I was asked to shed some light on the statistical realities versus the statistical narrative surrounding domestic abuse, which has long dominated the debate over reform of the family justice system. Here I share the key findings, which have been identified through simple application of published statistics, logic and basic mathematical calculations. Having carried out this analysis, I find it surprising that with no funding or academic resources to call on – to produce these insights – as to why it seems to never have occurred to anyone to get to grips with it before now? Particularly those in the Ministry of Justice, the Police and in Government, all of whom have such deep pockets and so plentiful a supply of highly intelligent resources to call upon, and that is before considering the fact that they have ready access to the data at the very point of collection, so could very easily have been tracking this all along to aid their decision making, in the genuine best interests of children & families. The cynic in me asks, what possible reason could there be to not record the data correctly, then publish it transparently? I have yet to meet anyone involved professionally in any aspect of family law who is lacking in intelligence, so I can only conclude that the absence of transparency, and the desire to make critical and life changing decisions with regards to children and their parents, with what you will see from reading through this document amounts to nothing less than a scandalous and deeply harmful false narrative, is rooted in corrupted financial vested interests. I challenge those professionals involved, to demonstrate rationally, factually and with evidence, that the quite extraordinary lengths they have gone to in preventing transparency and resisting reform over the last three decades, could be motivated by anything other than that.
For those who may wish to use this document in their own work, they have my endorsement provided I am referenced as the author, and it is not for financial gain. An email address is contained in the footer, for any notifications, or even if someone has challenges to the calculations or logic which have been applied.
This analysis is provided in the absence of clear data being made available by The Ministry of Justice, who continue to fail to share any data that would present the public and parliament with a clear picture of both the levels of service being delivered and the outcomes for service users, this is despite repeated criticisms stretching back many years, met with repeated promises to do better, which never materialise. More importantly, is this data could support children, whose best interests they are mandated to serve, yet are evidently failing on a scale that is almost unimaginable, and continues to escalate at a frightening pace and with severe social consequences.
Crime and domestic abuse data
Headline crime and domestic abuse/violence (DA/DV) data, recorded by police and via the national crime survey, carried out annually by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is frequently relied upon by mainly women’s domestic abuse charities/groups and the media to sensationalise and exaggerate the issue of domestic abuse and present a gendered imbalance in the prevalence. Indeed, the UK Statistics Authority upheld a complaint about the claim by women’s domestic abuse charities and advocating parliamentarians that the “overwhelming majority of Domestic Abuse is perpetrated by males against female victims”, despite upholding the complaint, this very same rhetoric is now more mainstream than it has ever been.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that the rate of domestic abuse crimes would fall over this time period, because of successes coming from the investments made into awareness and support. But the rhetoric of those benefitting the most from the dramatically increased funding over the course of those years (namely Women’s Aid and Refuge), is that we have had an explosion of domestic abuse, perhaps as a result of those investments, even though the crime figures and social markers tell us the polar opposite. It simply cannot be both, so which is true? Well, neither Women’s Aid or Refuge have been required to evidence their claims, so it seems to stand to reason that they have simply made them up and been believed, with the media complying due to the sheer scale of investment these organisations are making into advertising.
Further useful analysis to consider, is the impact of wasted police time and other wasted resources. If the point raised in 1.2c is anywhere near close, family court processes may be leading to a grossly disproportionate waste of police time & resources when comparing to the relatively low percentage of the population actively engaged in family court cases. This appears to present as approx. 213k DA crime reports which should never have taken place, out of a total number of reports for the whole population of 746,219, that’s 28.54%. If the police have carried out a study to determine the total cost in police resources for domestic abuse crimes, we can predict that as much as 28.54% of that expenditure could be avoided and is being completely wasted. What we do know from publicly available police reporting is that in 2017, 14% of all crimes committed were flagged as domestic abuse crimes, we also know that the police budget for that year was £11.783bn, therefore if police spending is directly proportionate, then in excess of £471m in police funding is being wasted by family court related false allegations of domestic abuse. Making assumptions on wasted Cafcass and court time is easy, but we are potentially saying here that, of the 62% of private family law cases which have allegations of abuse, more than 95% are bogus. The remaining 38% of cases very likely take up substantially less court time & judicial resource, which could mean that 80% of the judicial resources, which amount to approx. 1,000 judges costing in excess of £150k annually each in salary alone, could be cut by around 70%, that would save the tax payer in excess of £100m in judges salaries, before we even consider the colossal back office support operation. We are also saying that 95% of Cafcass time assigned to private law cases is completely unnecessary and could be done away with if the presumption of equal care were brought into law, rebuttable of course if there is a genuine safety reason for it to be otherwise or the parents simply agree between themselves to coparent in such a way that suits their lives, minimises conflict and maximises care & stability for the children, but then of course, those type of reasonable, compassionate and child centred parents don’t resort to family court anyway, albeit there seem to be very few of them left once the lawyers get involved. Page 66 of Cafcass 2018/19 Annual report shows total running costs of almost £160m, it seems certain that at least half of this expenditure would be avoided with the introduction of presumed parenting equality.
