Support not Separation: News bulletin 1
What we are winning, what we are doing, what’s in the news

 

 

 

 

 

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IMPORTANT VICTORIES!

Landmark Supreme Court ruling: children who were abused in foster care can sue the local authority! Great is the movement for justice and we shall prevail. Make sure everyone in your network knows about this.

A grandmother who came to us for help has won: her grandchildren will be living with her and spending weekends with dad with weekly contact with mum – what they all wanted. And she’ll be getting Special Guardianship Allowances for the children!

FORTHCOMING EVENTS

Saturday 28 October 2-3pm Another Handmaid’s TaleWorkshop at the Anarchist Bookfair. All Welcome

Room LG6, Learning Centre, Park View School,
West Green Road London N15 3QR

Speakers:
Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Michael Coleman, Payday men’s network

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike,

Kim Sparrow, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence

RECENT ACTIVITIES

Women in Brighton have formed a group and are picketing the family court there to coincide with our London court picket onthe first Wednesday of every month.

Our workshop Another Handmaid’s Tale was packed and the speakers were great. It was held at The World Transformed (events organised concurrently with the Labour Party conference in Brighton). Emma Lewell-Buck MP (shadow minister for children and families) spoke strongly on the need to support children staying with their families, giving weight and credibility to our demands. You can watch it here.

Another three stunning workshops (with organisations based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre) also raised the impoverishment of mothers and the taking of children by the state. You can watch them here: Radical demands from the grassrootsWhose job is it anyway? Radical childcare; andLiving on the edge: claimants, asylum seekers, pensioners, zero-hour workers, sex workers . . . refusing Dickensian destitution and other social murder.

Friends, Families and Travellers invited us to speak at their meeting in Parliament raising concerns about discrimination by children services.

We wrote an open letter to CAFCASS and NSPCC protesting their speaking at a Families Need Fathers conference. Children charities which receive public money should not give credence to domestic violence deniers. We’ve had no response from them so far. We picketed the conference and you can watch the lively exchanges we had.

We are objecting to a news programme The Adoption which is part of The World At One every day this week. It claims to be a thorough look at one adoption case but so far it is just promoting adoption as the ‘gold standard’. It uncritically reports on social workers who took two young children who, by their own admission, were ‘loved and wanted’ by their birth parents and extended family. Write in and object too!

IN THE NEWS

The mass taking of children by the state is in the news like never before. Some recent examples:

·     Research by Lancaster University shows the very high number of mothers who have had more than one child taken away were themselves in care and got no support.

·     An exhibition by young mums (‘Taken: because love wasn’t enough’) whom we are hoping to be in touch with.

·     In the US, Disabled parents are suing New York City for discrimination in child removal.

·     A US for-profit foster contractor has been exposed after 86 children died while in their care. How many more have died at the hands of other foster contractors?

JOIN OUR COURT PICKETS

We continue to picket the court in Holborn and now also in Brighton the first Wednesday of every month. Join us or picket the court in your town or area!

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FORTHCOMING EVENT

Another Handmaid’s Tale  2-3pm Saturday 28 October

Workshop at the Anarchist Bookfair  All Welcome

Room LG6, Learning Centre, Park View School, West Green Road London N15 3QR

In poor working class communities 45% of children are reported to social services. Poverty is used to allege ‘neglect’, mothers are treated as surrogates for fostering and adoption without consent, inflicting lifelong trauma on thousands of children. Single mothers are most at risk, especially if they report rape or domestic violence, are of colour, have a disability… A growing movement is breaking the silence and picketing secretive family courts, demanding support not separation.

Speakers:

Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Michael Coleman, Payday men’s network

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike,

Kim Sparrow, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence

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Dear Friends,

Coverage of Protest against CAFCASS and NSPCC participation in Families Need Fathers (FNF) conference last Saturday.

Ten people took part in the protest called by Legal Action for Women and Women Against Rape.  Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg9qABVVtOY

FNF replied saying that they are a “reputable charity” but did not address domestic violence or any of the other issues raised.  A FNF man confronted the picket saying that ‘more children are killed by their mothers than by their fathers’.

