The information quoted below is excerpted from the report "Family Breakdown in
Australia An attempt to get at the truth about the magnitude of the problem"
by Malcolm Mathias, president of the Lone Fathers Association of Australia Inc.
"There is a growing feeling that the loss of family can now be measured directly
in poor achievement at school, unemployment, bankruptcy, domestic violence, homelessness
"It is in the best long term interests of the children and both parents that
payments are maintained for as long as possible. Short term gain for the custodial parent
becomes long term pain for the children and the non-custodial parent in the longer term.
After only five years the financial burden becomes too great, and many
non-custodial parents are forced to look at other financial and "life"
options. Many non-custodial men are forced to live in cheap accommodation (or move
back in with often pensioner parents), are compelled to leave paid employment, forced into
bankruptcy, lose contact with their children, lose any prospect of a comfortable
retirement and a growing number ultimately commit suicide. Many innocent men do
not survive this draconian system."
The recent Men and Family Relationships conference conducted by the Federal
Attorney General in Canberra (June 9-11, 1998) suggested the need for marital counselling
before family breakdown, and recognised the "situational" nature of domestic
violence, which was non-gender specific.
Non-custodial parents are plunged into emotional turmoil following
family breakdown. Government services must be put in place to support
"non-custodial" parents. It is hoped that this type of service would
reduce the suicide rate among non-custodial men."
SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA
For some the only solution to family breakdown is suicide. The number of divorced
men choosing suicide as the means of ending their heartache, pain and suffering has
increased since the introduction of the
Child Support Scheme. This supported by
the ABS Suicides Australia 1982-1992, Pub No 3309.0.
SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA
[The callousness of society towards men is quite well reflected in the "Not
Stated" column. We don't even care enough about men who committed suicide to
determine their marital status as often as we do with women when they committed
suicide. It would make an interesting study to determine why that happened,
although, to be objective about it, it didn't happen as often anymore from 1887 on.
Did someone suddenly develop a conscience?
The following graph was constructed from the data in the preceding
See also the poster Save
"In analysing suicide by marital status i.e. whether persons were married,
divorced, widowed or never married, only the population over the age of 15 years was
included. Of the four marital status categories, divorced persons had the highest
average crude suicide rate over the period 1982-1992 with 34 deaths per 100,000 of
divorced mean population. Divorced females had a higher suicide rate than females in
any other marital status category with 18 deaths per 100,000 of the divorced female mean
population during the reference period. By comparison, divorced males had an average
crude suicide rate of 54 deaths per 100,000 of the divorced male mean population.
The highest proportion of suicide deaths for both divorced males and
females occurred in the 35-44 years age group with 32 per cent and 31 per cent of total
suicides for divorced males and females respectively.
Persons who had never married had the next highest rate of suicide for
the reference period with 21 suicides per 100,000 of the mean population. The
average crude suicide rate for males who had never married was 32 deaths per 100,000 of
the male never married mean population, while the female rate in the same category was 8
deaths per 100,000 of the female never married mean population."
"The highest proportion of suicide deaths for both males and females who had never
married occurred in the 15-24 years age group. Forty five per cent of both male and
female suicides in the never married category occurred in this age group. This age
group also represents the highest proportion of never married persons. The
proportion of the never married population in the 15-24 years age group has increased over
the reference period. In 1992 the median age for males to marry was 26.9 years while
for females the median age was 24.7 years. By comparison the 1982 median ages at
which males and females married were 24.6 and 22.4 years of age respectively.
There were 5 female suicide deaths per 100,000 of the female never
married mid-year population in the 15-24 years age group for the period 1982 to 1992,
compared with 24 male suicide deaths per 100,000 of the mid-year population in this age
group over the same period. By contrast the age-specific death rate in the 25 years
and over age group for the period was 13 female suicide deaths per 100,000 of the female
never married mid-year population and 46 male suicide deaths per 100,000 of the male never
married mid-year population.
The widowed population had an average crude suicide rate of 20 deaths
per 100,000 of the widowed mean population. The male suicide rate for this marital
status category was the highest for males in any category with 56 deaths per 100,000 of
the widowed male mean population. Widowed females recorded a suicide rate of 11
deaths per 100,000 of that mean population.