I've said before that 80% of family court time for private law cases is a complete waste, and these figures back that up. 95% of all social services (external to Cafcass) time spent on private law cases is also completely wasted. In 2019 the Dept for Education reported to have almost 30k social workers employed in Children’s Services, with average salary circa £30k + 16% pension, but with 20% of those staff being agency staff at much higher pay rates. Conservatively this is a cost to the tax payer of £1.05bn in salary costs alone, however there are no reports to tell us the proportion of those staff required for private family law purposes. The missing part seems to be, what is the impact of the wasted police time, resource and funding on genuine victims of crime because it’s being wasted by lawyer led, and family court incentivised, manufactured "disputes"? The real cost however, is in the damage being done to more than 15% of our children, and 10’s of thousands of innocent parents every year, as many of 2,000 of whom will take their own lives, a figure that is rising year on year, but is swept quietly under the carpet.
Busting the myth that Domestic Abuse is Gendered
The narrative in relation to domestic abuse is that the majority of victims are female and the majority of perpetrators are male, but on the strength of the calculations in this document, such an assertion is on extremely shaky ground, so let’s look at that in more detail.
We have already identified on page 2 that Police recorded 746,219 domestic abuse crimes, and these are split two thirds female victims (479,479), against one third male victims (248,739). Next, we need to look at whether mothers or fathers are predominantly gaining residency of the children, to serve as our guide to who is likely to be making the lion’s share of false domestic abuse allegations. Our most reliable guide to this (because MoJ refuse to publish these figures despite how very easy it would be to do so) is Child Maintenance Service (CMS) data which has a very large sample size of data to refer to (which is publicly available and updated quarterly on the DWP website), and tells us that children are primarily with mothers in 93% of cases, shared equally in just under 5% of cases and primarily with the father in a little over 2% of cases. To pre-empt challenges to that assumption which are likely to come forward, lets back up the CMS data with MoJ data in respect of Non-molestation orders granted in family law cases, which have steadily run at approx. 94% in favour of mothers for at least the last decade. So, to be generous, let’s make the assumption that 93% of the time false allegations are made on the mother’s side, and 7% of the time they are made on the father’s side. Let’s now take 93% of what we believe to be 213k of police crime reports which are false and have been generated for the purposes of family court litigation, and we arrive at a figure of 198,090.
Now we deduct this figure from the male perpetrated domestic abuse crime reports figure of 479,479 and we have a figure of 281,389, but we then add back the 14,910 (7% assumption of false allegations from fathers) to the figure of male perpetrated domestic abuse and we have a final male perpetrated DA crime report figure of 296,299.
We reach these figures without taking into account three other important factors:
1. That male domestic abuse victims are known to under report, being 3 x less likely to report than females.
2. Responses to our Victims of False Allegations in Family Court Survey have highlighted a disturbing level of secondary domestic abuse, perpetrated by relatives, friends and new partners of their accuser, on behalf of their accuser, as a ‘domestic abuse by-proxy’, with over 70% having been subjected to this type of abuse. Such incidents would rarely, if ever, be recorded as domestic abuse, and certainly not attributed to the person inciting the abuse.