OPEN LETTER to CAFCASS and NSPCC re your PARTICIPATION in a conference run by FAMILIES NEED FATHERS (FNF)
on Saturday 14 October

We understand that you are speaking at this FNF conference on parental alienation. You must be aware that FNF have consistently attacked women.

Must we refresh your memory? As long ago as 1994, during a debate on the Child Support Agency, MP Glenda Jackson reported in Parliament that FNF advised fathers who were not allowed access to their children to ‘kidnap them. If that failed and nothing else could succeed, it advocated the murder of the mother.’ Recently we helped a father re-introduce contact with his child. He had previously gone to FNF and was horrified when their facilitators described the whole system as stacked against men, and

They kept referring to ‘feminist Nazis’. He said they promote and perpetuate misogyny and refused to go back.

FNF deny domestic violence, dismissing it as false allegations. They claim that ‘False and unfounded allegations poison proceedings when a non-resident parent is seeking parenting time with his children. Judges need to make findings of fact as soon as possible and to take false allegations into account when determining the best interests of the child.’ FNF claim that ‘there is widespread abuse of men and boys in the context of the family courts’ and accuse women of ‘making allegations’ as ‘a motorway to obtaining legal aid’.

Such claims are totally outrageous. Surely you know that:

  • One in five women aged 16-59 have suffered sexual violence in England and Wales;[1] two women a week are murdered by a partner or ex-partner; one in four women have been subjected to domestic violence in their lifetime; 81% of victims of domestic violence are women; domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime; 62% of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed;[2] 50% of rapes are domestic. The level of false allegations of rape is less than 1% and less than 0.5% for domestic violence, both are much lower than false allegations for other crimes.[3]
  • Family courts have allowed violent fathers (even when they have a criminal record for violence) to terrify, threaten and intimidate those they had victimised and who managed to escape them. These legal standards would never be tolerated in an open court. Judges have insisted on contact and even residence, dismissing what women and children were telling them. Nineteen children and two mothers were killed between 2005 and 2015 following court orders to allow fathers unsupervised contact. (Women’s Aid)
  • FNF have the view that fathers who are estranged from their children have the same rights as mothers who do the daily work of caring and protecting them. That is the traditional patriarchal view by which children and their mothers are men’s property for them to do what they want with. No organisation or charity which gets public funds, especially ones that claim to speak for children, should give credence to such views.

We hope you will reconsider your participation in this conference.

Legal Action for Women and Women Against Rape

law@allwomencount.net       war@womenagainstrape.net

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Legal Action for Women at The World Transformed

Another Handmaid’s Tale

3-5pm on Tuesday 26 September 2017 at Komedia Studio 44-47 Gardner St, Brighton BN1 1UN

For tickets: https://theworldtransformed.org/

In poor communities, 45% of children are reported to social services. Poverty is used to allege ‘neglect,’ treat mothers as surrogates for fostering and adoption without consent, inflicting lifelong trauma on thousands of children. Single mothers are most at risk, especially if they report rape or domestic violence, are of colour, or have a disability. A growing movement is breaking the silence and picketing secretive family courts. It is reflected in Labour’s manifesto. Mothers, women’s organisations, professionals, MPs – and you – speak out.

Speakers:

Cristel Amiss, Black Women’s Rape Action Project

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike

Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Shadow Minister for Children & Families

Nina Lopez, Support Not Separation Coalition/Global Women’s Strike

Anne Neale, Legal Action for Women

law@allwomencount.net  www.legalactionforwomen.net

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All African Women’s Group

Crossroads Women’s Centre  25 Wolsey Mews, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2DX

Tel: 0207 482 2496 email: aawg02@gmail.com

 

PLEASE HELP US SAVE OUR BIBI

P1120140[736] (2)_LI

Bernadette Mappa Kouame Agyei:

Detained & facing removal, Thursday 14 September

 

Bernadette Mappa Kouame Agyei (Bibi) was detained at Yarl’s Wood IRC last Friday. Just the day before she performed to great acclaim the role of a judge in our play ‘WE ARE HERE BECAUSE YOU WERE THERE” at the DSEI – Stop the Arms Fair. The day’s theme was Free Movement for People not Weapons!  Now Judge Bibi, who has an appeal on 1 December, finds herself denied the right to a hearing  in front of a judge because the Home Office plans to deport her back to Cameroon!

