Skip to content

Where do fathers fit in ? (2)

October 16, 2012

This  is a one in a series of papers written in the mid 1990s for Baroness Hollis which addressed the problems surrounding the loss of  custody for fathers and the growth in single motherhood – both of which appeared to be unchecked.

Looking back now it was a ground breaking series and brought to the attention of government ministers much of what we now take for granted. Over time it has been occassionally updated, e.g. to show a continuing trend as in Fig 50.

It slots in very neatly with Part 1 and 3 of “Where do fathers fit in ?” and undelines the all too  slow change in attitudes. The message is that families without fathers are not only pooper in the broadest possible sense but also the more dangerous in terms of child safety.

‘Child Murder and Child Abuse by Family Type’

– Robert Whiston, circa 1996

There is an implicit assumption that children are best cared for by women, and preferably their mothers. Unconsciously and unnervingly we all subscribe to that assumption. We never question why and we never inquire if the assumption is valid (today or ever) – it has simply always has been that way.

Women are seen as better equipped than men to care for young children and that under their supervision less harm will come to them. Men are seen as lacking the ability to comprehend or adjust to children’s needs and, almost biologically, to lack the necessary patience, commitment and understanding.

This singular blind faith puts the custody of children in divorce hearings permanently out of reach of fathers. It immutably precludes fatherly involvement in child development in the years after the divorce.

But do the facts bear out our trust – or is it all illusory ? Are we prepared to face a prospect where cosy reassuring myths explode into fictions ? Society and institutions often cannot come to terms with the concept of female aggression. They cannot comprehend woman as aggressor either in the home or in the nursery (Appendix A).

Our unquestioning conviction pre-determines much of what we do and how we decide matters. A headline reading “Fathers who kill” comfortably fits our collective but erroneous tunnel vision. Fathers who really do kill, while pandering to the unenlightened, constitute only a minority of all child deaths. How often do headlines read “Mothers who kill” ?

Society, cannot afford, for all sorts of reasons, to face up to the fact that the hand that rocks the cradles also kills the child. This applies doubling so to the judiciary when matters of custody have to be decided for it immediately makes a mockery of awarding mothers custody on the basis of ‘the child’s best interests’ must be paramount at all times.

The problem is that most women, and probably to an equal extent all fair-minded men, subconsciously subscribe to the imagery of “mother as nurturer”. This makes the suggestion that mothers murder children in larger numbers than fathers difficult to accept.

In Britain we only have to recall a few of the infamous cases of child deaths to see that most child deaths are linked (though we are rarely told at the time) to fatherless families in some way; to lone mothers, or divorcees, or to their new-found boyfriends. This has been the pattern of fatal child abuse since the distant days of Marie Cowell (1974) and more recently Rikky Neave (1995). 

There have been 25 child abuse deaths so horrendously cruel in nature that 25 public enquiries have been commissioned by Gov’t. [Addendum – now over 30 Public Inquiries into  over 30 child deaths in over 30 years – RW ]. However, it would be misleading to believe that the total child death toll is limited to those 25. One day perhaps child abuse will be firmly put on the political agenda. In the meantime we wring our collective hands, we lament, we promise to learn the lessons but we actually do nothing.

The truth is women abuse children far more children than fathers. (Appendix B). Mothers also kill more babies and young children than do fathers. (Appendix C). The risk of either or both occurring is higher in SMH [1]

Difficult though it may be for many of us to conceive of women as capable of violence, research shows that approximately 60% of all women murderers premeditated their act. [2]  (Appendix C). This proportion is found in many national statistics world wide. This, and premeditation, is a characteristic not found in homicides committed by men where it is very much on the spur of the moment.

Horrendous cruelty to children is not a modern phenomenon. In ancient Greece, Euripides (480BC – 406BC) penned the dark and disturbing play “Medea” for, as was the custom, a male-only Athenian audience. It depicts a frustrated, vengeful and deceitful mother who seeks revenge not simply by killing her husband’s new wife but slaughtering the children she had borne him. Not content to leave matters there, she spirits away the bodies of the children leaving her husband with nothing to bury unable to properly mourn their passing. The play ends with Medea being given immunity by the powerful leaders of the city.  In the Christian era when audiences were made up of both sexes it fell victim to both state censors and judges because it was deemed too shocking for the public. Only in the latter part of the 20th century has it been performed.

If the proportion for premeditated murder is 60%, is it purely coincidental that the figure for female child abuse is also 60% ?  If not, how much child abuse is premeditated and calculated ? There may be grounds for believing that there is a linkage, however tenuous, after all, the proportions (ratio) of female to male induced homicides are comparable to that for child abuse (Appendices B & D).

Contentiously, some commentators see a striking relationship between rapists and mother domination or molestation in childhood  (See “The Development Antecedents and Adult Adaptations of Rapists”, by Knight  & Prentky, Criminal Justice and Behavior 403-426, US.1987. See also Jacqui Saradjian, Clinical Psychologist, and Appendix A).       

In the relatively ‘controlled’ environment of jails, women are capable of significantly more violence to others than men, per head of population.