3. We could also further dilute the sample if we take into consideration Lesbian and Gay partnerships which represent approx. 2% according to the ONS in 2017. It is noteworthy that according to a study by the University of Bristol in 2006 focusing on domestic abuse within same sex couples, of those identifying as Lesbian 40.1% said they had experienced domestic abuse in a same sex relationship, whereas with male respondents identifying as Gay that figure was 35.2%.
If the women’s domestic abuse charities and their advocating MP’s are correct in their thinking, i.e. that government must provide disproportionate protection to the most likely gender to be victims of Domestic Abuse, then the gendered description that they are seeking in the Domestic Abuse Bill must go in favour of men and in particular it must have additional protections for fathers involved in family court proceedings, who are, on the basis of this calculation, our society’s most vulnerable gendered victim group when it comes to domestic abuse - the overwhelming majority of the time! It is also the case, that based on this, the funding given to Women’s Domestic Abuse charities, which is now estimated to be in excess of £500m per year, should have at least half of that funding diverted to male domestic abuse charities, who are estimated to receive less that £2m of funding between them, as a matter of the utmost urgency.
However, there would be few males that would advocate for such an unequitable approach to domestic abuse, I have no doubt about that. It is also the case, based on this analysis that there is a further group of people that would be ignored were we to simply reverse the gendered description of domestic abuse that the women’s groups are campaigning for. These are the thousands of mothers each year who are both alienated and falsely accused in family court, they do not number as highly as men, but so what, they are still victims of abuse who are not being supported, and in many cases they also are being abused by domestic abuse charities and the courts as an abuse by-proxy.
Collectively, alienated parents, of either gender, represent the most vulnerable, and the least supported, group within our population. It is little wonder then, that so many resort to suicide or have a complete mental health breakdown as they try to navigate their way through the abuse. No specific investigations are made by the Coroner’s Office into whether victims of suicide have had recent involvement with family court, there seems to be a compelling argument for this to change. However, estimates for total numbers of male suicide due to family court were at 2,000 each year several years ago, with a spike of 700+ suicides overall in the last year, that is likely to be considerably higher now. The economic cost of each individual suicide is estimated to be £1.7m. Therefore, if the 2,000 figure is accurate the total economic cost of those family court induced suicides is £3.4bn.
It is clear from the content of this analysis, that The Domestic Abuse Bill, now proceeding to the House of Lords for approval, MUST protect ALL VICTIMS as individuals rather than continuing to provide protection through the lens of any form of gendered ideological perspective, founded on the wildly misleading misrepresentation of public data. We have already seen just how damaging that has been for our children and our society generally. For parliament to now go ahead with providing any gendered definition of Domestic Abuse within any changes to the law, against the background of this statistical analysis, would plainly be an act of unjustifiable discrimination at best, and at worst it paves the way for a continuation of the attack against our nation’s children and innocent parents by the family law industry and domestic abuse charities.
Reading this document you might ask yourself the question, “surely there is a regulator overseeing this who would step in?”, and you would be right to ask that question, and the answer is yes, there is a regulator in the form of The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), an arm of The Law Society. In September 2018 I submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the SRA for details on all complaints regarding family law solicitor conduct over the prior 21 months. This revealed that from a total of 1013 complaints over this period, only 8 were upheld, seven of which received only a “Letter of Advice”, i.e. naughty naughty don’t do it again, and the remaining 1 was awarded costs. In practice, this means that there is no regulation in family law, and there is no recourse for malpractice, breaches of conduct or fraud, with the chances of successfully complaining to the regulator and any meaningful action being taken amounting to less than 0.001%. It seems unfeasible that so few complaints out of so many lodged, could legitimately have no merit.
Sir Andrew McFarlane is yet again complaining publicly that Family Court is at breaking point with unprecedented demand , and yet it is this very demand that is also leading to other public services being needlessly overstretched. It appears that human behaviour needs to be managed through the setting of clear rules around marriage, separation and divorce, which would limit the incentive for conflict to arise, that incentive largely fuelled by an adversarial system which is very lucrative to the vested interests of family law solicitors, high profile domestic abuse charities, the judiciary and other professionals feeding off this system.
Were there a presumption of equal parenting time from separation (as recommended in the first draft of the Norgrove Report in 2011, but lobbied against by Women’s Aid and Family Law professionals on the thinly veiled basis that it would be devastating to their financial vested interests), which of course is rebuttable on the basis of genuine child safety issues, then we are most of the way there, and there are many examples now around the world that show us how successful a policy this is in reducing court involvement, the associated conflict and harm caused to children.
