Fighting for an equal chance to be part of the child's life - Fathers4Justice

Fighting for an equal chance to be part of the child's life - Fathers4Justice

On Keri's Couch, she sits with Gary da Silva of F4J, and they talk about the organisation that fights for fathers in their battle for equal access to their children.


Fathers4Justice was founded in the UK in 2003 by Dr Steven Pretorious. Their aim is to fight for the rights of the child to automatic daily access to their father regardless of any other biases, especially in the absence of violence. With Father's Day approaching, Keri saw it fitting to have the chairperson, Gary de Silva, share more about the organisation's purpose.

When parents go through a split - be it a break up or a divorce - it usually leaves the children in emotional turmoil, being pulled in both directions by parents. Fathers4Justice looks at changing the child's experience during the split or divorce that their parents go through, without leaving them with emotional trauma and exhaustion. 

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Gary de Silva has been with the organisation for almost 16 years. He highlights that the child's rights become ignored once parents step into court, which is unfair and emotionally taxing. The nature of how the child was conceived, he shares, should not be used to create space between the father and the child. 

Take a listen to the results of emotional trauma that a child goes through during a divorce: 

As Keri continues to sit with Gary, they look at statistics that prove the inequality that occurs when divorces or splits take place: 

91% of children in a split are automatically awarded to the mother. 

Between 50% - 74% of fathers are partially or totally alienated from kids. 

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There is more research and statistics to indicate the unfair circumstances that fathers and children find themselves in at the hands of a legal battle, with a win determined by who has the tougher lawyer or the most money.

Gary and Keri dive into the psychological effects that young girls and boys will go through, especially when it is unclear why they cannot be with their fathers. The psychological effects of a child without a father-figure are long-lasting and can go on to adulthood. 

This is how unfavourable it can get: 

It is unfortunate that children have to be in the middle of an escalated argument between their parents and have their life negatively affected as a result. It's equally disheartening that no one cares to ask them if they are well or what they want - they are ignored. 

Gary shares how lawyers sometimes enable a broken home in making the two parties fight for what is rightfully and equally theirs - which is a person, a child. "Don't worry, daddy's getting nothing and he's gonna leave with nothing, not even a shirt on his back," he shares. "But the dad's lawyer is telling them the same thing," he continues. 

In this full podcast, he further shares what parents usually forget during an ongoing legal battle - that the child has nothing to do with the failed relationship and should not be ignored and used to hurt the other.

"A child's relationship with the father should have nothing to do with the mother," Gary says. "A child's relationship with the mother has nothing to do with the father. Your concern as the mother and the father should always  be the child.

"If you are so immature you should not have had the child in the first place."

If you are a father seeking to connect with your child peacefully, with the help of other fathers, visit Fathers4Justice.


Main Image Courtesy: Father4Justice South Africa

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