Bibi Agyei is a kind and respected member of our group, the All African Women’s Group (AAWG), a self-help group of women seeking asylum which is based at the Crossroads Women Centre in London. Once a fortnight, 90-100 women from different countries come together to discuss our legal cases, share experience and support each other.  Bibi has helped other women to understand and fight their legal cases, especially those who do not speak English.

Bibi has been in the UK since 1996. Her children and partner all live here and are British citizens.  She has no-one in Cameroon and fears for her life if sent back there because of her political activities.  Her 22 year old son died in 2014 in tragic and still unclear circumstances on the M11 motorway, while returning to the Norwich School of Art, where he was studying Architecture. Bibi and her family weren’t even informed about the inquest into his death so could not attend — one example of the racism we face as people of colour.  Bibi is devastated at the thought that she would not be able to visit his grave if she were deported. These regular visits are the single biggest comfort she draws on to help her through this terrible loss.

Bibi is disadvantaged in fighting her deportation case because she was unjustly convicted of being in possession of someone else’s passport. The Home Office is using this to deny Bibi her right to appeal.  She wants to challenge this conviction and it is only fair that she gets the chance to do this.  Many of us are labelled criminal because we are forced into illegality to survive and support our children because the government makes us destitute.

Please write to demand that Bibi’s (Bernadette Mappa Kouame Agyei) flight tomorrow (Thursday 14th September) is stopped. Please see below a sample letter to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd.  Please send a copy to her member of parliament, Karen Buck MP and to us at aawg02@gmail.com.

 

Rt Hon Amber Rudd, Home Secretary 

Home Office 

2 Marsham Street

London, SW1P 4DF 

Email: Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

 

 

EXTREMELY URGENT: Re Bernadette Mappa Kouame Agyei

Detained and facing removal on Thursday 14 Sept

DOB 20 May 1959, country of origin: Cameroon

H.O. Ref: K1740545

Dear Amber Rudd MP,

I write to call on you to please stop Ms Bernadette Mappa Kouame Agyei’s removal tomorrow evening (14 September).  Ms Agyei has compelling compassionate grounds to remain in the UK.  She has an appeal hearing on 1st December 2017 which will provide Ms Agyei and her family with their first chance to put detailed expert evidence about their situation to a judge.  This includes how much Ms Agyei depends on specialist support which would be denied to her if sent back.  Ms Agyei also fears her life is in danger if sent back because of her political activity.

 

The Supreme Court recently ruled that it was unlawful for those with Article 8 family life grounds, like Ms Agyei, to be told they can pursue their appeals from the countries that they have been returned to R (Kiarie; Byndloss) v SSHD [2017] UKSC 42.  This is because it has been found to be impossible for people to pursue their right of appeal once they have been removed from the UK.  Please do not deprive Ms Agyei of her fundamental right to an appeal hearing. Please ensure that Ms Agyei is released from detention and given a fair hearing.

Yours sincerely,

 

[Name]

[Your name and address if possible]

 

CC:

Karen Buck MP

House of Commons

London, SW1A 0AA

EmailBUCKK@parliament.uk

 

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If you are contacting LAW about a family matter:

Thank you for contacting us.

Our next picket of the Central Family Court is on Wednesday 1 November, 12.30 – 1.30pm.

If you want to attend our next self help meeting for mothers/primary carers please send an email and we’ll get back to you.  If you haven’t been before please answer the questions here Link, and email them back to us.

Please see our Self-Help guide here.

 

 

 

 

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Doing a case summary

Self-Help Tool 1 Questions for Case Summary

Case summary available in Self-Help Guide 

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Preparing for an appeal hearing

Self-help Tool 3 Appeal Hearing

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Help for victims fleeing rape

Self-help Tool 2 Grounds to Remain

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Vulnerable Witness Guidance

Self-help Tool 4 Vulnerable Witness Guidance

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