to think family courts are a flaming joke!

(209 Posts)
tryingtobeabetterperson Mon 25-Mar-13 17:52:33

I have read so many posts on here, groups on FB and other forums of desperate women who have left abusive partners to protect their children just for the courts to award contact and the abuse continues because unless it becomes physical the courts seem loathe to make contact supervised.

I know all about children needing fathers but even abusive ones that will hurt them or screw them up emotionally??

/rant

MrsBW Mon 25-Mar-13 20:04:37

Spero

Hallelujah.

You balance harm. On occasion, mistakes are made. It's not a perfect system.

Not rocket science, is it?

Spero Mon 25-Mar-13 20:06:21

I think I have been spending the last four years saying exactly that, but not as economically.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:06:56

The judges and CRAPCASS have already decided before you step in the court contact will be awared

The only thing anyone is there is discusss is how much and what type any one who thinks any diffrent is kidding themsleves i have worked with ss with looked after children i have seen sw having to drag chikdren from foster carers homes and budle them into the car to go to see a parent who abused them and they will still recommend contact contiune

I have seen parents who only come to see there child if ss pay them
They still agrue conatct

I have been in court to testify to a parent who had already missed 30 visits still yet more contact was awared

tryingtobeabetterperson Mon 25-Mar-13 20:08:40

and it's about to get a whole lot less perfect...

And I get the point about balancing harm, but it's not balanced enough. So many things are overlooked and so much harm is caused by being so pro contact when the NRP is abusive

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:09:49

Spero with what money would my sister appealed it cost her 5k to get to the point were the judge was awarding contact.

Spero Mon 25-Mar-13 20:10:04

That is just not true. I have had many cases where all contact was refused after a fact finding when the perpetrator refused to accept findings.

Loads and loads of cases where no contact is ordered because older children refuse - and sadly for a small minority they have been brainwashed by a vindictive resident parent.

Spero Mon 25-Mar-13 20:13:26

You don't have to pay a lawyer to appeal. Do it yourself or contact Bar Pro Bono Unit. Some universities such as Bristol offer help from law students. Go to CAB or Law centre. The only cost should be issuing the appeal, a few hundred I think. It won't be a complicated issue of law, you are saying some one violent is being allowed unsupervised contact.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:14:12

I remeber baby ps mother when she went to jail she was pregant and ss were arguing for her to keep the baby in jail for conact purposes, however the police stepped in petitioned the court and the prision and they saw maddness but only for the police thos happend the carzy ss were still arguing contact and bonding confused

Spero Mon 25-Mar-13 20:18:32

As a veteran of many social services baby snatchers threads, when anyone suggests children should be removed from clearly inadequate parents there is often a howl of protest about that. Damned if you do and all that.

Baby Ps mother clearly fitted definition of woman emotionally abused by psychopathic male partner.

God knows what horrors those two men endured as children to make them the men they grew up to be.

Nothing is ever simple. But the state clearly has an obligation and a need to intervene to protect children. It is just a pity that so much weight is put on the family courts to deal with emotionally abusive and toxic relationships. The courts are not the best arenas to deal with these issues, I fully accept that.

tryingtobeabetterperson Mon 25-Mar-13 20:22:08

so where is Spero? Where is the best place?

I agree with you about educating people not to get into toxic relationships, prevention being better than cure and all that, but what happens to those who do get into those relationships, how do you protect their children and stop the cycle?

Because the children being abused today will grow up into abusers of the future, isn't that another reason to take emotional abuse as seriously as other forms of abuse?

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:22:20

Spero Loads and loads of cases where no contact is ordered because older children refuse - and sadly for a small minority they have been brainwashed by a vindictive resident parent.

*yes older chidren who can tell there parent to f off but what about smaller children

There are mothers who have staments from the school , the gp ect and its all ignored and contact is granted the issue here is this is not child centred if before you even stepped in the court its already decied that contact will happen its just about how little or how much the judge will grant*

Can you imagain in any other type of trial /court the judge already decieing the out come regardless of the facts with the only deviation being older children and when i say older children even 10,11 year olds still dont have there views taken into account

WhatsTheBuzz Mon 25-Mar-13 20:23:06

my
dd, then about 2yo, would become extremely distressed upon being
dropped off with her dad - screaming, crying and digging her nails into
my neck, trying to hang on. SS and the Court were aware as he told his
solicitor it was my fault. It didn't fucking matter to them though!

tryingtobeabetterperson Mon 25-Mar-13 20:25:31

There are mothers who have staments from the school , the gp ect and its all ignored and contact is granted the issue here is this is not child centred if before you even stepped in the court its already decied that contact will happen its just about how little or how much the judge will grant

Can you imagain in any other type of trial /court the judge already decieing the out come regardless of the facts with the only deviation being older children and when i say older children even 10,11 year olds still dont have there views taken into account

^ agree with all of this

MrsBW Mon 25-Mar-13 20:28:31

tryingtobeabetterperson - how would you implement a full proof system?

