APPEAL from LEGAL ACTION FOR WOMEN
– a grassroots legal service
Are you a lawyer, a former social worker or legally trained? Can you help us to stop the unjust separation of children from their mothers?
Legal Action for Women’s new Dossier Suffer the Little Children & their Mothers, documenting women’s struggle for justice in the family courts in England, was launched in January at a packed meeting in the House of Commons. Publicity about it in the Guardian sparked a correspondence over two days: CoramBAAF challenged Prof. Andy Bilson’sresearch quoted in the Dossier and this was followed by several responses supporting our findings.
We are now receiving calls and emails from all over the country from mums and couples who are fighting to stop adoptions, get children back from care and stop violent fathers having contact or residence of their children.
We are a grassroots legal service with a well-established track record. We are based on collective self-help, providing information and support so people can decide how they want to fight their case. As cases often involve more than one issue, we work with other organisations based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre, such as Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Women Against Rape, Single Mothers’ Self Defence and WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities). Our insistence that no case is “hopeless” and that something can always be done has won LAW recognition from lawyers, as well as civil rights and community organisations.
We hold regular working meetings so women can be in touch with each other, exchange experiences and advice. From the beginning, we make clear that we are not lawyers or social workers. But we do know a lot about how the system works from mothers’ point of view, rather than from the point of view of a professional. We are committed to getting as much help and advice as possible from professionals but the decision of how to fight must remain in the mother’s hands.
Are you a lawyer, former social worker or other professional ready to hear what mothers and children have to say and help? We are looking for:
- Pro bono barristers to represent mothers (sometimes both parents) in court
- Mackenzie friends to help in court.
- Lawyers or other legal volunteers who can give general advice, in person or by phone. We would like to hold an evening advice session once a month at our Women’s Centre in Kentish Town, NW London.
- We also need legal volunteers who can help fill in child arrangement, appeal or other court forms.
We would also like to hear from lawyers, academics, social workers, breastfeeding advocates and health workers, as well as anyone who wants to campaign to change the discriminatory and secret practices of the family courts, to insist on violent fathers being banned from child contact and residence which are endangering children and women’s lives, challenge the push for adoption, and press for resources for mothers and families so that children are not taken into care in the first place.
We aim to bring together like-minded people to discuss what can be done to change the horrendous situation of forced adoptions, rising numbers of children in care, and children being forced into contact or even residence with violent fathers.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 482 2496
Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, London NW5 2DX
Suffer the Little Children and their Mothers
is available from