End Tragic Outcomes for Children of High Conflict Separation and Divorce
Article 40 - You have the right to legal help and fair treatment in the justice system that respects your rights, stated in the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.
On January 8, 2018 I wrote a letter to five Ministers (see below) in response to the two little girls who lost their lives while spending time with their father on Christmas day in Victoria BC.
I am calling for a show of hands, via the signatures on this petition to support the creation of a better system for families going through separation and divorce in Canada.
I propose that Child and Family Supervised Access Hubs be established in every community that has a court issuing custody and access orders.
Children should not lose their childhood or their lives because their parents cannot find a way to raise them in a conflict free, respectful and kind environment.
Each Child and Family Supervised Access Hub will have eight core services: supervised access visits, exchanges, parental support sessions, counselling, mediation, parent education, parent coordination and access to psychologists. These hubs must be dedicated service centres with specific best practice standards and safety protocols.
My name is Carmen Barclay, I have a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Management and have been supervising access visits and exchanges for over 18 years. Most of my clients come through the court system. The following observations have not changed much over the time I have been providing services...
1) Family Courts make orders for supervised visits or exchange services, sometimes with "generous access" or with specific dates, times and regularity. Either way, these orders are often not enforceable unless clearly stated who can enforce the order.
2) Often there are NO dedicated facilities for visitation which often puts children and families at risk. Many families cannot locate a facility for visitations, if they do, usually they cannot afford the costs. This leads to children unable to see the non-residential parent because of poverty or lack of available funds. Breached court orders, contempt of court and possibly angry and resentful non-residential parents and extended family are also mitigating factors.
3) At this time there are NO standardized requirements for supervised access service providers. Experience and training of providers varies and puts children at risk.
4) Families are being ruined by the huge costs of legal representation, professional fees for custody and access reports, views of the child, parental coordination and trying to keep up with the daily cost of living and responsibilities.
5) The impact of high conflict affects everyone on all sides, especially the children and eventually, society.
6) The fee structure is totally random ranging from $0 to $100 plus per hour.
7) The Collaborative Law process impact is unknown. In Victoria we see families opting out of the collaborative law process with minimal or no results.
Families experiencing separation and divorce could benefit with access to services that are able to support the transition from a family that lives together to one that lives in separate homes.
The first year of any separation can be rough and for the couples that experience high levels of conflict, there needs to be a hub of core services that supports the parents while developing healthy co-parenting behaviours.
There is a better way to address conflict in separation and divorce. I have been lobbying for the past 10 years for dedicated multi-service child centred, family focused Supervised Access Hubs in every community that has a court house.
The lack of response from the Ministries and other key players has prompted me to see if there are other people in BC or across Canada that support the idea of dedicated multi-service child and family supervised access hubs. Hence this Petition and request for a show of hands. I am hopeful that the decision makers will see that I am not alone in the pursuit of better systems to manage conflict through separation and divorce and be moved to take action to team up and create these systems.
We start by working together, building a pilot project based on successful models from other countries.
The time has come for conflict through separation and divorce to be recognized as an extremely serious problem and insist on positive action from the ministries listed below.
It is a moral and fiduciary responsibility of the named ministries (below) to come together and financially support the development and ongoing resources to create these life saving child and family services in the family court arena.
Do you think your community could benefit from a Child and Family Supervised Access Hub?
If you agree, Please sign this petition and share it with others. If there are over 5,000 signatures Carmen will petition the House of Commons. This petition is a way to determine support for this concept at this stage of advocacy.
Thank you for your support,
Carmen Barclay MA
As of February 27, 2018 only two Ministers of the five listed below have responded. The Honourable Katrine Conroy referred me to the Honourable Mike Farnworth. The Honourable David Eby said "Ministry of Attorney General is not in a position to fund such a centre at this time, we encourage you to continue to seek funding opportunities through other sources and invite you to update us on the status of the initiative."
1 Honourable Katrine Conroy, Ministry of Children & Family Development
2 Honourable David Eby, Ministry of Attorney General
3 Honourable Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
4 Honourable Mike Farnworth, Public Safety and Solicitor General
5 Honourable Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
In the News:
The headlines are shocking for a few months, then it seems like the shock and commitment to making our communities a safer place for families is forgotten… until the next senseless tragedy.
After February 6, 2012 CNN News report Washington USA man kills himself and two sons.
Vancouver woman hires hit men to kill her ex-husband because she did not want him to spend any time with their child
BC Father guilty of killing his three children, deemed not to be a high risk
Victoria police create domestic violence unit 5 years after the Lee tragedy.
BC Father charged with second degree murder of his two daughters.