As one of our guests has pointed out, my experiences are not unique and many fathers have experienced discrimination from Social Workers when trying to protect their children.
Download it above or follow the link from Circle Scotland for a report by Nick Smithers.
An Austrailian fathers website "fathers4equality" described the report as "remarkable" and it was reported that Peter MacLeod from the head of the Association of Social Work Directors stated that anybody facing discrimination could complain through the statutory complaints procedure. Then why was Michelle Miller, Chief Social Worker at Edinburgh Social Services allowed to dispose of my statutory complaint into discrimination -refusing to allow it to progress to the independent stage?
This report highlights the problems of Social Workers forming early judgements and then being incapable of changing their minds as evidence mounts around them. It shows "information bias" can be taken to the extreme and children can get hurt as a result - so why is there such a resistance to addressing race and gender discrimination in Social Work?
I found out the hard way this is so true and I wonder how much difference it would have made if I had the benefit of such a "parrot".
"FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO"
I feel pressured to write this blog because I have been dealing with a father who against all odds managed a few weeks ago to regain his three children. He was the usual casualty of a cruel system that judged him a wife beater and child terrorize with no evidence at all. He was thrown out of his house and barred from seeing his children. Fortunately he was tenacious and very slowly fought his way back. I won't tell the whole story because it is up to him to write about it if he wishes but I do encourage fathers and some mothers to make public their winning these cases but if all we hear is the hopelessness of it all it makes it harder for others to fight back.
My role in this father's life was actually to sit on his shoulder like a very large parrot and remind him that he must at all costs play dumb. This is where I so often see men fail before they are even faced with the first hurdle. Let me say at this point my daughter works in child protection. I also have friends who are good caring social workers but in all these agencies there is no screening for psychological damage and therefore many of the decisions made in these very delicate family matters are done by people who have a personal axe to grind. Good preserve you all from the 'walking wounded' male or female. They have had bitter personal experiences of their own which they bring to the conference table and judge anyone harshly who shadows their own experiences.
I see the problem for men in the first instance in our feminised lobotomized western countries that they are victimised because they are men and therefore guilty of all forms of violence. Men faced with a problem want to 'do' something. They are used to voicing their disapproval or dislike of situations that seem to them to be unfair. Faced with prejudiced accusations from agency people a man will roundly defend himself - big mistake. Agency workers do not like to be challenged. He does not realise that the moment he raises his voice or even makes a statement that contradicts the agency person he will be deemed 'controlling.' This label will be hung around his neck as he is passed from one agency to another. I think men are more likely to find against another man because they have very little if any training about the delinquency of women. If a father is extremely lucky he can find a good solicitor who will keep his back male or female and it is legal team that matter most in these cases. As far - and this is a generalisation - I know and I have worked in the family courts for the last forty years - there is institutional bias against men throughout the system. First because there is the presumption of guilt because he is a man and secondly because a man under stress is more likely to fight against the injustice. If a man raises his voice he is violent if a woman raises her voice is because she is stressed.
Women because they are women face the agencies as the innocent party. Women when faced with a tense situation are far better at negotiating they use sweet reason where men tend to shout. Most of the men I deal with spend many hours studying their position and reading up on cases on line. Very few women I come across bother. They tend to leave everything to their solicitors. All agencies hate to be questioned on their expertise by anyone and it is usually men who asks the questions and make themselves seen as 'difficult' and 'uncooperative' when all they are doing is legitimately trying to have a dialogue instead of being treated as a moron.
My advice is from a Chinese sage who suggests that 'when the wind blows the reeds bend.' Faced with an obnoxious not very bright agency worker hold your tongue and wait until your anger has subsided and then contact your solicitor and let him or her make your point. Chose a calm friend and sound off on the friend rather than the agency worker. Accept that through no fault of your own in so many cases you are branded as a perpetrator and however outrageous this is recognise this is not only a personal battle but also a political war and make your plans accordingly.