Caroline Flack’s premature death is an absolute tragedy and our hearts and sincerest sympathies go out to her family and friends at this incredibly distressing time.
It is deeply regrettable – though unsurprising – that some people have chosen to exploit Caroline’s death in a poisonous, irresponsible attempt to scapegoat others and undermine the vital work Fathers4Justice (F4J) do on behalf of Britain’s men and fathers.
Some are even cashing in on Caroline’s death by selling stories to the media.
Since Caroline’s passing, our mostly female team have been subject to a vile hate campaign involving abuse and threats, including death threats. Last year, supporters of one of those involved in inciting people to make threats, issued a bomb threat against F4J. All credible threats have been, and will continue to be, reported to the Police.
It goes without saying that these horrendous attacks do not represent the spirit of kindness advocated by Caroline.
Until now, F4J has chosen not to engage in media speculation about various claims, but we now feel it necessary to address some of the lurid and false allegations levelled at our campaign.
Firstly, F4J not only campaigns for fathers’ rights, but has long called for the appointment of a Minister For Men, and campaigned on issues such as the male suicide epidemic where 14 men take their own lives every day, and on ‘the last taboo’ – male domestic abuse victims.
In fact F4J deal with three to four father suicides on average every month.
We also deal with male victims of domestic abuse through our casework assisting separated dads see their children. In fact, according to the last Crime Survey for England and Wales, 1 in 3 domestic abuse victims are men, yet that figure is thought to be significantly under reported because of the taboo surrounding the issue.
On International Men’s Day last November, F4J research showed that violence against men ‘is ignored’. The story featured in the Sunday Express and on Sky News. https://www.fathers-4-justice.org/2019/11/f4j-say-violence-men-ignored-ahead-international-mens-day/
Our involvement with Caroline Flack’s arrest began after her ex-fiancee Andrew Brady, shared an Instagram picture of the Non-Disclosure Agreement he signed regarding Caroline, using the F4J hashtag #AbuseHasNoGender. The Telegraph ran a story about the issue featuring F4J here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/life/ashamed-male-victim-domestic-abuse/
We then posted a test advert on social media in December addressing the issue so we could gauge the response. We again used our hashtag #AbuseHasNoGender. The purpose of the ad was to demonstrate that women, as well as men, can be domestic abusers.
The test advert was based on detailed accounts in the media of the incident, details of the CPS prosecution, Ms Flack’s reported claim that she told police “I did it”, the fact Ms Flack was charged with “assault by beating” on 13th December, and appeared on bail at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on 23rd December. She was due on trial on 4th March 2020.
The advert was then submitted by our media agency to the Advertising Standards Authority who said it may breach the CAP code. As a result, the advert was never used. Further, the reach of our social media posts are wholly insignificant to the reach of media outlets reporting on this issue to an audience of millions.
Addressing claims by certain individuals that we ‘trolled’ Caroline Flack, we believe we posted a maximum of 10 posts over a three-month period on each of our social media channels. Most of these were reposting links to available stories in the media and we reject entirely any allegations that we behaved inappropriately.
Further at no time has F4J breached social media rules or guidelines, nor have any sanctions been taken against us.
Fathers4Justice has and will continue to give a voice to male victims of domestic abuse and campaign to break the silence and taboo surrounding this issue. Our position has not changed since 2001. It is hypocritical and quite disgraceful to lay any blame at the door of an organisation that has championed the vulnerable for nearly 20 years.
Moving forward, we have long argued for better mental health provision for those using the judicial system, including the family courts, and we call for the inquest into Caroline’s death to establish what lessons can be learned from this appalling tragedy.