According to Home Office’s Criminal Statistics, “Maintaining discipline in prison is a vital but difficult task. In 1994, there were 2.3 offences committed and proved for every male prisoner and 3.3 for every female prisoner” (Fig 49). The categories of ‘Violence’ and ‘Disorder/Disrespect’ are worth examination on a sex comparison basis – 142 & 39 for women versus 111 & 24 for men. ‘Disorder/Disrespect’ in this context can be construed as picking an argument, being anti-social vindictive or entering a verbal slanging match with guards and or other inmates.

For a child the highest probability of being murdered is not as an adolescent in a pub brawl or being ‘mugged’ in your 20’s or being attacked in your own home – it’s in the first months and years of life (Fig 50).

The likelihood of infant death is 27 per million compared with the national average of 14 per million. The usually assumed highest risk category, the 18-25 year olds, comes somewhere between the two figures.

However, closer examination reveals that baby boys under 12 months old are more likely to be murdered than girls – 55 and 42 per million respectively. “In 1992 only 385 deaths of under 1 year olds were reported as homicides”. [3] 

This would seem to suggest that further deaths were ascribed to other causes. The same homicide risk to male children can also be seen in later years, e.g. in the 5 – 16 age group (Fig 50). The higher propensity to become a murder victim, simply by being male, is carried over into adult life.

 The excellent research work undertaken for the NSPCC during the1970s and 1980s came to a halt in 1991 when the Children Act came into force. [4] Previously it was possible via the Family Court Reporter to ascertain the nature of the crime and the age and sex of both abuser and victim.

The Children Act 1989 decentralised data collection to under-funded local authorities and the overall national picture was lost (Appendix E).

What we can say is that the patterns of child homicide and abuse are common functions of human behaviour and recognise no national boundaries. Therefore, from the data that is directly available in the UK we can get a fairly accurate picture and measure of proportions by mapping figures from those countries with more detailed data collection, e.g. the USA (Appendices A to D).

Total homicide figures for other years, for example 1995 when there were 754 deaths in England and Wales initially recorded as homicides, shows a clear 66:33 spilt between male and female victims.

But one is left wondering if these are solely adult homicides or include child deaths ?

If there were about 120 child homicides then the figure of 754 is reduced to 634 adult homicides. Does the total of “699 homicides” shown in Appendix F, closely tally with the 634 ?  Or is the 634 derived from ‘all’ homicides with the 120 difference simply being the net figure after deaths, initially thought to be homicides, having been reclassified and moved out of the homicide category and into, say, accidental death or suicide ?

If the text of the Home Office report is correct, namely that “only 385 of the 600 + deaths” were listed as homicides, then where have the infant homicides gone ? If there are only 385 deaths listed as homicides and 120 are children this gives a very low murder rate for Britain.

Obfuscation, deliberate or just bungled, is the price we pay for the aggregation (rounding up) of figures from discrete subsets. Wrongly it gives the impression of deviousness on the part of government organs and of not being exactly honest with the public.

Further examples of divergence between collected figures are to be found when comparing Home Office figures with those from the Department of Health, which states it receives “about 120 deaths or incidents of serious harm to children involving potential major public concern”, and which we can assume are probably related to parental homicidal attacks.

It is worth recalling that the number of indictments in Britain for ‘Infanticide’ (an exclusively female-only defence for child murder) totalled no more than 4 in 1995.

  The decrease in SIDS (sudden infantile death syndrome) since 1977 may also mask the true extent of child homicide (Fig 51). Child deaths among those under 3 years old, including SIDS (sudden infantile death syndrome), fell from 1,597, in 1988, to only 424 in 1996. In 1971, when records of SIDS were first begun, there were over 1,600 child deaths. [5]  American figures for SIDS are also falling (Appendix F), yet what has changed ? Theories abound but there is no explanation for its emergence and then withering.

In Oct 1997 surveillance cameras in a baby ward video-ed 34 women out of 39 attempting to smother or seriously harm their babies. Some were charged but none were brought to trial. [6] 

Addendunm 2012:  update, source: Cot Death Charity http://fsid.org.uk/document.doc?id=97. NB. In the UK only 6.2 % of cot deaths were among babies aged over one year during 2010, ie 93% were aged under 12 months.

The greatest risk of abuse is posed in the child’s early years and is reflected in the numbers and age taken into “care” or placed on the Child Protection Register (Fig 52). The same early-years patterns of abuse and homicide risk are seen in Fig 52 and Paper 2, Appendix C.

It is estimated that some 35,000 children suffer abuse every year with many thousands being taken into “care” (Fig 53). 

    Between 60% – 65% of children who have lived either with their mother alone, or with their mother and her boyfriend, or with a ‘father substitute’, suffer abuse and neglect. In many developed countries, from Australia in the east to Canada in the west this abuse level by mothers is the standard. In the UK, 60% of children on the NSPCC Protection Register fall into this category.  [7]

A sample of Canadian child abuse findings can be seen at Appendix G. Similar American and Australian figures are displayed at Appendix H. 

Almost all the high profile newspaper reports with which we are familiar involving a child’s death, or murder, fail to mention that where the perpetrator (culprit) was not the mother, the male figure described as the ‘father’, is usually not the biological father.