The highest proportion of suicides in the widowed category are in the
older population. Males most at risk appear to be in the 75 and over age group
which contributed 40 per cent of the total widowed male suicides. Females in the
65-74 years age group had the highest proportion (35 per cent) of widowed female
"The pain of separation (and divorce) from your partner is clearly reflected in
the suicide statistics for both widowed and divorced persons. Divorced males are
also forced to endure the pain of separation from their children (92% of men do not get
custody of their children), on top of the pain of separation from their partner. It
is therefore not surprising that divorced men suicide 3 times more frequently than
Further study of the "never married" and "married"
categories may reveal further evidence of the effects of "Family Law" and the
"Child Support Scheme."
There were 143,800 "never married" Lone Mothers with
dependent children included in the ABS Family Characteristics study (Pub No 4442.0).
If some of these pregnancies were planned by the mother to take advantage of social
welfare and child support payments, then some of the "male youth suicide
problem" may also be a "Family Law" and "Child Support"
problem. Young males suicide at a rate of 24 male deaths per 100,000 of the mid-year
population in this age group (15 -24 years), while young females suicide at a rate of 5
female deaths per 100,000 of the female never married mid-year population in this age
group. Young males suicide 4.8 times more frequently than young females.
The suicide rates for married people clearly reflect the desirability
of marriage for both males and females. When do suicides in marriage occur? Is
it the impending marriage breakdown which brings on suicide for both male and female, or
are there other factors? More research is needed.
"Further data on suicide rates for the period 1993 to 1996 are available from the
Australian Bureau of Statistics for their minimum charge of $100. Unfortunately,
voluntary organisations like the Lone Fathers Association of Australia Incorporated find
it very difficult to allocate $100 of their scarce resources to obtain the more recent,
but as yet uncompiled, data."
[The situation is much the same in Canada. There is absolute no funding for
non-custodial fathers and virtually none for parenting rights groups catering to
non-custodial parents of either sex. However, consider that the federal government
made an extra $250,000 available to "women's" rights groups to allow them to do
a study on domestic violence that could be used to demonstrate the overwhelming need for
the right of custodial mothers to have freedom of movement. That study was prepared
in time for the hearings of the Joint Senate House of Commons Committee on the Review of
Child Custody and Access. --WHS]
Many men are paying a heavy personal and family price for the
"feminist" movement. Men appear to be more loyal to their marriage vows,
and are more distraught after marriage breakdown. Many women go through a grieving
process while they are secretly planning the marriage breakdown, and it often takes men by
surprise. Women now feel more empowered to pursue a more egocentric lifestyle
without the encumbrance of the now unwanted husband. Freedom for liberated women by
their choice is one thing, rewarding them with a favourable property settlement, custody
of the children, significant Government welfare support and
child support payments is an
entirely different matter."
[However, to be a single mother and a successful parent is no easy
task. In all of this acrimony between government-sponsored, anti-family interest
groups and non-custodial parents, although they are often mentioned, the welfare of the
children is often totally ignored.
We should always keep in mind a picture of a society in which today's children will
be tomorrow's adult citizens. Father-absence hampers them in achieving their full
capabilities (we have more than enough evidence to support that) and thus on average makes
them less than fully functioning in every imaginable way.
To deprive children of their fathers (or their mothers for that matter) is to impose
a big handicap on them. That handicap will make itself felt for as long as they
live. That then means that all of society will have to bear the consequences of that
handicap, now and in the future.
The consequences are lower productivity and higher crime rates. Nobody in the
next generation will thank this one for producing so many fatherless
To be a good parent is a great responsibility and a difficult obligation. It
is hard for a set of two parents to be successful in that duty and far more difficult for
just one parent who can't possibly be successful in filling two different pairs of
boots. Not one single parent can be completely successful in filling the role of
both, mother and father.
Far too often it is that women who tried so hard to "have it all" and
therefore expelled the fathers from their thoughts, families and the lives of their
children find that they "have to do it all" and are not up to the task.
--WHS (See also The Impact of Fatherlessness on
"The current financial incentives offered by the welfare system through sole
parent pensions, combined with the "guaranteed"
child support payments, are
contributing directly to family breakdown, and consequent suicide rates."
See also: Divorced men head
suicide list in Australia
The following information is excerpted from:
THE FINANCIAL COST TO THE TAXPAYER
A review of the unemployment and welfare costs of the
Child Support Agency
A Community Awareness Project
PIR INDEPENDENT RESEARCH GROUP
[Australia] September 2004
The full PIR report (24 pages, 192 kB PDF
file) is available at
the PIR website
and at the website of Fathers for Life.
