Not Saussure

February 17, 2007

Absent fathers

Filed under: Law, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 7:04 pm

Some very good posts from both Chris Dillow (who returns to the subject twice) and Justin on absent fathers, gun crimes and moral panics.

I was rather taken by the passage in David Cameron’s speech about how

Children learn their morals, no less than their manners, from their parents. And that means both parents – including fathers. We urgently need to reform the law, and the rules around child maintenance, to compel men to stand by their families.

Quite possibly so, assuming that we can get the Child Support Agency working properly (rather a large assumption). In the ensuing discussion about absent fathers, though, I’ve been rather puzzled by one policy implication, though.

At present, courts don’t tend to take very much notice of references in pleas of mitigation to references to the defendant’s young family and how much he dotes upon his children before they send him to prison. Indeed, only yesterday I was in court when the judge dealt with a young man who was so upset about being parted from his two young children after his wife kicked him out that he approached in the street the man whom he — mistakenly, as it turns out — blamed for his marital breakdown and beat him round the head several times with an iron bar.

This young man will not, obviously, be in a position to play much of a role in his children’s upbringing for several years to come, even if his wife wanted him to. But I find it hard to argue that the courts have done wrong in thus separating the children from their father’s influence.

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  1. Yes, you make a good point. The absent father is a problem but in the case you mention the father had to be separated from his children. Children need fathers but good ones. I do think the lack of a good male role model at home is a problem because who then fills that void?

    Comment by Welshcakes Limoncello — February 18, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

  2. what if the Mother decides she wants to be the sole responsible parent, without consulting the Father, I’ve had to wait for my Daughter to grow up before I could have any sort of relationship with her, this absence which was not my choice, backed by the courts who chose to believe unfounded and untrue accusations of violence, has resulted in my Daughter
    feeling that I didn’t want anything to do with her and nothing could be further from the truth, maybe it’s time people started to accept that Fathers are being denied the chance to be a good influence in their children’s lives both by the courts and the CSA who penalise us for being Male, not for being unfit parents

    Comment by Ian — June 12, 2007 @ 11:32 am

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