Press release 19th June 2016
This morning 2 members of ‘Real Fathers for Justice’ (Rffj) scaled the Queen Alexandra bridge in Sunderland.
Once there they unfurled a 25ft purple banner saying ‘Happy Fatherless day’, The banner is attached to the railing on the north side of the bridge over the road.
The peaceful protest on Father’s Day is to highlight failings in the family courts that routinely deny children of one parent, and often half of their family. It affects mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The 2 protestors both have harrowing experiences of family courts, Danny 42 is from Wearside, whilst John 34 is from Gateshead.
Danny sadly hasn’t seen either of his 2 young children for over 4 years, he said “My eldest son was born on father’s day, today’s protest is dedicated to him.
“I don’t think most people have any idea of the affects of being unable to parent your children, knowing that despite them living only a few miles away I am no longer part of their lives.
“I am allowed only to send small gifts and cards 4 times a year, I have no idea if they receive them or not.
“It has been described as a living bereavement not seeing your children, it affects every part of your life and my mental health has suffered. It’s like being shell shocked, your life loses meaning, you are overwhelmed with feelings of frustration and confusion.
“Now I can no longer afford to legal fees to pursue an appeal, what am I supposed to do? Give up altogether? I hope this protest reminds people that the secret family courts are robbing children of decent loving parents.
Rffj spokesman and co-founder Leigh Davison said “Danny and John joined us a year ago when Simon Anderton spent 11 days on the Tyne bridge in a similar Father’s Day protest, this is the first time either has been involved in a peaceful demonstration.
“Their cases are fairly typical of the hundreds we hear about every week, nothing has changed in family law despite many promises by politicians to reform the system over successive parliaments.
“These types of protest will continue and could well intensify, there are a new generation of younger fathers who are becoming aware of the kind of problems in family law we have been highlighting for over a decade.
“Although it’s often fathers coming to us for support, but mothers are not immune to injustice and contact denial, nor are grandparents
“Hence this protest is definitely not for father’s rights, nor for mother’s rights – we support children’s rights. The right to a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents following separation or divorce.
“If you are affected by contact denial or considering family court action, we offer free initial professional advice via email only. See our website for more details.
“The pair have supplies for a long stay up there, they are safe and secure above the road. They have no intention to disrupt the public in their daily business in any way.
Notes to editors:
Rffj is not associated with Matt O’Connor or the London based fathers 4 justice campaign. Rffj is a peaceful direct action and support group set up in 2005 by activists. Past protests include the occupation of the Tyne bridge in 2015, 2008 & 2005. The occupation of Westminster Abbey balcony in 2006, occupation on metro radio roof for 9 days in 2005, Wimbledon centre court Federer protest in 2006, Tiger Wood golf open protest in 2007, egging of government minister Ruth Kelly in 2007, handcuffing of children’s minister Beverley Hughes 2007.