Together fathers can change the system – our kids & our future depend on it


#21fathers is a social media and public awareness campaign produced by the ABF. The campaign seeks to highlight the truly devastating impact suicide has on Australian families dealing with family access restrictions.

The statistics are truly shocking! 

The ABF produced the #21fathers campaign with the help of an ad agency who provided pro bono advice and research on the subject of men’s suicide after separation in particular fathers dealing with family access issues. The base number of 3 fathers a day came about initially as anecdotal evidence from Lone Fathers Founder (Barry Williams) and then Men’s Rights owner (Sue Price) together with a number of other sources in particular support groups dealing with men struggling with family access and at risk of self harm. We also looked at data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012 data on male suicide), Australian suicide research centre (2012 data) and mental health advocacy groups. We didn’t produce a statistic we merely researched how they came to suggest 3 a day was a national average and reported this as part of an awareness campaign #21fathers. This we suggest becomes part of an indicator pointing toward a much larger problem that has direct links to current social policies that impact families/fathers when their relationships end and access and care of children becomes disputed.

The Child Support Agency noted that their contact and dealings with clients struggling with child access issues, combined with the heavy financial burden of child support contributed to the suicide rate of their clients. The agency itself  released specific data as part of their annual reports that linked the suicide of clients to a change of policy in collections. This data is no longer published by the agency due to policy changes on reporting.

Family Courts and the Family Law system is contributing to the death toll by forcing families into bitter and expensive legal battles.

Domestic violence laws are limiting the ability for families to stay connected by allowing some parents to make bogus claims of abuse to restrict access to children prior to family law proceedings.

Researchers talk about triggers that lead to suicide suggesting that it takes a number of triggers in someones life before they take their lives. Studies by Griffith University suggest separated men are at higher risk of suicide when the relationship ends.

The current family law system exposes men to these factors

  • restrictions to child access
  • false allegations of abuse
  • access restrictions to property
  • increased financial pressure
  • contact with law enforcement
  • exposure to the legal system

Time and time again we see injustices perpetrated against fathers from a clearly biased court system and the anti-father child support system, that hides behind the frequently used statement that their actions are in the best interests of children. In reality this is a terrible lie used to restrict fathers from fair and reasonable contact with their kids. The system instead favours mothers who are able to openly manipulate the process to become the primary custodial parent for either financial gain or simply to maintain a level of control over the noncustodial parents life.

There are too many fathers taking their lives in Australia because of child access issues, the high costs associated with family law,  pressures from the Child Support Agency, the use of  false allegations of abuse and Family Court rulings that are clearly bias toward mothers.

The ABF is calling on all parties and agencies involved to change how they deal with separated families. Both parents need to be afforded care and respect as they work toward equal rights of access to children. We also seek solutions that reduce the emotional and financial pressures associated with family law services, given the costly and prolonged legal processes currently experienced in the Family Courts. Check out our #notyourright campaign for further details.

Help the ABF promote our campaign by using #21fathers in any of your social media posts!

You can also show support by purchase t-shirts, bumper stickers and wristbands to show those in your community that change needs to happen. Fundraising is directed toward direct action events nationally!