Sexual abuse accounts for 25% of all abuse and has historically been associated exclusively with men – as have other myths about male offending (Appendix I). While undoubtedly true in some instances with the erosion of the last few remaining taboos the silence surrounding sex offences is being broken down.

At last researchers are beginning to ask about child sexual abuse by women – now estimated at 25% or more of all reported child sexual abuse. [8] More and more data from North America (Canada and the USA) would indicate that at least 25% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by mothers – uncomfortable findings that find echoes in the UK.  [9]  [10]  (see Appendix J).

This compares with the more openly admitted and traditional non-­sexual abuse of children by women where the incidence rate is around 60% and 85% for ‘neglect’ (Appendix J)

Child abuse, whether physical or sexual, is a minefield for the researcher. The clear pattern, once so prominent, is now becoming clouded as modes of abuse more usually ascribed as ‘mothers only’ types of offence are now being re-defined (perhaps, for Politically Correct reasons) as “both-parent” abuse. [11]

This unhelpful trend is also visible in the US. In addition, the definitions of types of abuse have recently changed and some on the old scale are not directly comparable with the new categories.

All types of child abuse have increased since 1980 but the trend to sanitise survey results, in the name of Political Correctness does nothing to help us understand the dynamics at work within diverse family structures.

A seminal British study, the Family Court Reporter Survey 1982-88 for England and Wales, confirms that a child is safest when his biological parents are married and least safe when his mother is cohabiting with a man other then her husband. [12]

Specifically, the Family Court Reporter Survey presents concrete evidence that children are between 20 to 33 times safer living with their biologically married parents than in any other family configuration.

The rate of abuse is 33 times higher if the child is living with a mother who is cohabiting with another man [13] (Appendix E) 

Children from broken homes are much more likely to enter “care” (Appendix K). Abuse, neglect, delinquency, parental ill health or death makes all children candidates for local authority care proceedings. In a survey of 2,500 children, 75% of those taken into local authority reception for care were from lone parent backgrounds. Of these 50% came from “rough” neighbourhoods and 75% of families relied on Income Support. In the age group 17-20 year olds it was found that in the homeless and penal population 38% had been in care before their 16th birthday.(‘Farewell to the Family ?’, Morgan P).

Only 18% of the children who were “volunteered” or surrendered for ‘care’ came from 2 parent families.

Similar weighted risks apply in cases of fatal child abuse where the overwhelming number of child deaths occurred in households in which the child’s biological mother was cohabiting with someone who was unrelated to the child. [14]

Some commentators continue to insist lone parenthood is superior to both the traditional two-parent family and father custody and that child abuse and female subjugation are merely by-products of the male-dominated conjugal family.

In reply, all one has to do is say; “Compare the outcomes”. 

In the coming years we must expect outbursts of the type utter by Claire Rainier who said, “There is more abuse of children in a traditional family where there is a man”. She and others may not know about ‘outcomes’ or just prefer to be economical with the truth.

Columnists, such as Claire Rainier, omit to mention that, numerically, far more children live in the traditional two-parent family. Therefore, an abuse rate of, say, 1%, may give rise to a larger numbers of smacks than in lone mother households (LMHs).

However, while LMHs (lone mother households) may represent, say, only 5% of all dwellings, the child abuse rate, in comparison, may be in the order of 25%. This level of abuse poses a significantly greater danger to children.

Only if every single child lived in a LMH might Ms Rainer have a point, but the abuse rate would be astronomic.

Sweden is often held up in the media, as an example of the modern, civilised society – the touchstone of how a country can, with sensitive handling, enrich the well-being of its people

For almost 50 yeas there has been a “social” Gov’t of some description in power in Sweden, and during that time the biological two-parent family has lined up in its sights with cohabitation being the preferred option in relations between adult men and women.

Prior to 1999 there were over 15,000 children in “care” in Sweden. Not a lot until you remember the entire country’s population is only 8 million.

Britain has some 40,000 children in “care” but a population of 58 million. If Britain had the same ratio as Sweden, then it would more than double to over 100,000 British children in “care”. Conversely, if Sweden had Britain rate of care, only 2,000 Swedish children would be in care and not 15,000.

Intriguingly, one third, that is 5,000 Swedish children, are compulsorily taken in “care” by the state apparatus and over 10,000 were volunteered for “care”.

The reason why this contradicts the norms in most countries is, according to Mrs. Siv Westerberg, a Swedish lawyer, that in Sweden parents are given the option of voluntarily signing the papers or never seeing their children again if they don’t (Appendix L).

Britain may one day move in this direction and it will be facilitated by the increasingly removing fathers from families, the de-valuing of marriage by promoting cohabiting, the assigning to it of equal rights and where fathers find they have no legal guardianship rights.

In fact, we may already be at that point. The Children Act 1989 (Part 2, 4) states: –

  • “The rule of law that a father is the natural guardian of his legitimate child is abolished”.

Why was that clause inserted in the first place if, as some legal experts now maintain, it means nothing in particular. And why do serious calls for repeal of that clause fall on deaf ears ? What, in the future, is so pivotal about that clause ?

