‘Even worst fathers should be allowed to see their kids’

September 9th, 2008 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 9 (IANS) “Every father, even the worst delinquent, must see his child once in a while. It’s beneficial for both parties,” says Germain Dulac, who has analysed the impact of broken relationships.Dulac is a researcher at the Université de Montréal’s Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Violence Against Women and Families.

In cases of violence or incest, visits must obviously be highly supervised by social workers and other specialists. Yet preventing contact between father and child would be a mistake, Dulac insisted. “Support groups have often proven that fathers turn out better if they stay in touch with their child.”

What about the welfare of the child? “Sometimes, for the child, confronting their aggressor is necessary and beneficial,” said Dulac.

In Canada’s Quebec province, it is estimated that a third of single fathers never see their children; a third see them sporadically and only a third have regular contact.

How are those broken relationships dealt with? Dulac and his colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 30 fathers of children younger than two, thanks to the collaboration of the Separated Fathers organisation.

The majority of these men, for whom separation was extremely difficult, were quite bitter with the justice system and specifically with the mediation services.

Fifty percent of marriages don’t last in Quebec. Since 1997, the government of Quebec has offered mediation services to separating couples so they can resolve their differences in a forum outside the expensive legal system. The mediator addresses issues such as custody, allocation of assets and setting up food allowances.

Dulac and his collaborators, Sylvain Camus, Gilles Rondeau and Éric Couteau, acknowledged that most separations occur without any major problems. However, certain fathers leave with a very heavy heart.

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