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Home > Child Custody & Divorce > Item

I Want to See My Dad!

These events were recorded on April 13 by the employee of a British Columbia centre where children undergo weekly supervised visitation with their "abuser."

For the fourth weekend in a row, a group of protestors has gathered outside the Burnaby Family Life Institute Supervised Access Program, carrying signs, and approaching clients to sign a petition.

The number of protestors and the scope of their activities intensifies each week. On April 13th, clients and children were visibly upset by the demonstrators. Staff are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct "business as usual," be calm and reassuring to clients with protestors increasing visibility and interference.

Staff reported that 6 men (including Rene Lambert and Don Williams), 4 women (including Mr. Lambert's mother) and at least 4 children were part of the demonstration. Children's ages are estimated at Girls: 12 & 8, Boys: 9 & 5. Children were seen carrying placards and taking pictures. Mr. Lambert, the father who abducted his daughter from the centre March 5, 1995, has been seen each week.

The number and size of signs increases each week, with staff reporting new signs measuring 6 ft. x 4 ft. that look like they have been made professionally. A motorhome is used to display a large sign to passing motorists; there are several hand-held signs and at least 3 signs attached to chairs. One of the largest signs was placed in front of the store at the north/west corner of Willingdon & Albert Streets. The parking spots out front of the building have been taken over by the demonstrators. The protestors parked their cars as well as a brown min-van in front of the centre.

Some of the signs read:
     "Dads Not Permitted"
     "Men Have Rights Too"
     "What About Children's Rights?"
     "Fathers Falsely Accused"
     "Children Held Hostage"
     "Divorcing Children = Children In Crisis"
     "Burnaby Family Life Abuses Children"
     "Close Down Burnaby Family Life"
     "Sex Abuse OK by Joy McPhail"

Staff were most distressed to see that a young girl was carrying one of the signs.

The protestors were seen taking a lot of pictures from all angles -- pictures of the centre, of the demonstrators, of the signs, and of the crowd from across the street. The protestors use cellular telephones and are well organized. They were all set up by 11:45 a.m. Staff are concerned that protestors taking pictures will deter women from using the service.

One grandmother, who drops off her grandaughter each week for a supervised visit, reported that Mr. Lambert approached her, tried to engage her in the protest, and seemed pleased to tell her that he had abducted his daughter from the centre last year. When the two men saw our staff person, they turned around and went back to the other protestors.

One mother told staff that one of the protestors had gone to her home in the past.

One 5 year old girl, after reading the signs, told a staff person "I want to see my Dad." She said she was afraid she wouldn't be able to see her Dad anymore. She asked the staff person to close the blinds. Both mother and daughter were distressed by the demonstrators.

Another child, who had been coming to the centre for several months, was quiet and unresponsive; usually she is open and responsive to staff.

The staff saw a police car drive by, but it didn't stop. We need to meet with police to enlist their support. When the police were called "Week 1," we were told there was nothing they could do to help us because the protestors weren't breaking any laws.

The situation has escalated to interference and harassment of clients and staff. It's increasingly difficult for staff to remain polite and friendly and not get drawn in by the increasing number of questions they're being asked. It's impossible to reassure clients when Mr. Lambert is telling them that he's already abducted his child from our centre.

Courtesy of Fathers' Manifesto.

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