International Women’s Day 2023 – 6 years of family court pickets

Today on International Women’s Day, 8 March, Support Not Separation celebrate six years of protesting outside the central Family Court in London. Watch the video of our first picket, on 8 March 2017.

On the first Wednesday of every month we are outside the court, speaking out about the trauma the court imposes every day on mothers and children who are brutally separated: children forced to have contact with or live with violent fathers, put into foster care or forcibly adopted not as a result of any harm caused by their mothers but as a result of sexism, racism, class bias and disability discrimination which pervades the court process. By exposing what goes on behind the closed doors of family court, our monthly protests have helped build the movement to end family court secrecy and to open the courts, to expose the trauma of forced adoptions, of children abused and neglected by the “corporate parent” and the private companies who are profiteering from a massive child protection/fostering and adoption industry.

But there’s a lot more to do to stop the brutal and arbitrary separations of mothers and children, so please join us on the first Wednesday each month at 12.30-1.30pm #OpenTheCourts #TakeAwayOurPovertyNotOurChildren

The Independent Wednesday 08 March 2017

Protesters have gathered in London to call on family courts to curb the numbers of children taken into care against the wishes of mothers.

Men and women swept the pavement outside London’s Central Family Court in Holborn on March 8th to chants of “women need children, children need mothers.” They used brooms to symbolically ‘sweep away corruption.’

“We’re protesting against the separation of children from their mothers,” Anne Neale, one of the organisers behind the event, told The Independent.

The number of children in care in the UK is at an all-time high, with numbers last year surpassing 70,000.

According to Neale, the courts are downplaying the importance of mother-child relationships. As a result, courts are placing many children in care rather than providing the resources that could enable families to stay together.

Groups representing women with disabilities, asylum seekers and sexual assault victims were present.

Betty Tita, of the All African Women’s Group, spoke of how some mothers in her network have avoided reporting abuse for fear of their children being taken into care.

“We are here today because some of our mothers have lost their children,” she said. “That breaks the hearts of the women struggling with justice.”

Women with disabilities are also at risk of separation from their children, according to Claire Glasman, a member of disability support group WinVisible.

“There’s a lot of talk about the social care crisis,” she said. “Another aspect of that is when disabled mothers go to social services for help, they get threatened with fostering.”

“We work with women every day who are going through horrendous, needless suffering which is all avoidable if we had the resources.”