Fathers' rights movement in the United Kingdom
The fathers' rights movement in the United Kingdom consists of a number of diverse pressure groups, ranging from charities (whose activities are regulated by the Charity Commission) and self-help groups to civil disobedience activists in the United Kingdom, who started to obtain wide publicity in 2003. The movement's origin can be traced to 1974 when Families Need Fathers (FNF) was founded. At the local level, many activists spend much time providing support for newly separated fathers, most of whom are highly distraught. Although some have been accused of being sexist by some commentators, these groups also campaign for better treatment for excluded mothers, women in second marriages, other step-parents and grandparents - all of whom suffer discrimination in respect of contact with their (grand) child(ren).Whilst for a considerable time father's rights groups were largely ignored by the mainstream media and by governments for a number of reasons, the advent of Fathers 4 Justice in 2003 brought the cause into the mainstream media for the first time, and new legislation is being brought in the United Kingdom as a result in 2005. Another leading group Families Need Fathers is recognised as source of help by The Department of Constitutional Affairs, and regularly provides evidence to parliamentary sub-committees, resulting on one senior Family Court judge indicating that it was a key player in the debate about on-going contact and joint residence .Activists within the movement seek to restructure family law, arguing that children benefit from being raised by both parents, and that children should thus be allowed to interact with both parents on a regular basis as of right. The family justice system in England and Wales, according to a committee of Members of Parliament on 2 March 2005, gives separated and divorced fathers a raw deal and does not give enough consideration to preserving the relationship between the father and the child .The Child Support Act in the United Kingdom aims to ensure that absent parents pay towards the support of their children. The payment amount is inversely proportional to the time that the child spends with the so-called absent parent. If a parent puts acceptable reasons to a court for the other parent's involvement to be restricted, then the restricted parent has to pay more. Many judgements have been criticised for not allowing fathers to be as involved as they would like to be or at all, and the courts criticised for failing to enforce their orders. Pressure from the fathers' movement has influenced the United Kingdom Government, which published a draft Children (Contact) and Adoption Bill in February 2005 . This aims to widen judges' powers in dealing with parents who obstruct their ex-partner from seeing their children.