Rockhampton fathers fight for fairness in the justice system
TWENTY-one Australian fathers take their lives every week because of family access issues, according to the Australian Brotherhood of Fathers.
And Rockhampton's Craig-Alan Keighley has had enough.
Mr Keighley is one of a number of Rockhampton fathers raising awareness of the startling figure and rallying for changes to family law and domestic violence policies.
The Australian Brotherhood of Fathers (ABF) member said he and many other would rally outside the Rockhampton Court precinct until the Federal Circuit Court comes to town on June 22.
"We're representing the Australian Brotherhood of Fathers, which is trying to change policies on family law and domestic violence," Mr Keighley said.
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"We wear the 21 Fathers shirts which represent the 21 Australian fathers who kill themselves each week due to family access issues. Those numbers have been confirmed by Members of Parliament.
"I just want to make it clear that parental alienation is actually child abuse and it's not really recognised in the courts.
"With domestic violence, we hear in the media every single day about domestic violence against women and men are vilified. The case is one-in-three domestic violence victims are men and that's not a number we can ignore.
"We're about equality; we're not about vilifying women or helping men dodge the blame. We're here to make everything equal because that's how it should be."
Mr Keighley said so far, the community response to the rally had been great.
"We're just here to chat to people as they come past and if they have issues they usually come up and ask us what it's about. We either lead them in the right direction, or just listen. On Tuesday I was here and a couple of fathers came up to talk to me about it and I heard their stories. We're going to be here Tuesdays and Thursdays every week until the Federal Circuit Court comes into town," he said.
According to the ABF website, many fathers are taking their lives in Australia because of child access issues, high costs associated with family law, child support financial pressures, false allegations of abuse and family court rulings that are bias toward mothers.
The ABF is calling for changes to how separated families are dealt with so that both parents are afforded equal rights of access and financial care.
They also seek solutions that reduce the emotional and financial pressures associated with family law services.
21 Australian fathers commit suicide each week
During the period 2006 -2012 there was an average of 23 deaths a year in Queensland linked to domestic and family violence
In 2013, there were 10,861 divorces granted in Queensland.