Lazy Journalism

By email to the journo

Hi R

Re: Family Court Ruling: violent father given sole custody of child SMH 17/4/16

Just wanted to give you some feedback on your article

I could write an aggressive angry email to you but that’s not me and its hardly going to change your views.

I could take a witty sarcastic shot at you but again, that’s hardly going to convince you to reconsider the merits of this lazy journalistic slop you fed the masses.

So I’ll just tell you how it made me feel – and why.

Once a week I sit in a Dads in Distress meeting in ____. It is not male activism in the slightest. Last week we had a distraught mum sit in with us for support as she is really doing it tough being an alienated mum in one of the worst cases we have heard about.

Sometimes we have supporting female partners attend. No one ever objects. We are affiliated with Mums in Distress at ____ and had a joint meeting with them when Senator Madigan came to hear our horror stories. The point is – PA is not a gender issue (with the exception that women can and very often do use AVOs and accusations of domestic violence as tactics in family court.)

Most weeks we usually have a new guy or two tentatively turn up because they don’t know where else to turn. There’s no support shelters for men because we never read about this side of domestic abuse in the news or the stats. There’s no votes in it and the gender ideology trumpeted by people like Clementine Ford doesn’t allow it and is viciously protected by the vast online feminist army.

But these guys are broken. You look at their faces and start to listen to their stories of how they have been the subject of false allegations in court or are just being blocked from having any meaningful time with their children by a woefully broken family court. Some have children who are rejecting them. Some can barely speak. The look on their faces when they discover parental alienation has a name and they are not alone in the grief and injustice is life changing. I know. I was one of them. Now its too late for me to change whats happened. I have no choice but to learn patience.

I have had 8 hours contact with my only child in the last 5 years and there’s nothing I can do. I’ve tried everything and the pain of grieving for your own living child who is choosing to be dead in your life is almost unbearable. If you give a damn read the blogpiece Measuring Loss by Karen Woodall. Its on my blog at  if you don’t know who Karen Woodall is you shouldn’t be writing about PA. Google her. 

Parental Alienation is an insipid form of family violence. It is child abuse and ex spousal abuse. If you don’t think it qualifies Dr Craig Childress wrote this piece just last week. Again you really should google this guy if you want to write about family court or PA. In his words “The pathology of parental alienation is domestic violence in the most extreme” His technical reasons are here

When I first looked for help re PA years ago there was nothing. Now there are a rapidly growing number of online support sites. You want to do an article? Facebook site PA Australia and didn’t exist a year ago. Now look at them. Its exponential but no ones writing about it. Why? You tell me.

So on a very rare occasion that we get PA and the family court mentioned in the press it should be a story that has done some research into just how damaging PA is to our children, who are then forced to carry that emotional time-bomb of grief and guilt until it can be lifted from their shoulders. But it just made me sad that important issues like this are cherry picked for a brainwashed audience for no other reason than having the right ingredients like a woman supposedly wronged by domestic abuse. But lets have a look at how you reported this complex issue.

Lets even put aside the common knowledge that AVOs and Intervention Orders are often brought against fathers as a tactic to gain leverage in Family Court. You wrote “…Critics of the family Court say the 2014 judgement, which is about to be challenged in Court, is part of a disturbing trend whereby the Court sees a parent who is supposedly alienating the other parent as worse than an abusive parent”

This is misleading on so many levels. Firstly, who are these critics? There would be armies more parents affected by incompetent family court decisions ready to criticise the family court but not for those reasons. That is because there certainly is no trend going that way. Its an exception to the vast majority. If there was such a trend it would be timely and needed rather than “disturbing” that PA was finally being recognised in these cases. But to top it off “alienating the other parent” already is being an abusive parent. They are not separate. Many would argue alienating is the worst type of abuse because it effects whole extended families and the child often carries the emotional damage for the rest of their life.

I have read the judgement. I think it is pertinent and telling that the Judge considered the mother was more abusive and more dangerous to the child going forward. Judges rarely go against the mother to such an extent unless there is something badly wrong. That is the bias that thousands of non custodial fathers have learned the hard way, despite being equally as competent and loving parents as the mother.

So I can’t influence you to be a better journalist if you don’t really care about the lives that such pieces touch. I can blame you for lazy journalism if you seize an opportunity to try to marry the hot topics of domestic violence, gender, PA and a mother saying “unfair” in our Family Court. That’s up to you.

But I know where the real stories are. You just have to sit in on one of our meetings. That’s a possible invitation if you are in journalism for the right reasons.

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