Photographer Stephen Walton of Sydney has been following the suicide awareness campaign #21fathers since its release.
Stephen contacted the ABF and asked to document the stories and images of fathers who have been through family law courts, dealt with the abusive child support system and had experienced domestic violence matters as victims and as perpetrators of family and domestic violence.
All of these fathers have experienced extreme personal trauma and have come out the other side with harrowing stories of institutional abuse, domestic violence and parental alienation. Their experiences suggest that the family law and domestic violence system was often actively working against them as men and fathers. The connection between all of these fathers is the failure of their relationships and that all have talked openly talked about how suicide seemed like an option in the darker moments.
These images bring together the story of Australian fathers and their families in crisis. It is also a sobering look at the failure of Australian social policy at to recognise male victims of family violence, gender bias in family law policy and the important role fathers play in the lives of their children and in our society.
The ABF is seeking a large exhibition space to display the A1 black and white images and associated material of the 21fathers portrait project.
If you are interested in supporting the exhibition with gallery space please contact the ABF.
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