Their stunts of climbing cranes and bridges and flour bombing the Prime Minister have put the plight of children and fathers firmly on the agenda.
The position of non resident parents (mainly fathers) is as dire now as it was 25 years ago - it is still virtually impossible for a father to get residence in contested cases - even when they have been the primary carer.
Shared parenting is still seen too often as an exception, and so most fathers have to make do with the sop of 'contact parenting' - typically one day a week - this is a residual form of parenting that inevitably marginalises fathers and breaks down the bonds their children have with them. When courts make contact orders they are often not worth the paper they are printed on - they are rarely enforced.
As a result many children lose all contact with their fathers and all the relatives on his side of the family.
The pain and anguish of children, their fathers, and the cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents deprived of contact with each other is a national scandal that needs addressing.
Although there have been some tentative moves towards shared parenting the legal and welfare establishment is, on the whole, resistant, preferring the outmoded sole custody / visitation model.
SPIG believes that there should be presumptive shared parenting as the starting point in all post divorce / separation scenarios involving children.
Over the last 25 years the mainstream fathers movement has opted for the strategy of respectability - quiet lobbying in the hope that this will make a difference. SPIG believes that this tactic has been ineffective.
Fathers 4 Justice have progressed the debate further in the last few months than the mainstream movement has ever done. Indeed we have some sympathy with the view that the mainstream fathers movement is now an obstacle to progress. It is regrettable that the FNF leadership did not feel able to support the Fathers 4 Justice protesters instead choosing to condemn the action.
Now is the time for unity in the fathers movement. Many ordinary members of mainstream fathers groups will be supporters of non violent direct action and would have welcomed the Fathers 4 Justice protests
SPIG believes that this is the way forward.
Well done Fathers 4 Justice.
Flour power for dads !
The genius of F4J is that they have used their imagination - their stunts have had a humorous vein - they have dressed up as heroes and so brought the element of fun and a light touch into it, but also conveying what many children are missing out on - the fun side of dads.
Fathers' group uses media stunts to put its message across - Independent 20 May 2004 p8
Why dads throw flour - David Aaronovitch - Observer 23 May 2004
Last updated - 29 May 2004