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

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 14:32:35

O and to those who claim the courts are ignorant about violence, can I just point out that the Ministry of Justice site links straight to the Women's Aid site when providing the definition of violence.

So while you may have legitimate complaints that the courts don't always consistently or effectively implement what they know, to assert out and out ignorance is just wrong.

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 14:27:51

I dismiss people who are wrong and I know to be wrong. That is how I benefit from my actual knowledge and experience, not just membership of Facebook groups.

I am sorry to be crabby. But not all opinions are worth the same.

It is good that you care. I wish more people did.

But caring is sod all use when energies are misdirected.

tryingtobeabetterperson Fri 29-Mar-13 14:22:06

At least I am talking about it and caring about it Spero. And listening to everybody's experience. You dismiss anyone whose experience doesn't match with yours or who doesn't agree with you

So nothing is going to be done, whoever's fault it is, government's or the court system's, and children who should be being kept safe are not. So the courts are failing, whether they are to blame or not

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 11:11:24

The trouble is the gov probably can't do anything even if they wanted to. With essential services being cut there will be no appetite for setting up additional very expensive and labour intensive services.

I think the only hope is for volunteer agencies to try and fill the gaps, but they too are stretched to breaking point.

I accept the situation on the ground is far from perfect, but saying it is the fault of the courts or male judges with anti female agenda is just wrong and diverting useful energy away from real problem into tedious dead end of ideological posturing.

To continue with my very helpful weather analogy, its like putting the judge on the beach as the tsunami approaches and giving him a snorkel.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 29-Mar-13 00:33:44

Trying who do you think most of the main consultants on the justice for all papers were?

If not people like spero?

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 00:24:25

Rather more than you I would guess.

But carry on beating your drum if it makes you feel better.

tryingtobeabetterperson Fri 29-Mar-13 00:20:43

Why aren't the courts and judges up in arms and putting pressure on the government? They are the ones with power and clout. You work in the system, what campaigning have you done?

The Rights of Women survey and report I linked to showed massive failures on the court system in protecting abused women. The courts are not getting it right as much as they should be

Indeed. And IME, the LA's are often reluctant to provide funding for supervised contact at contact centres, even when such resources are finite. Especially if the arrangement was likely to be long term. The same with transport and/or a professional to facilitate the 'handover'. There was often a reliance on extended family members to facilitate as an interim measure, despite the potential risk factors of such an arrangement.

This means that there is a loss of momentum in contact or that women (for it is mainly women) are pushed into situations where they have to come face to face with the abusive ex partner.

I have been out of practice for almost 2.5 years, but I would imagine little has changed.

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 17:57:47

But what are the courts supposed to do when the resources aren't there? Why are you slagging off the courts instead of protesting to your MP at the complete lack of any government drive or initiative to DO something about this?

The courts can't just magic facilities out of thin air. And if they say 'no contact at all' due to lack of facilities, well there is an immediate appeal.

I do think you are taking a pop at the wrong target.

tryingtobeabetterperson Thu 28-Mar-13 16:04:46

I also hope you can access decent and safe supervised contact.

But that's just it isn't it. It shouldn't be a hope, it should be a given that where there is any risk of harm contact will be supervised. Until that happens the courts are failing in protecting children. While children are being put at risk then the courts aren't doing their job of keeping them safe

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 15:52:17

Send me 50p and I will do the risk assessment for you - he is high risk and will remain high risk unless and until he develops insight and engages in lengthy programme of therapy.

Which won't happen will it? Because these people tend to,have zero insight. T confront who they really are is such a massive painful endeavour they would rather use their energy in denying and blustering and blaming anyone but themselves.

I hope you can access some decent and safe supervised contact until your daughter is old enough to get herself out of any unpleasant situation.

there not their-oops ;)

Exactly, Spero.

My own abusive STBEX, would try and sell me a 'sanitized' version of events with regard to his abuse towards his first wife, and would always insist 'I may have had anger management issues, but I was always a good husband and father...I was there for those kids, I was hands on'.

And when I had the temerity to suggest that regular smashing up of inanimate objects and the attack on his wife which led to her finally filing divorce (they were separated at the time and he half throttled her in their study in front of the 3 children) wouldn't win him father of the year award-and may explain his eldest daughter's resentment of him-he didn't like it! (I only discovered this after we were married)

Of course, I knew nothing about the level and extent of his past behaviour before we met. Save to an admitted 'capacity for anger'. It was hard to reconcile it all with the lovely man standing before me who treated me well. I thought if I was clear about my expectations/boundaries-ie zero tolerance for violence/aggression, all would be fine. I wanted to believe that via the extensive private psychotherapy, CBT and anger management sessions, he had done a lot of emotional work and was no longer "that man". He wasn't outwardly...til I married him and had his child.

