Reference: Ross, Susan M. (1996). "Risk of Physical Abuse to Children of Spouse Abusing Parents." Child Abuse & Neglect 20:589-598.
“Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories” is exactly the kind of inflated and sensationalistic presentation that has created an environment in which loving fathers seeking to share in the upbringing of their children are regarded with suspicion and even hostility. In our view, this film, if given credence, will have the effect of creating an environment in which judges are fearful of allowing perfectly good men from participating in the care of their children, and of creating the impression among the general public, custody evaluators, the legal community, legislators and others that it is dangerous to award any form of custody to fathers.
The Fathers & Families’ Mission
Fathers & Families’ mission is to protect the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce, with equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
We believe that 20 years of child-centered research has demonstrated that children are suffering under the present legal custom of awarding custody to only one parent, usually the mother. Surveys of grown children show that what hurt them the most about their parents’ divorce was the loss of an intimate relationship with their fathers. This sense of loss persists well into adulthood, and affects their adult relationships.
Even worse, divorce and the accompanying loss of close connection between fathers and children in the majority of cases have dramatically increased the frequency of seriously negative outcomes for children. Even in intact families, about 10% of children suffer serious negative developmental difficulties, including depression, suicide, educational failure, substance abuse, gang involvement, arrest, teenage pregnancy, and even total mortality. Children in families headed by single mothers have increased rates of sexual and physical child abuse, as well as neglect. All of these seriously negative outcomes are increased two-to-threefold in children raised with little contact with their fathers.
When one examines the reasons for the loss of contact with fathers after separation or divorce of the parents, one finds death from a thousand cuts. While some fathers may take little interest in their children, the main causes include failure of the courts to award joint physical custody, failure to award significant parenting time (“visitation”), failure to enforce the parenting time that has been ordered, readiness to curtail contact between fathers and children when estranged wives make any allegation, child support orders that require fathers to work two or three jobs, thus leaving no time for parenting, moveaways, and other factors.