To make the assertion that; “To assume that having two parents together is necessarily better is one of the fantasies”,  [15] thereby becomes just another part of the mythology.

Statistically, the only single parent household which is safer for children and which delivers better ‘outcomes’, i.e. comparable to the traditional two parent family unit, is the household headed by a single father (closely followed by widows). The only redeeming feature about SMHs is that the ‘outcomes’ for children who are parented by the state, i.e. in ‘care’ or in an institution, are even worse than any type of household, including all never-married and single female parent headed households.

With the state now increasingly seeing itself as the ‘parent’ and final arbiter we can expect more children to be placed in any one of the configurations – foster care; residential care; local authority care – even permanent legal adoption. [16] But ccouncil-run children’s homes now have all the allure of the workhouse.

Unfortunately the state (and its agents) makes a very bad parent and the processes used to arrive at decisions are equally disastrous. Children are often shunted around the local authority system for years, never staying long enough at any one foster family. Children who are brought up by state agencies therefore start life with tremendous disadvantages. State intervention is by its very definition, a blunt instrument capable of causing as much grief as it can bring remedy and relief.

The Sunday Times in an article dated 18th July 1999, (page 7). exposed the brutal treatment of a black television executive and his white wife had experienced when trying to adopt a child. They were turned down because social workers claimed they had ‘not suffered enough racial abuse’ (Appendix M).

Patricia Morgan shows in her book, ‘Adoption and the Care of Children’, that the outcomes for children who spend all or a large part of their dependent years in the care of their local authority are horrendous.

Morgan shows how the objections to adoption over the recent decades, has to a great degree been based on fears that it would under encourage immorality by giving unmarried mothers licence and an easy way out – views that today look foolish. Studies have shown that adoption has extremely good ‘outcomes’. Even in the worst case scenarios children with disabilities, disturbed or with profound emotion needs benefit from the stable family life that adoption can give. Enjoying a stable family life they can develop and triumph over adversity.

In spite of this, the objections to adoption remain. Foster care, on which childcare professionals place so much emphasis, is a very poor substitute for a secure upbringing in a stable family, particularly when it is part of a regime that thrust children from one set of carers to another, with periodic returns to the natural parent(s) who may abuse or neglect them again.

  • The downstream costs to society of the many thousands of children who are ‘graduating’ out of the system and onto the welfare rolls, onto the streets and into our prisons, are enormous.
  • This makes it remarkable — indeed, almost incomprehensible — that adoption has been so down-played as to be regarded as the very last option for children who cannot live with their own parents—and an undesirable one at that. –  Foreword

In the NSPCC survey cited earlier of 2001 of 2,689 young people aged between 18 and 24 revealed some  disturbing insights in to how little progress our society has made since ‘Oliver’ and the Victorian period of child malnutrition. A smaller number of those interviewed, the survey reports, gave a picture of a darker childhood in which some actually “went hungry because there was no food to eat).

  • ”3% often had to look after themselves due to their parents problems with alcohol or drugs”
  • “2% regularly had to look after themselves because their parents went away”. [17]

This group, the survey states “ …. frequently went without food as a young child” and, “…frequently were not looked after or taken to the doctor when ill as a young child” and, “ …. frequently went to school in dirty clothes as a young child”.

The study found that six per cent of respondents had suffered serious absence of physical care by their parents or carers.

In common with the educational attainment figures, it would appear that the only significant barrier between to a child’s slide into illiteracy, poverty, anti-social behaviour, criminality and of joining the ‘permanent underclass’ is the presence of a resident father [18] (Appendix N).

END

NB the list of Appendices is extentsive therefore only a sample have here been included.

Appendic B

Child Abuse USA – perpetrators by Sex and Age   (60% committed by females)

DCDC data (Table 7.2 Age and Sex of Perpetrators ) reveals that 184,152 perpetrators (62.3 percent) were female, and 111,473 (37.7%) were male (Table 7–1). Perpetrators tended to be young, with 237,865 (80.5 %) younger than 40 years old. Of the perpetrators, 122,569 (41.5 %) were between 30 and 39 years old, the most frequent age category. Only 16,441 perpetrators (5.6%) were 50 years old or older, the least frequent age category.

Fig. U.  Perpetrators of Child Abuse – by Sex and Age (DCDC),  Table 7–1 

Britain

In England and Wales, “child abuse” is divided into 4 primary categories and 4 secondary that are a combination (details, such as sex of perpetrator, are commonly omitted in British figures): –

 

Appendix C

Child Abuse Fatalities – perpetrators by Sex and Age  (60% committed by females)

USA

                  Fig. W.  Perpetrators of Child Fatalities by Sex and Age (DCDC) Table 7–3   

[ not shown here as it is a variation of Table 7-1 above – RW]

USA

Justice Quarterly. March 1988

  •             Approximately 60% of all female murderesses premeditate their murder. (“Getting Even ? Women Who Kill in Domestic  Encounters” by Coramae Richey. US Bureau of Statistics (see also Home Office Study 170) –
  •             Mothers commit 55% of child murders and biological fathers commit 6%; the NIS-3 shows that Mother-only households are 3 times more fatal to children than Father-only households, children are systematically removed from the natural fathers who are their most effective protectors and men are imprisoned at rate 20 times that of women.  

