Fathers and childrens discrimination
In Finland law reform regarding child custody and meeting rights implemented December 1, 2019. First time in finnish history shared parenting has been mentioned in a law but unfortunately not as an primary resolution. European council in their resolution 2079 (2015) to all member states recommends shared parenting as an primary resolution and better recognization of fathers and their importance to children. Resolution was result of large research and data regarding shared parenting and its benefits for children.
Since 2018 when association Lasten oikeudet ry has been founded we have brought latest research to policy makers without result. Our experience is that inspite of latest law reform courts are still not willing to make orders which favors children’s and families well being in form of shared parenting and equal time with both parents.
Latest research based on the registry of the ministry of the justice conducted 2006 (Valkama-Litmala). Courts are favoring father as a primary care giver only 13% by first district court session.
Fathers in Finland are spending tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands euros just to protect child’s right to its both parents and right to live and be cared by both parents. Both fathers and childrens are compromising their mental health during this process. Based on Nordic survey (2022) which measure experience of gender discrimination in child matters expose dramatic results of fathers discrimination. Finnish fathers experience most discrimination in Nordic countries. We got 4500 answers and from Finland 800 answers. Results are shocking.
44% of fathers has experienced discrimination often, 43% of fathers has experienced mental violance often, 30% of fathers has experienced suicidal thoughts due discrimination and 37% of children has suffered significially or catastrophically due father’s discrimination.
In our own research when we selected randomly one judge from district court which seems to be against fathers we found that one judge during 2018-2020 hasn’t even once favored father as a primary care giver (50 court orders). Relatively common decision has been sole custody to mother and very limited meeting rights to father (typically every second weekend) which is clearly an evidence of fathers discrimination and human rights violation. We brought this evidence to head of district court and he replied us that we are just bitter because of loosing court case. Statistically its impossible that all 50 fathers are not good enough to be a primary care giver. We will continue researching more to get more evidences of fathers discrimination.
UN Committee Right of the Child has already a long time paid attention that in Finland authorities don’t know Child’s rights agreement well enough or make wrong conclusions. As well we have issues to hear and recognize child’s opinion accordingly. We have evidence that even in case of children between 8-12 years courts are not willing to recognize child’s opinion if its favors father.
Domestic child custody law emphasize child’s right to be cared well in a safe environment and parent’s are mandatory to make sure that child’s contact and relationship to other parent will not be compromised in any way and parents must cherish child’s relationship to other parent. This has been recognized as well in European council resolution 2079 (2015) which states.
“take all necessary steps to ensure that decisions relating to children’s residence and to access rights are fully enforced, particularly by following up complaints with respect to failure to hand over a child”
Our experience and data shows that in Finland in case of child deprivation from father authorities are neither not willing or able to enforce meeting right with a father. In practice authorities who are responsible to protect child against violence in forms of parental alienation often take side of the mother and make situation even worse. Many fathers has been eliminated from their child’s life permanently due parental alienation without any reason.
Association Lasten oikeudet has informed government of human right violations without any progress yet.