A HARLOW father hoping to lead the fight for equal rights of parents over their children is encouraging more struggling dads to join his support group.
Neil Colley (27), of Bishopsfield, only started up DAD – Dads Against Discrimination – a week ago but has already had over 200 people sign up for the group on his Facebook page.
The father-of-one said he set up the group so that parents who feel they are being unfairly shut out of their children’s lives following a break-up can share their stories, support each other and fight for equal rights together.
“Although the group is centred round issues for fathers, it is also open to any mothers suffering similar difficulties with child access,” explained Neil.
“I have always believed that fathers particularly should have more rights regarding their children.
“More often than not when a relationship breaks down the child automatically stays with the mother – if she then doesn’t want the father to see the child she can make it very difficult for him and that isn’t fair.
“The fact is it takes two to make a child and assuming they are both good parents then they should both have equal responsibility and equal rights towards that child their entire lives – whether or not they remain together as a couple.”
He added: “This isn’t about naming and shaming ex-partners, it is about maintaining children’s welfare. When a relationship breaks up it should be done with as minimal disruption as possible to the child’s life and both parents should have the right to continue playing an active role.”
Neil, who is currently working on a website for the group and plans to set up petitions around the town, says his ultimate aim is to change the law regarding equal rights for parents.
“I hope that one day there is a law that stops mums and dads preventing their ex-partners from having access to their children without just cause,” said Neil.
“If we all unite together then hopefully we can one day get the system changed for both the good of the parent, and most importantly, for the good of the child.”