Child Abuse Fatalities – England & Wales

HOME OFFICE “Criminal Statistics” (1996):-

Extract:-

“ ….. Overall, in 1995 there were 754 deaths initially recorded as homicides. This includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide. This is the highest receded total this century. Over the past 20 years there has been an annual increase of 1.5% pa.

Only 385 of the more than 600 deaths of children aged under 1 year olds are reported as homicides (1992). Boys are more likely to be murdered – 55 per million-than girls – 42 per million.

Children under 1 year old were the highest risk category for being murdered at 27 per 1 million as against 14 per million for the average population. (see Paper 2, Appendix D).  

 

Appendix C  (1)

US  Newborns Face Highest Murder Risk

 Most infant victims born outside of hospitals, study finds

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa031202a.htm

In the United States, you are 10 times more likely to die by homicide — to be murdered — on the day you are born than at any other time during your life, according to a study just released by the [US] Center of Disease Control (CDC).

Even if you make through your first day, you still risk a better chance of being murdered during your first year of life than in any other year of childhood before you turn 17, according to the CDC.

In their analysis of the total 3,312 infant homicides reported between 1989 – 1998, CDC found homicide to be the 15th leading cause of infant death in the United States, with the most homicides occurring during the first four months of life.

Among homicides during the first week of life, 82.6 percent occurred on the day of birth, 9.2 percent on the second day, and 8.2 percent during the remainder of the week. Overall, 243 (7.3 percent) of all infant homicides occurred on the day of birth. Homicide rates on the first day of life are at least ten times greater than in later times of life, according to the report.

Among infants murdered on their day of birth, 89 percent were not born in a hospital, and 89 percent of known perpetrators were women, usually the mother. Additionally, CDC reports that mothers who kill their infants are more likely to be adolescents and have a history of mental illness.

After the first week of life, a second peak homicide risk period occurs during the 8th week and may, says the CDC, reflect the peak in the daily duration of crying among normal infants between 6 and 8 weeks of age.

As disturbing as these findings may be, CDC concluded that incidents of infant homicide are probably under-reported, with many more murders being incorrectly diagnosed as having resulted from unintentional injuries or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

CDC’s findings are backed up in a 1998 study by the National Institutes of Health finding homicide to be the leading cause infant death due to injury.

To reduce the number of infant homicides on the day of birth, CDC suggest development of programs to prevent out-of-hospital births, especially among high-risk mothers. CDC further suggests home visitation and parenting programs, especially those beginning during pregnancy, might help reduce child abuse during later periods of infancy.

Summary Findings: Homicide Risk Among Infants

  • Homicide is the 15th leading cause of infant death in the United States. The risk of homicide is greater in infancy than in any other year of childhood before age 17.
  • Infants are at greatest risk for homicide during the first week of infancy and the first day of life.
  • Among homicides during the first week of life, 82.6% occurred on the day of birth.
  • The homicide rate on the first day of life was more than ten times greater than the rate during any other time of life.
  • Among homicides on the first day of life, previous work has shown that 95% of victims are not born in a hospital.
  • The second highest peak in risk for infant homicide occurs during the eighth week of life and may be due to a caregiver’s reaction to an infant’s persistent crying. Infant crying duration peaks at six to eight weeks of age.
  • Among homicides during the first week of life, 89% of perpetrators are female, usually the mother. Mothers who kill their infants are more likely to be adolescents and have a history of mental illness.

The report was published in CDC’s ‘Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report’.

Appendix E

Family Court Reporter Survey

[ Extract – The Heritage Foundation, address to US Congress ]  September 29th 1999 http://www.palmettofamily.org/Reports/Fatherhood/HTMLRpt/father02.htm

A seminal British study [ Family Court Reporter Survey 1982-88 ] confirms that a child is safest when his biological parents are married and least safe when his mother is cohabiting with a man other then her husband (see also, Family Education Trust).

Specifically the Family Court Reporter Survey 1982-88 for England and Wales presents concrete evidence that children are 20 to 33 times safer living with their biologically married parents than in any other family configuration.

The study offers important insights into the profound impact that marriage can have on preventing child abuse; it also is the only one in the literature on child abuse that analysis abuse by family structure and the marital background of parents. The research on crime and delinquency in both the United States and GB frequently illustrate similar social trends and relationships between family breakdown and social problems. Comparing the results of the British study with data on child abuse in the United States has been difficult because [ national ] studies in the United States are few, but if the relationships in the British study hold true for child abuse in the us the implication for social policy are significant.

The British data.

The study conducted by the Family Education Trust in  Great Britain meticulously explored the relationship between particular types of family structure and abuser, accumulating clear data on family configurations in actual cases of abuse from 1982 – 1988. The results of this study shed light on a pattern that is highlight correlated with child abuse today in both England and the US; the absence of marriage and the presence of cohabitation.