The PIR asks that the report receive wide distribution.
[Malcolm Mathias stated in 1990, in a widely ignored report, that,]
After only five years the financial
burden [of child support] becomes too great, and many non-custodial
parents are forced to look at other financial and "life" options. Many
non-custodial men are forced to live in cheap accommodation (or move
back in with often pensioner parents), are compelled to leave paid
employment, forced into bankruptcy, lose contact with their children,
lose any prospect of a comfortable retirement and a growing number
ultimately commit suicide. (p. 9)
A FURTHER SIGNIFICANT ISSUE SUICIDE/DEATH
RATES AMONG CSA CLIENTELE:
In the course of our investigation, PIR
has become aware that fathers and family law reform groups have
consistently reported over many years that relationship breakdown and
the resultant involvement of the Child Support Agency is a major
contributory factor to the suicide or death from stress related
illness of paying parents. It has been claimed that at least three
clients of the Child Support Agency suicide each day. The three a day
figure is arrived at by deducting those who are too young or too old
to be likely clients of the Agency from the overall suicide figures
and then taking 70% of the remainder in the prime divorce age range as
likely to be clients. Professor Pierre Baume from the Centre for
Suicide Prevention, Griffith University had previously found that 70%
of adult male suicides were preceded by a relationship breakdown.
Some groups claim that the mortality
rate of child support payers is likely to be higher than the suicide
figures alone suggest; with for example the divorce age group being
the only age group showing an increase in fatal car accidents and it
also being an age group with significant health issues. The CSA has
repeatedly refused to attend the inquests of child support payers,
Despite ongoing requests from a number
of quarters, the Agency itself, and the politicians responsible for
it, have consistently refused to release any data on these deaths
After the installation of a new
computer system CSA claims it is now able to supply the relevant data.
Researcher and economist
John Coochey said the CSA has reported that 6.1% of terminating cases
do so because of the death of either the payer or payee parent. This
is more than double the rate within that cohort of the general
population. Across the life of the scheme CSA calculated that 22,765
cases have terminated because of the death of a parent. Assuming the
6.1% figure is consistent since the beginning of the scheme this means
that of the 68,244 cases terminated during 2002/03, 4162 did so as a
result of the death of one of the parents. These figures are not as
precise as I would like, but there can be little doubt that the very
high death rate amongst CSA clients is due to the high suicide rate
among paying parents.
Suicide rates: Men and
Women Aged 20+
Source: ABS/Australian Institute of Health
In four yearly increments,
the rapid rise in male suicides since the introduction of the Family
Law Act in 1975 and the CSA in the late 1980s is clearly evident:
Source: ABS/Australian Institute of Health
The chart below, based on
the same data, also helps to illustrate the rapid rise in suicide
levels since the introduction of the Child Support Agency for those
aged over 20. With youth suicides static or decreasing, all this
increase has been driven by men in the divorce age bracket.
Dr Robert Kelso, a public
sector ethics consultant summed up the situation as follows:
It would appear the
senior officers of the Agency have not fully informed successive
ministers as to the keeping of records on the deaths. Clearly there
has been no public policy response to these deaths. There has been
no critical incident team to deal with the trauma to parents,
children and extended family.
There also appears to be
no policy mechanism in place to prevent the taxpayer from having to
carry the burden of cost other than the aggressive and ham-fisted
approach at making claims against the dead persons estate.
This just another
example of a refusal by the government to admit the full costs and
liabilities of operating this scheme. It has clearly never paid for
itself in an economically rational way.
Alby Schultz, MP for
This anti-male culture
is contributing to the destruction of careers, mental health
problems and it would appear to national male suicide rates. The
system is not fair, not just and certainly not equitable between men
and women. It is demonstrably wrong to have a system in place under
which in some instances a man must pay $2100 a month for his three
children plus support himself and his new partner.
As if the loss of all
things materialistic and his children was not enough he is now being
prevented from embarking on a new life because of these unrealistic
expectations from the Child Support Agency, Mr Schultz said. The
CSA must be dismantled and reconstructed. The system as it is being
administered is not fair, it is unjust and it is inequitable.
It is obvious there is
discrimination and a mindset against men, to the point where it is
The full PIR report (24
pages, 192 kB PDF file) from which the preceding quotes were taken is
the PIR website
and at the website of Fathers for
Life. The PIR asks that the report receive wide distribution.