If this is indicative of the general population, some 2.3 million men have not seen their children this Father’s Day. The survey, commissioned by the campaign group Fathers 4 Justice focussed on men with children aged 18 and under. It also found that one in five fathers (20%) feared losing, or had lost contact with their children and 22% knew someone who had experienced this.
One-third (32%) had experienced or knew someone who had experienced distress or mental health issues after being denied access to their children.
Matt O’Connor, the founder of Fathers 4 Justice commented: “These figures, lay bare the appalling scale and reality of the challenges dads face on a daily basis. Denial of access to their children, estrangement and mental health problems for millions of men has become the norm.”
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One of the aims of the campaign group is to secure dedicated political representation for men and boys, in the same way that women have a Women’s minister.
They are also calling for a fully-funded ‘safety net’, focused on addressing the alarmingly high rates of male suicide, depression and other health issues linked to family breakdown.
The ComRes poll found that nearly one in six dads, (17%) had experienced challenges accessing their children, while a quarter (27%) knew someone who had.
“Since we started our campaign in 2001, our helpline has received in the order of 750,000 calls, roughly one every 15 minutes, from men, or their partners who are struggling with access after separation, depression and mental health problems, or who are being unfairly treated by a system that seems rigged against them,” said Mr O’Connor.
“These fathers just want to be able to see their kids and not have to go through a lengthy and expensive legal process to make this happen.”