The evidence from the Great Britain is especially significant because to date this is the only study to explore the relationship between family structure and abuse.

Specifically ;-

  1. the safest environment for a child that is the family environment with the lowest risk ratio for physical abuse is one in which the biological parents are married and the family has always been intact [the rate of abuse is 6 times higher in the second safest environment the ‘blended’ family in which the divorced mother has re-married.
  2.  the rate of abuse is 14 times higher if the child is living with a biological mother who lives alone. 
  3. the rate of abuse is 20 times higher if the child is living with a biological father who lives alone. 
  4. The rate of abuse is 20 times higher if the child is living with biological parents who are not married but are cohabiting.
  5.  The rate of abuse is 33 times higher if the child is living with a mother who is cohabiting with another man.

 According to British Data, similar risks apply in cases of fatal child abuse. The overwhelming number of child deaths occurred in households in which the child’s biological mother was cohabiting with someone who was unrelated to the child.

In Britain a child whose biological mother cohabits was 33 times more to suffer ‘Serious Abuse’ than a child with married parents.

In Britain, a child whose biological mother cohabits was 73 times more likely to suffer fatal abuse than a child with married parents.

Cohabitation increases the risk of child abuse immensely, whether the biological parents are cohabiting or the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend (s). Both conditions rank very high on the risk scale, but the environment in which a child lives with the mother’s cohabiting is by far the worst.

Although the marriage of biological parents does not guarantee childhood happiness and security, as the presence of child abuse in these families attests, children are still safest in a married household. Further more, an adult decision not to marry but to live with someone out-of-wedlock   ….  / …

  • NB. The Family Court Reporter ceased to be published after the introduction, in 1991, of the Children  Act 1989.

Appendix  G

Child Abuse – CANADA

  1.  Child abusers are more likely to be Women. – Richard Gelles 1979 quoted in The Health and Welfare Canada Report 1989, Family Violence; a Review of Theoretical and Clinical literature.
  2.  Seven out of ten cases examined women were the abusers of children. – Bonnie & Sclare 1969.
  3.  “Mothers are perpetrators of abuse upon children at least equally with fathers”.  – Senator Anne Cools (Canada) 1995.
  4.  Child abuse morbidity – In a 1986 analysis of 100 children (covering the years 1973 – 1982) who suffered abuse and or neglect AND who subsequently died found that mothers were the largest perpetrators. Mother’s accounts for 38 deaths, while 12 death were ascribed to “both parents” and 13 to fathers. – Dr. Cyril Greenland University of Toronto.
  5.  “Physical abuse of children is the only form of family violence in which women are the perpetrators as often as men”. – ­Brienes & Gordon, The Health and Welfare Canada Report 1989, Family Violence; a Review of Theoretical and Clinical literature
  6.  In 50 out of 57 cases women were found to be the child abuser. – ­Steel & Pollock 1968.
  7. Evidence was found that mothers are more likely than fathers to be abusive. – Bell.  1986
  8.  Mothers were identified in 38.7% of cases as the abuser and fathers 18.4% rising to 31% where cohabitation, i.e. boyfriends, step fathers, were involved. – Benedict et al 1985
  9.  Mothers and mother substitutes are suspected abusers in 44% of cases and fathers and father substitutes in 46.5% of cases. ­Creighton 1979.
  10. Significantly, 59% of all cases regarded abuse to boy babies by their mothers. This bias continued through into the age group 4 – ­11 where recordings were made that showed 55% of cases involved boy children. The largest single family group/style at 35% was the single mother unit.  – Dr. Cyril Greenland, University of Toronto
  11.  In 1993 there were 46,683 child maltreatment investigations undertaken by all 54 Children’s Aid Societies. The study defined child maltreatment as any one of physical abuse, sexual abuse neglect or emotional maltreatment. The findings are as follows:
  •  Total number of cases substantiated of child maltreatment showed that mothers were responsible for 49% of all cases and fathers 31% of the cases.
  •  In the category of child neglect mothers perpetrated 85% of cases. In the category of physical abuse mothers perpetrated 39% of cases and biological fathers 40%.
  •  In the category of emotional maltreatment mothers were found responsible for 79% of all substantiated cases.
  •  Mothers were also highlighted as being heavily involved in physical abuse especially in the newly born (zero months) to three-year-old category.

Appendix I

Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom

A Study of the Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect (2001)

 “Survey finds Hidden Victims of Child Abuse” , 21 November 2001

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/scripts/showprj.pl?prj=1004 [*]

 The NSPCC has undertaken a major piece of national research to explore the childhood experience of young people in the UK, including their experience of abuse and neglect. This is the only UK study, and one of the few world wide, to examine child maltreatment comprehensively, in a large random probability sample of the general population.
The 2,689 young people, aged 18-24 years, were interviewed using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and able to enter their answers directly to ensure confidentiality.

NSPCC SHATTERS CHILD ABUSE MYTHS

Common stereotypes about child abuse are overturned in the NSPCC¹s largest ever study of child maltreatment.

* Myth: the most common form of abuse suffered by children at home is sexual abuse.

