campaign group for men involved in child custody battles, was disbanded last night after allegations that extremist elements were plotting to kidnap Tony Blair's five-year-old son Leo.

Matt O'Connor, the founder, said that after endless feuding in the group and dangerous activities by those on its fringes he had concluded that mothers were simply more mature than fathers.

[Photo deleted] Former Fathers 4 Justice member Jason Hatch protests at the Buckingham Palace

"There may be a repeat of these sorts of antics and it would do serious damage to the debate and what we have achieved," he said.

"My view is that fathers are not ready for the changes we want to see in this country. They are part of the problem, not the solution, and they are perverting the cause.

"The truth is that our organisation has been run largely by women for two years. A nine-month pregnant woman will turn up and walk for miles at one of our demonstrations while an able- bodied father can't be bothered. We will speak to other groups such as Families Need Fathers and will not leave people in the lurch.

"But this organisation has come to its natural conclusion. I am almost past caring and want a good night's sleep; I have a newborn baby."

Last night Terence Bates, a spokesman for Real Fathers 4 Justice, a splinter group, said that his group's campaign would go on.

Downing Street refused to comment on the specific allegations about the "plot", which was apparently uncovered by Special Branch officers, but officials did not deny the report in The Sun.

Mr Blair's official spokesman confirmed that the Government, police and security services were concerned about the militant tactics adopted by extreme fringe groups. But No 10 angrily denied a report on Sky News suggesting that it had leaked the story to distract attention from the row engulfing Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, over sex offenders in schools.

Mr O'Connor, 38, who is divorced with two sons by his former wife and a three-week-old son by a new partner, said he had expelled about 30 members last year for talking about carrying out extreme stunts. Police had told him that anti-terrorism officers had visited former members of the group over Christmas.

"Anyone who considers kidnapping a five-year-old boy needs their head testing," he said.

Channel Four News said that members of the group claimed that they had been infiltrated by a police informer and that he had proposed the idea of the kidnapping.

In the three years since Fathers 4 Justice was formed, the issue of a father's right has been forced up the Government's lists of priorities.

The group has staged lighthearted stunts such as crane-top protests in comic strip outfits and scaled Big Ben. In 2004 it penetrated the Commons and flour-bombed the Prime Minister.

Campaigners have become increasingly confrontational - solicitors have been bombarded with abusive e-mails, court offices stormed and judges visited at their homes.

This led to accusations from lawyers and ex-wives that the organisation had created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear. Some former wives and girlfriends of the group's members described break-ups of their relationships involving violence, being forced to live in refuges and incidents in which their children witnessed frightening aggression by their fathers.

Two years ago anti-terrorist police were called in to investigate the sending of 60 hoax bombs to family court offices around the country by extremists - denounced by Fathers 4 Justice - demanding better rights for fathers.

Mr Bates told Channel 4 News: "Mr O'Connor should have done this more than a year ago. There were members within Fathers 4 Justice a year ago who were very unhappy with the way things were going.

"Nothing has really changed in family law - there are still huge problems." He said that many people had left the organisation because "Mr O'Connor has failed to move it forward". Mr O'Connor has also been accused of becoming autocratic.

Mr Bates said that the allegation of a kidnap plot was "absolute nonsense". He added: "There is no dark underbelly of extremist fathers within the organisation which Matt speaks about. There is no organised, extreme terrorist-type group planning to kidnap the Prime Minister's children."

Posted on January 19, 2006 at 08:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

End Of The Road For Fathers 4 Justice

Note Matt O'Connor's comments about "extremists". He can't distance himself and Fathers 4 Justice from the alleged plot to kidnap the Prime Minister's 5-year-old son. Fathers 4 Justice members have already pulled some ugly stunts in the past. These aren't "extremists". They are members of the group.

O'Connor had to disban the group. The damage is done, and it is irreparable.

End of the road for F4J

FOUNDER: Matt O'Connor.FATHERS 4 Justice is to disband following the furore over an alleged plot to kidnap Tony Blair's son Leo.

The group's founder, Matt O'Connor, said it could no longer continue in the light of the negative publicity generated by the allegations.

He said: "I regret to say that three years after starting the organisation we're going to cease and bring it to a close."

However, Terence Bates of splinter group Real Fathers 4 Justice insisted they would continue to campaign. It has been claimed that extremist sympathisers within Fathers 4 Justice had discussed kidnapping five-year-old Leo Blair.

Mr O'Connor said "extremists" had "undermined the position and credibility" of an organisation that had been going along "nicely".

He said: "What these people are doing is undermining the very good work that people in this organisation have done."

Plot

He denied he had handed information about the plot to a newspaper as part of infighting within Fathers 4 Justice, which he insisted had been "responsible for some of the most spectacular stunts the country has seen in years".

"I'm proud of the work we've done . . . but if we're going down this road with extremist elements then it's come to an end."

He said he was past caring what happened to Fathers 4 Justice. "I want a good night's sleep. This is not what I wanted. I don't want to be associated with an organisation getting headlines like this."

According to Mr O'Connor, the group expelled 30 people last year in a bid to get rid of extreme elements, but it had not stopped problems.

But Mr Bates said: "Mr O'Connor has failed. He failed to move it forward. Many good people left last year and formed our splinter group."

He said the splinter group planned to engage in "more political dialogue" in the future.

Did Fathers 4 Justice achieve anything? Have your say.

Posted on January 19, 2006 at 08:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)