MEN are being unfairly treated during custody battles according to an Albany father.
The man whose case is still in court cannot be named, but he alleges fathers in the system were being treated like common criminals.
The man said he had been charged with child abuse but felt the allegations were baseless.
He felt the issues were no more than infrequent domestic arguments, and he cannot get help or advice on the matters.
The children in question have been in the care of their mother since December, 2009. He alleges she is a drug addict.
“These children have been taken out of my care without any proof,” he said.
“The matter has gone to the Department of Child Protection (DCP) but as far as I am aware has not gone on to the police.”
When police protectors were contacted, they were unaware of the family in question.
“She (ex-partner) keeps lying to these government departments and putting the children into dangerous situations,” the father said.
“I’ve hit a brick wall and these departments seems to just want to protect her.
“I am a decent parent and the way I’ve been treated is disgraceful.
“No-one is doing their job and if DCP don’t start doing their job they will have blood on their hands.”
Family Law Action Group (FLAG) member Simon Hunt said fathers were often removed from their children’s lives on an interim basis.
“Their only prospect is to convince a biased court (and biased practitioners) that the situation should change and their role restored, which is ridiculously difficult,” he said.
“The notion of shared parenting after divorce is seen as radical and only possible in rare circumstances where both parents get on very well.
“The Family Court actually cite ‘conflict’ as the reason why one parent – usually the father – must be excluded from their children.”
Mr Hunt said child custody litigation was about winners and losers with very few mothers able to cope with the idea of being excluded from their children’s lives.
The DCP would not make comment on the case but denied men were being unfairly discriminated against in cases of alleged domestic violence and custody battles.
“The department observes a stringent non-discrimination policy to provide fairness and equity to all Western Australian families and ensures that these people who need direct assistance have an opportunity to receive that assistance,” a spokesperson said.
“The department conducts rigorous interviews and risk assessments to determine the best accommodation and care option for children.
“In some instances the child will be placed in care outside of the immediate or extended family.”
DCP said various services were available through government and non-government agencies including Anglicare, Regional Counselling and Mentoring Services.
“There are also a number of group counselling sessions including Changing Tracks for male domestic violence perpetrators, post-separation services and substance abuse counselling provided primarily by not-for-profit organisations,” the spokesperson said.
“In the Albany area, men are able to access individual counselling through a number of local private practitioners.”