Fact: children are seven times more likely to be beaten badly by their parents than sexually abused by them.

* Myth: most sexual abuse occurs between fathers and their daughters.

Fact: this type of incestuous relationship is rare, occurring in less than four in a thousand children. The most likely relative to abuse within the family is a brother or stepbrother.

* Myth: adults are responsible for most sexual violence against children and young people outside the family.

Fact: children are most likely to be forced into unwanted sexual activity by other young people, must usually from someone described as a ‘boyfriend’. Less than three in a thousand of the young people reported sexual behaviour against their wishes with professionals working with children.

* Myth: sexual attacks on children from strangers are common.

Fact: sexual assaults involving contact by strangers are very rare. Even with indecent exposure, only seven per cent of the young people reported ever having been ‘flashed at’, and just over a third of these said the person was a stranger.

* Myth: most physical abuse is carried out by men, especially fathers.

Fact: violent acts towards children are more likely to be meted out by mothers than fathers (49% of the sample experienced this from mothers and 40% from fathers).

NSPCC Director Mary Marsh says: Modern myths about child cruelty have emerged from the public attention given to horrific and frightening cases of child abuse by strangers. Other traditional stereotypes come from a historical wellspring of children¹s stories about wicked adult bogey figures. These stereotypes have become part of popular culture. This report challenges us to re-examine preconceived ideas about child cruelty. In some cases it calls on policy-makers and professionals to overhaul thinking and reconsider how to approach different kinds of child maltreatment.

Appendix J

 Sexual Child Abuse – NSPCC

 A Study of the Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect (2001)
 “Survey finds Hidden Victims of Child Abuse”, 21 November 2001

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/scripts/showprj.pl?prj=1004 [*]

This is the only UK study, and one of the few world wide, to examine child maltreatment comprehensively, in a large random probability sample of the general population.
The 2,689 young people, aged 18-24 years, were interviewed using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) and able to enter their answers directly to ensure confidentiality.

Sexual abuse within the family

The laws on sexual offences against children are currently under review. In July 2000, a Home Office Review proposed replacing current sexual offences such as incest with a range of new offences including familial sexual abuse, adult sexual abuse of a child and sexual activities between minors. This study increases our understanding of the way that sexual offences affect children, whether committed inside and outside the family.

In the study, 18-24 year olds were asked whether they had ever experienced any from a list of sexual acts when they were under 16. Respondents were also asked whether these activities had taken place against their wishes or with their consent, at what age it had happened and how old the other person was. This information was used to assess whether they had experienced sexual abuse.

Their answers were grouped as follows according to the nature and seriousness of the activities.

  • * Penetrative or oral acts involving sexual or anal intercourse, oral sex, or the insertion of finger, tongue or object into the vagina or anus.
    * Attempted penetrative or oral acts, as above.
    * Touching or fondling the respondents’ sex organs or private parts, getting the respondent to touch a person’s sex organs or sexually arouse them.
    * Sexual hugging or kissing.
    * Being videoed for pornographic purposes, shown pornographic videos, magazines, computer images or photos, or being made or encouraged to watch other people having intercourse or  performing sex or pornographic acts
  •  * A person exposing sex organs for to excite themselves or to shock the respondent

Relatively small numbers of the young people had experienced sexual abuse by family members.

One per cent of the young people had been sexually abused by a parent or step-parent, nearly always the male parent. Nearly all involved sex acts involving genital or anal physical contact. Very few said they had been used by a parent to make pornography, made to watch sex acts or exposure. Male and female respondents were equally likely to have been abused by parents.

Three per cent of the young people had been sexually abused by a relative other than a parent. Three quarters of this group were young women. A wide range of relatives were involved – nearly all were male, with brothers and step-brothers mentioned most often. Again, most of this involved genital or anal physical contact, with one per cent being used to make pornography, or made to watch sex acts or exposure.

One in ten of the young people had experienced penetrative sex, oral sex or attempts at these against their will by people known but unrelated to them. A large number reported the use of physical force or threat.

Sexual abuse outside the family

Far more of the respondents had experienced unwanted sexual behaviour with non-relatives than with family members. Nearly all occurred with people known to the child, the vast majority with ‘boyfriends’ and ‘girlfriends’.

Penetrative or oral sex acts which occurred against the young people’s wishes or with people at least 5 years older

  • * 70% occurred with ‘boyfriends’ or ‘girlfriends’
    * 17% occurred with ‘someone recently met’
    * 10% occurred with a fellow student or pupil
    * 6% occurred with a friend of parent or sibling
    * 4% occurred with neighbours
    * 4% occurred with a female stranger
    * 3% occurred with a male stranger
    * 2% occurred with babysitters

Very few respondents reported sexual activity involving professionals responsible for their care, and none involving care workers.

The only unwanted sexual activity experienced frequently from strangers was indecent exposure. But even among the seven per cent who reported this, respondents were twice as likely to experience it from a known person than from a stranger.

Six per cent of respondents reported having been involved in ‘consensual’ sexual behaviour when aged 13-15, with someone five or more years older than themselves.