What about the women who cry foul due to some perceived slight that they've suffered during a relationship break up?

Where is the line even drawn as to where damage done to a child with contact outweighs damage done through not having a relationship with that parent?

How would you fix it?

WhatsTheBuzz Mon 25-Mar-13 20:28:36

as do I.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:29:27

Spero i do agree eduaction but i think you cant always pre emt who will be vendictive ect

And i have sadly found as i currnly am many men have no desire to see there children they simply want to dragg there exs through the courts

My sisters ex who got 2 days per fortnight*what i didnt tell you was since he won his case we have not seen or heard from him worse still my sister lawer has told her at any point he could pop back up take her back to court and she wont even be able to talk about before because it will be historical ffs

WhatsTheBuzz Mon 25-Mar-13 20:32:15

how's
about a cafcass officer without an agenda who actually has enough time
to do their job properly. Mine failed to read crucial psychiatric
assessment on xp before final hearing. Bit of a humiliating shock for
her.

WestieMamma Mon 25-Mar-13 20:32:35

My violent ex husband said he wanted unsupervised contact, whereas really he wanted access to me. I said he could have supervised contact, as much as he liked, at a contact centre so that both my daughter and I were safe. He ended up with nothing and a promise from the judge that if he came anywhere near us again, he'd be jailed. In my case the system worked well and saw through all the lies and manipulations.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:38:15

MrsBW they can look at the edvidence as they do in every other type of court

If a mother has staments from the school about the childs behaviour during the monday following the ddrop off , if the child dose not want to go (some desprate mother have turned to filming the drop offs of there chidren pleading with them not to take them)

Also people can change but this issue of dad poping up after 5,6,7 years and demanding conatct has to stop why do they not have to prove where the frigg they have been i myslef have had a ex pop up after 10 years yes 10 years i couldnt even tell you what he looks like now and what he should just expect contact

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 20:40:23

And also people do know CRAPCASS officer are directed to facilitate contact were ever possible

babyhammock Mon 25-Mar-13 20:49:19

Courts are supposed to follow Sturge and Glaser (to anyone not familiar, its a really excellent report giving both sides of the argument)

They are very clear that the balance of harm is against contact when the abusive parent shows no remorse and/or an inability to put the child first. No brainer really.

Also when there has been abuse and the child has little relationship with the abusive parent, that the abusive parent should show why contact should even be considered.

This simply isn't happening. Indirect contact is very rarely ordered.

Most abusers do not change, aren't sorry and are completely incapable of putting their children first...yet they are getting unsupervised contact (supervised being seen by most courts as a temporary solution) and causing considerable harm.

One barrister told me (I had several) that the only case he'd ever seen where the abusive parent didn't get direct contact was where the 'parent' was deliberately giving a child with a severe nut allergy nuts during contact.
Another said he represented a man who shot and killed his wife in front of their children and they were forced to have contact with him in prison.
Another that the only way I'd be able to protect DS is if my ex stopped pursuing us.
That was in Reading county court btw.

Spero Mon 25-Mar-13 20:52:52

I completely agree we need to take all forms of abuse seriously. It has life long consequences for this who are victims of it.

But to ask the court to be the arena where toxic relationships are unpicked is never going to work. The court has to act on evidence, things that can be proved on the valance of probabilities. There is a legal presumption that contact is usually - not always - in the best interests of children.

The issue must be how do we stop people having children with violent or abusive people. How do we help them out of these relationships. The court can't do that.

Education needs to start early. Women need to know they have more choices than being with someone who hurts them, on whatever level. Sadly, for a lot of my female clients it is a question of any man being better than no man. They enter into relationships with violent men, leave them, go back to them or find someone just as bad.

I think we are trying to deal with the problem at the wrong end. The courts can only apply existing law and make findings on the balance of probabilities.

Spero Mon 25-Mar-13 20:55:26

Baby hammock - all I can say is that I have worked in London, Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Watford, Exeter, Taunton, Slough etc and have had many cases over 10 years of indirect or no contact being ordered.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:00:37

babyhammock i totally agree

Tubegirl Mon 25-Mar-13 21:12:24

Spero my experience is similar to yours. I have worked in Dorset and London. The problem is such a complicated one that I don't think it can be classified as the family courts being a joke. Resources are a very large part of the problem in that the system would function more effectively with more court time available, continuity of judges, more CAFCASS officers etc.

Contact centres are a wonderful idea but there are so few of them and they are so limited in what they can provide. They are also charitable organisations. Bearing in mind they are relied upon so heavily there really ought to be state funding for them.

Spero raises an excellent point in that the family court is really not the appropriate arena in many cases.

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