Sweden, for example, has a rate of just 9% of separating couples turning to the family court. In the UK however, the MoJ have previously estimated that 38% of divorcing couples with children resort to family court, but even that is grossly misleading. In 2018 there were a total of 90,871 divorce petitions filed (ONS), approx. 45% of those had dependent children (circa 40,892). In the same year, there were 53,164 new private law cases lodged with the family court involving 123,334 children. MoJ estimate that 32% of their cases involve unmarried parents, therefore the total number of divorcing couples within family court would amount to approx. 36,152 which tells us that of those divorcing couples with dependent children, a staggering 88.4% are resorting to family court, almost 10 x that of Sweden, but an even higher multiple still when you consider the figure for Sweden is for all divorce matters compared to the figures shown for UK only relating to children matters. Australia also brought in a system of equal parenting successfully in 2006; however, this has been undermined to a large degree (in no small part due to family law solicitors) by a recent spiralling in the volume of false allegations of abuse (e.g. the Pauline Hanson Inquiry to Australian Family Law).
Therefore, to back up the presumption of equal parenting, tough measures around allegations of abuse being made by one parent, subsequently proven false, must be applied - as a disincentive to making them in the first place. Prevention, after all, is always better than cure!
Now that we have reached near saturation of the ‘addressable market’ in divorcing parents with dependant children in family court (88.4%) to continue to grow this business at the pace of recent years, the system will need to turn its attention to unmarried but cohabiting parents for its supply and also to encouraging the failure of a higher proportion of parental relationships (hence the ever increasing funding of Women’s Aid and Refuge charities and the associated inflation of domestic abuse prevalence within their marketing activities). The means to achieve this are already well in train, with the Cohabitation Rights Bill 2019 – 2021 which will provide unmarried parents the same financial incentives to alienate children from their other parent as we already have in divorce, as well as giving family law solicitors free reign to plunder the financial estates of unmarried parents to the same level that they have been doing with divorcing parents for several decades. As increasingly fewer couples of child bearing age now marry, not least due to the risks involved and no doubt in no small part to their own experiences growing up with family court involvement, this bill usurps individuals’ decisions to avoid marriage for the sake of their own safety. Once this bill becomes law in 2021, we can safely predict that the percentage of unmarried parents in family court will rise steadily from 32% over the following years.
Perhaps the biggest question is, how many more years will pass, how many more children will be harmed, and how many more innocent parents will take their own lives, before government stops investing tax payers money into the perpetuation and continuing escalation of this abuse?
I invite challenges to the figures in this document by email (see footer), however any challenges that are abusive or disrespectful in their nature will not receive a response. If you wish to challenge, please do so on a mathematical, statistical or logical basis. Likewise, if you wish to discuss the content for media review, publication or interview regarding this analysis or any of my other research please reach out to me by email in the first instance.
For any readers who have been a victim of false allegations in family court, or if you are a loved one of someone who took their own life as a result of false allegations and the family court process, please complete our survey at www.falseallegationssurvey.com, the survey will run until at least September 2020 and may be extended to the end of the year. An interim report of the survey’s findings will be published in August 2020.
Further studies will follow, including a study on the impact of the family law industry on business and the economy. If you are a board member of a large enterprise, and would be interested in playing part in the collection of data from your employees (anonymously of course) please make contact.
If you in a country other than the UK where family law is also operating on a fraudulent level, I urge you to undertake the same statistical analysis with information from your country that will be in the public domain. It is highly likely that the information is available and you’ll be able to reach similar conclusions as I have in this paper as a result. The more we can share this sort of information around the world the better, including any nations that would like to run a tailored version of the false allegations survey mentioned above. I can share the question set as a template to help move you forward more quickly and it would be a useful exercise to publish data from all similar systems around the world. I could even host the survey for you if you are able to meet the cost. Reach out to the email address in the footer. If not us then who, if not now then when?
 These are not published publicly but rather obtained through quarterly Freedom of Information requests to Ministry of Justice, details can be provided on request or by making FoI request to MoJ.