Appendix L

 Swedish Family Law

 By Mrs. Siv Westerberg, a Swedish lawyer,

 An address to the FES (Family Education Trust)

 June 19th 1999

Abridged:-

Sweden is often held up as an example of the modern, civilised society. The touchstone of how any country can, with sensitive handling, enrich the well being of its people. It is the benchmark of how the state can play a positive and but also a benign role (in an almost patriarchal way) which will ensure the social security provisions meet the populations basis demands of employment, shelter, food and warmth. In short, no one in Sweden is perceived as being ‘in want’ or denied their democratic freedoms.

A Swedish lawyer, Mrs. Siv Westerberg, gave an address to the FES (Family Education Trust) in London on June 19th 1999. In it she describes the new targets the present Swedish Gov’t has lined up in its sights – the biological two-parent family:-

“ …. Over 15,000 children are at present in “care” in Sweden. Not a lot, you may think, until you remember the entire country’s population is only 8 million. Britain has some 40,000 children in “care” but a population of 58 million. If Britain had the same ratio as Sweden then over 100,000 British children would be in “care”.

The other intriguing aspect is that 5,000 Swedish children are compulsorily taken in “care” but over 10,000 were volunteered for “care”. This is counter culture and contradicts the norms in most countries. The reason given by Mrs. Siv Westerberg is that in Sweden parents are given the option of voluntarily signing the papers or they will never see their children again.

The picture deteriorates further when one absorbs the fact that the Swedish Gov’t has been found guilty of Human Rights violations but has yet to comply with any court ruling. The courts that take children from their parent are not judicial but “administrative” tribunals. The power and influence of social workers is truly awesome and outlined by Mrs. Siv Westerberg in some detail.

Sweden already renown for its high taxation levels aimed at levelling everyone toward a central income range has, since 1975, introduced measures that force married women with children out to work. ‘Widow’s Benefit’ doesn’t exist and even if a woman has several children she must (is obliged) by the regime in force, to place them in nurseries, i.e. kindergartens, from a very early age. Children spend more time with these “strangers” than they do with their own parents.”

Addendum:-

  • For almost 50 yeas there has been a “social” Gov’t of some description in power in Sweden. One would expect their Human Rights credentials to be impeccable – but they are not. Apart from their economic flirtation with the Third Reich and their political parallelism, Sweden has other dark secrets. Swedes, long epitomised as blonde and blue eyed also have dark haired and dark eyed native citizens. Officially, they were, and are, called “Gypsies” and up until comparatively recently they were subject to State terror and discrimination. These Swedes of dark hair were regularly taken into “care” when young, housed in rambling country mansions well away from anyone and offered sterilisation (to both girls and boys) as the means of resuming their life in the outside world. This sterilisation programme lasted 40 years with not a peep from the international community. Why ?

– – – – – –  – – – – –

[1] “Child murders and abuse of children are higher ……. in disrupted families”.- Patricia Morgan, “Farewell to the  Family ?” p125, IEA.

[2]  “Getting Even ? Women Who Kill in Domestic Encounters”, By Coramae Richey Mann , Justice Quarterly., March 1988.

[3]  “Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1996”, Home Office.

[4] See Susan Creighton’s research papers at the NSPCC library

[5] Addendum – This situation has since improved.  In 2001 otherwise unaccountable child deaths fell  to 231

[6]  BBC TV News & Channel 4 News. 28th Oct 1997. Prof. Southall paediatrician at North Staffordshire Hospital Videoed women attempting to  kill their babies in hospital wards (34 out of 39 were later prosecuted). See also Sir Roy Meadows (BBC News Feb 1999).

[7] “Farewell to the Family ?” Research by Dr. Patricia Morgan shows that around 60% of those enlisted come from lone parent households.

[8]  BBC Panorama – “The Ultimate Taboo” – child sexual abuse by women. Oct 1997. See Appendix A.

[9]  “National Incidence of Child Abuse and Neglect”, Frinkel & Russell, 1984 USA, (24% of boys and 13% of girls abused by females). See also  Gonisiorek, Bera & Le Tourneau, 1989 and 1994, (‘33% of sexual abusers were female’ – figures supplied by Dewar Research).

[10]  Addendum: NSPCC study of  over 2000 children indicate that where sexual offences occur in families it is  re-constituted families between step brother and sister, i.e. the majority is perpetrated by siblings.  The survey is significant because it was large and drawn from a random probability sample of the general population.

[11]  NSPCC statistics

[12]  “Family Court Reporter Survey, 1982-88”. See also Appendix E below.

[13]  “Family Court Reporter Survey, 1982-88”

[14]  “Family Court Reporter Survey, 1982-88”

[15]Article in the Jewish Chronicle, 17/06/1994.

[16]  The first Adoption Act was passed in 1926. Prior to this it has to be assumed that Wardship hearings would have been used to safeguard  minors.

[17] “A Study of the Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect”,  NSPCC 2001, Survey size: 2,869.   http://www.nspcc.org.uk/html/home/informationresources/hiddenchildabusesurvey.htm

[18]  Morgan P, “Farewell to the Family ?, “ and Prof. N. Dennis, “Crime and the Dismembered Family”.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: