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I have a question I would like to ask.
How is it that our ex wife's new partners have more access to our children than we as fathers do?

I ask again.
How is it that a new person can come on the scene who we know absolutely nothing about but yet is given free access to our children and we as fathers must apply to the courts for permission to allow that same access?

Let's face it, the system is just not working in it's present form. We were asking for 50/50. In reality all we really wanted was to be guaranteed the right to see our children for a substantial amount of time. We want the right to have involvement in our children's lives. Yes, shock horror, why shouldn't we have that right. It seems it's ok to father a child but then because someone falls out of love and ends a relationship you than ask us to just walk away from fatherhood. What's the message you are sending fathers. What's the message you are sending our children.

Every father going trough this tragedy knows that even if he is lucky enough and yes it's pure luck or money, in most cases, that he receives orders through the court to see his children for any decent length of time, that those orders in reality are not worth the paper they are written on, unless his ex partner abides by them. We hear from more and more fathers who are making cash payments to their ex partners in order to see their children. It's cheaper than a lawyer and at least you are guaranteed that you will see your children. We hear from fathers who have been reduced to supervised contact who now find that because the contact centre's are low on funding they have to wait yet again to see their children. Where does it end...

I ask that every politician that is involved in this decision making process that tonight when you get home if you have children give them a special hug and kiss and then close your eyes and imagine them gone from you're day to day life.

  • Imagine you have no say in where they now live or with whom.

  • Imagine that you have no say in where they are going to school or whom they associate with.

  • Imagine that you are now relegated to every second weekend access to them, if you're lucky.

  • Imagine that the access is conditional on the whim of an angry ex wife and her new partner.

  • Imagine it's Christmas and it's not your year and someone who you know absolutely nothing about is handing the presents out from under the tree to your children.

  • Imagine it's your 6 year olds birthday and you get to spend a lousy 2 hours with him, again if you're lucky, after driving 7 hours because they have relocated.

  • Imagine night after night, going home to an empty house and sitting on the bed in the children's room looking at a picture of your little girl who you haven't seen for three years.

  • Imagine standing in a court room for the very first time, knowing as a father you have little chance of winning but somehow stirring up the courage to fight to see your children.

  • Imagine what it's like to be now deemed as a violent person, a perpetrator, an abuser.

  • Imagine you are now deemed mentally ill because you are suffering from separation grief.

  • Imagine you now have the CSA climbing all over you for child support for the children you never see.

  • Imagine waiting patiently for someone, anyone to help you, to understand how you feel let down as a father.

  • Imagine waiting for a Government to come to it's senses and make the decision that will allow you and your children to continue that father son/ daughter relationship.

Just Imagine.
We don't have to imagine, we live it every day...

Yes it's about what's in the best interest of the children and surely allowing them to continue the relationship with both mum and dad is in their best interest. Kids need both mum and dad in their day to day lives.They also need their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc from both sides. We are simply dads in distress asking for a fair go. We do not wish for our children to go through what we have.

Just imagine that's possible...

Tony Miller OAM

5 stranded men While you read this and view this image, a man somewhere is about to throw a rope around the beam in his shed, another is attaching a hosepipe from his exhaust to the window of his car and yet another is about to turn his wheel into the path of an oncoming semi-trailer.

5 males suicide in this country every day.

Whatever the reason, it's too many. If 5 whales beached themselves on Bondi Beach it would be front page news, broadcast all over the world, enormous money, effort and resources would be utilized in trying to save them.

Yet we lose 5 males a day in this country and we seem to accept that.


Men need to know it's ok to share their feelings, it's ok to seek help...
Tony Miller, Founder Dads in Distress

Current research indicates that Australian males make the decision to take their own life very quickly, showing few warning signs. For this reason, is it essential to have support systems readily available to respond quickly and effectively to any possible warning signs or immediate cries for help.

Although men of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities can be at risk, the ABS statistics describe men at particular risk as being:

  • young or middle aged (20 to 44 years) or older men (over 75);
  • men living in rural or remote areas;
  • men undergoing traumatic life events (including relationship breakdown, separation from children, unemployment, financial stress and social isolation);
  • men in prison or custody;
  • men from Indigenous communities .
Suicide accounts for approximately one quarter of all deaths among Australian men between the ages of 20 and 44 years and life events such as unemployment, financial difficulties, relationship problems, depression, work stress, and substance abuse all play a role in determining the risk of suicide in this age group.

If there was ever a rock bottom in my life it was the divorce, the family court, the solicitors and most of all, the loss of my children...
DIDS volunteer

A number of reasons for the relatively high rate of suicide in men have been suggested in the literature and these include:
  • an increased likelihood to choose methods resulting in instant death
  • a tendency to ignore or not recognise negative emotions or distress that lead to more severe emotional responses to adverse life events
  • reluctance to seek help for emotional difficulties or communicate feelings of despair or hopelessness to others
  • a belief that help-seeking displays weakness or failure
  • lack of awareness of available local support services or a feeling that these services would not help in their situation.
While it is generally agreed that suicide-related behaviours can be linked to combinations of life events and personal and social factors; there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that one or more adverse life events, such as family breakdown, often precede suicide attempts.

It has been suggested that separated men commit suicide at six times the rate of married men and that divorce multiplies men's suicide risk, making them nearly 9.7 times likelier than women to commit suicide even after consideration of other risk factors .

Although it is not implicit in this research that all of these separated/divorced men commit suicide primarily due to the compounding factors of their separation or divorce, what can be generally assumed from the research is that the stress of adverse life events such as separation or divorce - reduced contact with children, difficult relationships with family members, financial overburden and so forth; all have the potential to significantly contribute to a man's feelings of hopelessness or an inability to cope.

The major challenges for many men experiencing relationship breakdown involve not only the loss of contact with their children, but the persistent financial and legal burdens that go hand in hand with displacement from the family home and negotiations for settlements and custody/access to their children.

The burden of legal advisors; court fees; finding a new place to live; replacing furniture and everyday living items; and doubling up on school uniforms, toys and children's clothing is a financial stress that fathers must bear, on top of paying child support and meeting everyday living expenses such as food, fuel and rent.

The legal burdens which follow - preparing affidavits and Orders applications; responding to Orders and letters from lawyers; negotiating property settlement offers and so forth, all place a father in a very challenging position. Often, paying for legal assistance takes the majority of a father's income or savings, with little guarantee of equality of outcome or a promise to see or have regular care of their children in the end. Case-studies from DIDS members indicate that a father of 4 can lose 75-85% or more of the marital assets to the mother of his children, while being asked to pay at least 36% of his taxable income in child support. With the burden of Federal government taxes of at least 32%, this leaves the average working father little to set up a new life for himself and his children. Feelings of despair, desperation and an inability to cope follow; often compounded by social isolation, lack of family or peer support and the ever-present mountain of bills and expenses that still need to be paid even though the world is falling down around them.

Fast Facts

  • Australian Government findings from a review of the LIFE (Living Is For Everyone) Framework for Suicide Prevention indicate that more than two thousand Australians take their own lives every year. In 2005, Australian males accounted for approximately 80% of all suicide deaths.

  • While Australian research indicates that age standardised rates for suicide have been decreasing slowly since 1997, indications are that females attempt suicide at a higher rate than that of males, but males are four times more likely to complete suicide than females.

  • Data from the recently released ABS 'Causes of Death' publication indicate that in 2006:
    • there were 1 799 registered deaths from suicide compared to 2 101 in the previous year
    • males accounted for 78% of deaths by suicide (1,398 males) and females accounted for 22% of deaths by suicide (401 females)
    • the highest number of suicide deaths for males was observed in the 35 to 39 and 45 to 49 age groups, followed by males aged 40 to 44 years
    • The percentage of deaths due to suicide in relation to the total number of deaths from all causes differs greatly among some age groups and between males and females. In particular, in the 20 to 24 year age group in 2006, suicide accounted for approximately 21% of all male deaths; and 14% of all female deaths for the 20 to 24 year age group. It also accounted for 19% of all male deaths and 12% of female deaths for the 25 to 29 year age group.

  • Earlier studies directed at the relationship between marital status and suicide have also indicated significant differences in rates for married and separated persons ; while more recent studies focussing on suicide and geographic location also indicate a notable difference between urban-rural suicide rates, particularly among marginalised groups such as Indigenous communities and disadvantaged males.

  • Australian suicide rates in rural and remote communities have risen substantially over the past few decades, especially among men.

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