News and Commentary

Domestic Violence Due Process False Allegations Law & Justice Legal

Families in Bermuda Are Being Harmed by the UN’s Domestic Violence Policies

Sharing is caring!

Families in Bermuda Are Being Harmed by the UN’s Domestic Violence Policies

Edward M. Tavares

Co-founder, ChildWatch Bermuda

Bermuda is part of United Kingdom’s commonwealth as an overseas dependent territory. We are sharing our concerns about the status of shared parenting and domestic violence policies.

Shared Parenting

According to Bermuda’s last statistical family type release in May 31, 2006, 85% of custody of children post-divorce and separation was held by women. How can 85% of fathers be relegated to visitor status by the courts because their marriage failed? Most studies show these divorce decisions are made unilaterally by women.

Continuous violation exists with respect to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, which states in Article 9:

  1. Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, and that
  2. Such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately, and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence.
  3. Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.

However, fathers have been relegated to visitor status for decades in regard to custody of their children after divorce or separation by the courts, most times without any investigations or due process. This can cause violations of the European Human Rights, Article 8 of the Convention– Right to respect for private and family life:

“Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

One father went to court for 28 years trying to obtain custody and to defend his parental rights. Meanwhile, he lost his house, bank accounts, etc., while having to obtain 14 lawyers and achieving little remedy in the court. This abuse of the law constitutes as legal administrative abuse and coercive control, requiring that the father must conform and comply with their demands.

The biases of the Courts and family Counsellors, Department of Child and Family Services, apparently see only mothers as viable caregivers. These injustices are usually compounded by many local organizations with the power of the Bermuda Police Services, while threatening and harassing letters are sent out without any investigations to many fathers to order them to conform to the demands which often are contrary to Court orders in place. We believe that these letters are just to gain higher status and finances, within society, and garner sympathy from politicians/legislators.

Prior to 2002 we had six men paying support for a child that was not theirs. We at ChildWatch advocated for legal changes as unwed fathers were not able to take proceedings against mothers, nor were allowed DNA testing for paternity fraud, according to “The Affiliation Act, 1976.”  One father found out that he wasn’t the father 17 years later, and a few others learned the truth 14 years later.

In 2006, one accused father was denied DNA testing even after it was implemented into law in 2002. The Judge refused DNA testing on the false claim of the mother that he was the father. After three years having gone to prison as ordered by the court, we lobbied to have him tested. Eventually this father was granted permission, and the results revealed that he was not the biological father. This ruined his life, having lost his job, and was considered unemployable, and unacceptable to society.

Many fathers suffer from not only losing their children, but also losing their homes and finances in the struggle for their children’s benefit.  Following a divorce, a parent may engage in behaviors that serve to alienate the child from the other parent. In an attempt to cover up the alienating behavior, the alienating parent may then falsely accuse the target parent of child abuse.

Bermuda’s prison inmates come largely from fatherless homes.  Poor education attainment, and dropping out, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, alcohol, behavioral problems, gang culture, and deaths by murder are more customary to male victims who come mostly from fatherless homes.

Policies of the United Nations 

The World Health Organization reports that men are far more likely to die of violence-related causes than women, for the following age groups (death rates 100,00 population):

• 5-14 years: Male: 1.7; Female: 1.0

• 15-24 years: Male: 57.7; Female: 8.1

• 25-34 years: Male: 92.3; Female: 10.3

• 35-54 years: Male: 70.6; Female: 6.5

• 55-74 years: Male: 29.5; Female: 3.3

Overall, the WHO reveals that men are eight times more likely than women to die of violence-related causes.

The UN report, “A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths”, similarly concluded, “Globally, men and boys accounted for 84 per cent of the people who died violently in 2010–15.” Clearly, violence against men represents a greater problem than violence against women.

Regarding domestic violence, a compilation of 343 scholarly investigations concluded that “women are as physically aggressive as men (or more) in their relationships with their spouses or opposite-sex partners.” These studies were conducted on a broad range of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups in 40 different countries.

ChildWatch Bermuda has great concerns regarding the UN Women’s position paper to “Eliminate Domestic Violence Against Women and Girls.” Our concern is that there is no mention of the “Elimination of Domestic Violence Against Men and Boys” included. Studies show that men suffer equally as women from domestic violence.

An analysis of Resolution A/77/302: Intensification of Efforts to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls by the Domestic Abuse and Violence International Alliance on October 17, 2022 reveals substantial bias against male victims.

Domestic Violence During the COVID Pandemic

On March 23, 2020 the U.S.-based National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence issued an alert with this startling claim: “Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are facing extreme danger and risk.” Likewise, UN Women declared a “shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls” which would result from lockdowns across the world.

These alerts did not provide any evidence to support their claims. Subsequently, a wave of media accounts predicted an imminent “spike” and “spurt” of abuse, often featuring heart-rending — but unsubstantiated — anecdotes.

But the predicted catastrophe never happened. Numerous independent analyses of hotline calls, police calls for service, and crime statistics, both in the United States and abroad, concluded that overall, there was no increase in domestic violence or sexual assault, and some locales saw a decrease.

The U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline reports on the number of answered calls, chats, and texts received each year since 1996. The graph from the most recent report reveals the number of answered inquiries in 2020 was 363,000, which is the same number as in 2018. Clearly, there was no “spike” or “surge” in the number of abuse calls during the COVID pandemic.

Imposed Separation Communication breakdowns are inherent in human relationships. In years past, police officers encouraged the parties to temporarily separate and make amends. But now, any marital tiff can be considered to be domestic “abuse.” Today, we have instituted mandatory-arrest laws, even when short-term separation and counseling for the parties would be the more appropriate measure.


These are just a few examples of the many injustices seen in Bermuda. We would like to thank you for taking the time to review and consider our concerns. Hopefully, we can reach a viable solution against domestic abuse for men and women, including boys and girls.

In addition, I will be happy to set up a telephone call to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for your attention to this matter of importance.