P4p Wales/Cymru Campaigning for Parents Rights in Family Law
P4p Wales/Cymru

Campaigning for Parents Rights in Family Law

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Fathers-4-Justice (F4J)

pressure group launched in December 2002

The Herald

Protesting in the

name of the fathers

June 18


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F4J Say Shoot to Kill Campaign
F4J Past Present and Future
Fathers Fear Gov Crackdown in Election
Purple Powder Protest against Tony Blair
F4J Protest thwarted by Police
Fathers 4 Justice Group clash with Police
Fathers gets Conservative Support
Protesting in the name of Fathers



UNTIL now, its best-known representative was famed for spending six days up a crane dressed as Spiderman in a one-man protest over fathers' rights.
David Chick's 150ft vigil near Tower Bridge in London triggered traffic chaos in the city and cost businesses an estimated 50m.

The 37-year-old former window cleaner, who said he staged the demonstration to protest at being refused access to his four-year-old daughter, was cleared last week of causing a public nuisance.

He told a jury that despite a court order allowing him to visit his daughter for two hours every week, her mother was less than willing and eventually refused access.

His story is typical of many members of Fathers-4-Justice (F4J), the pressure group launched in December 2002 to campaign for a child's right to see both parents and grandparents.

However, its cause was given unprecedented coverage yesterday, when Ron Davies, a 44-year-old father of two, from Worthing, Sussex, threw a condom full of flour from an area of the House of Commons gallery as Tony Blair was speaking during his weekly half-hour question-and-answer session.

The design engineer, whose children are aged seven and 13, was arrested immediately along with another man, Guy Harrison, 36, from Steyning, West Sussex.
The action was supported by F4J, which claimed responsibility for the attack, but was questioned by family law experts.

Although the majority of the pressure group's 7000 members are male, mothers, grandmothers, and aunts are part of a wide cross-section of people who support its cause.

Bob Geldof, the rock star, who in his own fight for custody of his children said in June 2002: "When the law promotes injustice, it will fail," is among those who have lent support to the group.

Matt O'Connor, who founded FJ4, said yesterday's protest was held in the run-up to Father's Day to highlight the failure of MPs to help fathers in their fight to gain access to children through the courts.

He said fathers had been battling a steady erosion of their rights for 30 years, and since its inception, FJ4's meetings with the government had been fruitless.
Mr O'Connor believes the group already had achieved considerable success in its first aim of raising awareness of a problem that had gone unnoticed and unreported.
However, FJ4's second aim to secure an overhaul of family law within two years may prove more difficult. Earlier this year, the group said it was planning an escalation of activity as part of a national campaign of disruption.

Superhero-clad protesters staged a demonstration on the roof of a court building in Devon on Tuesday. There have also been demonstrations on a crane in Manchester, on the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol, and on gantries above key roads in London.

The group admitted pro-testers are running the risk of imprisonment but said its tactics were a last resort after its frustrated members had exhausted every other avenue. Paul Watson, originally from Glasgow, but now a sports centre manager in Sunderland and one of FJ4's founding members, said yesterday: "I support today's action in the Houses of Parliament 100%. The two fathers involved literally put their lives on the line for their children because there are armed policemen in that chamber.

"The action has been a resounding success. No-one was hurt. It has got our message across. Everyone, not only in Britain, but across the world, is looking at what is happening to children in Britain now. They weren't doing that the day before. Maybe now Tony Blair will stop paying lip service to our cause."

Andrew Gibb, head of the family law section at Balfour Manson solicitors in Edinburgh, and a past president of the Law Society of Scotland, said yesterday: "Fathers do have justifiable grievances about the way the law treats them when they are unmarried. I don't believe the Scottish Executive's current proposals to give fathers named on birth certificates certain rights goes far enough.

"However, the sort of behaviour we saw in the House of Commons today will do their cause no good at all."
Lynne Dibiaiso, former chairman of the Family Law Association in Scotland, agreed. She said: "Whatever the cause and regardless of its values, I don't think actions such as those witnessed in the House of Commons today would help it particularly in the climate of security issues in the UK at present."


"Fathers-4-Justice say that MPs are fully aware that every day 100 children lose contact with their fathers in the family courts and that parliament has failed children, failed fathers and failed families." The organisation added that the stunt was "the first in a series of planned protests" in the run-up to its main Father's Day demonstration on June 18.