DV/extreme volatility is always a CP issue. The way a partner/couple behaves and functions in the presence of their child acts as a blueprint for their future relationships as adults. It matters not whether the abuser-physically or emotionally is a man or a woman. What matters is the risk of significant harm-both physical and psychological to any child/ren unfortunate enough to be caught up in such an environment.

It's what finally gave me the strength to tell my abusive ex that I wanted a divorce-the physical abuse was episodic, but the emotional, sexual, psychological and economic abuse was far, far, more insidious. I did not want my 2 year daughter to hear and eventually comprehend her father calling me vile sexual swear words, calling me useless and denigrating my more 'humble' background. What I didn't foresee, as I made plans for my 'exit' is that he would veer from manipulate threats to harm himself if I didn't agree to stay with him, to seriously beating me in front of, and then when I tried to flee whilst holding my child, before abducting her.

I will fight tooth and nail to prevent ANY contact until their is a robust, forensic, psychiatric risk assessment of him.

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 14:50:51

I think there are absolutes. Any parent who is violent around a child should not be having unsupervised contact until they have recognised how appalling their behaviour is and taken steps to control themselves.

You sound remarkably blasé about the appalling behaviour or your ex. I wouldn't feel comfortable allowing her around children unsupervised unless she had demonstrated some remorse and insight into why she chose to act so appallingly.

niceguy2 Thu 28-Mar-13 12:24:20

There are no absolutes.

My overall point is that there are few black & whites and it's almost always shades of grey.

Let me give you an example from my past. My ex-GF ran around the house smashing it up after getting absolutely drunk and disagreeing with me over the TC. When I tried to stop her, she attacked me causing me quite a serious injury in the process. Kids were all young and in the house at the time, all woke and were sobbing.

Does that mean she's a bad mother? Does that mean she should lose access to the children? Should courts punish her via the kids?

A bad mother? Well certainly in my opinion she's far from perfect. But bad enough to lose contact? No. Even I wouldn't venture that far.

Speak to my ex after we first split up and I was a violent man who had affairs with my first ex and my best mates wife at the same time. In actual fact not one of the things she said was true. But you can imagine the damage those accusations would have done to any potential court case.

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 10:35:50

I think nice guy was talking more about emotional fuckwits - the lazy, the selfish, the belittlers - rather than the violent.

But I think any level of mistreatment of your children's mother means you cannot claim your father of the year medal. Mothers are very important to children, so treat them well. A stressed out miserable mother will not be as emotionally available to her children as a respected and well supported mother.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 28-Mar-13 10:33:02

Domestic violence is always a child protection issue ALWAYS its never not.

A person who commits DV is a bad parent.

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 10:15:54

I a sure a man who abuses his partner could be lovely with his children, take them out, play with them etc. but that really isn't the point. If the children see or hear him mistreating their mother then he is NOT a good father.

He will be either frightening the children or giving them really warped messages about how men treat women. Good fathers don't do this.

It is so sad that in so many threads in relationships, women will last long litany of their partner's selfish and unkind behaviour towards them but then say 'but I can't leave him, he is a really good dad'. No he is not.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 28-Mar-13 09:28:12

I agree with Spero on this, a man's treatment of his partner is very much indicative of how he will treats his children.

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 09:01:52

I would agree with you, save for one point. How a man treats the mother of his children is very much part of what kind of father he is.

I profoundly disagree that any man who mistreats the children's mother can possibly be a 'good father'. And vice versa of course. Children exposed to their parents hatred and contempt for each other will be harmed, no doubt about that.

niceguy2 Wed 27-Mar-13 22:06:56

I started by writing a long reply to various points raised since my last post.

The shortened version is that often when it comes to family court proceedings when you cut through all the fluff thrown at each other from both sides. Rarely is the issue at hand about what is in the best interests of the child.

I'd bet you 9 times out of 10 the real issue is control.

Also what many (mainly women) fail to understand is that just because the dad was an emotional fuckwit to you, it doesn't mean they will be a bad father. And just because he chooses to do something different to how you would do it, it doesn't mean it's wrong.

Spero Tue 26-Mar-13 21:38:30

Thanks - its good to have a debate and I think the last few threads about this have actually been pretty good. I know its a very emotional topic if you are in the middle of it.

Thank you Tubegirl. It's good to hear from someone who has been on both sides. And, if I may, I echo your comments about Spero's posts.

Tubegirl Tue 26-Mar-13 21:27:32

Deliciousdevilwoman, I've been on both sides too. It certainly is a double edged sword but on the whole it helps to understand the system I think, for most people their case is their first experience of court and solicitors. You are familiar with the court and the various roles people play and therefore won't have the additional worry of not knowing what to expect. Unfortunately it does nothing to relieve the anxiety about your actual case. I hope it goes well.

Spero- I've enjoyed reading your posts. You have more experience than me, but I can identify with the system you describe as it matches my experience as well.

Thank you, Spero. I rather think it (my experience) will be a double edged sword.

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