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CM threatened to take me to court! Any help?

(128 Posts)
kbjin Sat 31-Dec-11 03:22:24

Hi, I am just after some help and advice on how to deal with this issue.

We used a local CM in Nov this year, who lived just across the road from us which we thought was really handy at the time.

3 weeks into the contract, one day my son (3 yrs old) returned home and after the dinner he complained about pain on his bottom. I later found out from him that he was smacked by the CM. There were red marks (similar to 4 fingers shape) on his bottom, I took photos and video of him as evidence. Spoke to the CM the next day and had a meeting with her at my place, but she denied everything happened to my son. I also reported to Ofsted on the same day as advised by my son's nursery.

Ofsted responded very rapidly and as a result the CM's registration was suspended for 3 weeks during the investigation. S/Service and Police were also involved but they said they couldn't not established any evidence and place any charge on her because they couldn't interview my son due to his age. Police said the child needed to be at least 4 before they could interview the child.

Becuase of the lack of evidence through the police and s/service, now Ofsted didn't do anything but sent us a letter notifying us of the outcome which was what we were expecting anyway.

The CM just dropped off a letter last evening blackmailing us to pay her money for her loss of income, stresss and all the problems caused by the allegation we made against her during the 3 weeks' investigation conducted by various officials. She demanded £5000 plus the 4 weeks notice and said in the letter if we don't pay her the amount, she would take us to court.

Can she claim that much against us esp. for her loss of income and stress etc? I thought as parents, it's our duty protect our child from being mistreated by CMs, and the proper way to resolve the matter is to report it to Ofsted. Whatever action or investigation they were susposed to do was completely out of our control and why should we be responsible for the 3 weeks taken by Ofsted to complete the investigation?

The other thing about the contract is that it's a NCMA standard contract, on page 4 usually there is a notice period. But we couldn't recall we have agreed on the 4 weeks notice, all we agreed was the 4 weeks holiday notice. Also, later we noticed we were not given page 4 so we couldn't check what's written on it. After the incident we asked her to give us back the page 4 of the contract but she didn't. Instead, she exchanged the carbon copy (all 4 pages) with our 3 original pages. We carefully examined the carbon copy and notice there was nothing written on the notice period, it's blank.

Any advice would be highly appreciated!

south345 Sat 31-Dec-11 03:47:35

If your contract doesn't say anything then she can't stick to the 4 weeks surely? That's why it must be in the contract or she has nothing to prove this.

did ofsted give her an action re the smacking or didn't they do anything?! I would be tempted to say go ahead and take me to court With the evidence you've got as you were perfectly within your rights to go to ofsted etc.

lesstalkmoreaction Sat 31-Dec-11 16:54:35

Ask her to put it in writing from a solicitor, call her bluff as to claim that amount it would have to go to a full court hearing at huge expence and presumably have the backing of ncma.

kbjin Sat 31-Dec-11 17:33:50

Ofsted said they couldn't find any breaches of the guideline or legislation simply because the police and social service couldn't establish she did anything wrong as they couldn't interview my son due to his age.

I deeply believe my son wouldn't simply lie about the incident as he mentioned 3 times within the same hour with a mention of the CM's name and what happened to him, even showed us how he was smacked.

Ofsted now resumed her registration and I think that's why she is now try to take the advance of being cleared by Ofsted and make some money off us!
I believe she must have insurance cover with NCMA and solicitor's fee paid by the cover.

I got the feeling the police and s/service may be on her side as the CM cleverly got some reference from other parents to support her and showed them to the police and s/services.

JustHecate Sat 31-Dec-11 17:38:13

I think you should get some legal advice but my (non legal) view is to tell her to take you to court. You acted in good faith and not maliciously and you truly believed (and still do!) that she hit your son. I think that to win a case against you, doesn't she have to prove that what you did you did knowing it was false?

I am not a lawyer.

dmo Sat 31-Dec-11 19:29:43

write to her thanking her for the letter and tell her its been forwarded to your legal rep and that from now on any contacts should be made to them.

dmo Sat 31-Dec-11 19:30:15

btw she is bluffing you she cant ask for ££ for lost of earnings from you

springboksaplenty Sat 31-Dec-11 19:46:57

Tell her to take you to court. I'd rather eat coal than give some harridan who hit my child a single penny. If she calls your bluff you'll end up in small claims court where I cannot imagine a judge would rule in her favour otherwise he would send the message that as parents you should be cautious about reporting abuse in case the police can't build a case (which sadly happens a lot).

HSMM Sun 01-Jan-12 01:11:03

Definitely get legal advice, as she may be suggesting that you made a malicious complaint, resulting in her loss of earnings!

kbjin Sun 01-Jan-12 04:40:28

thank you for everybody's support. I am definitely going to seek legal advice this coming week.
i totally agreed with springboksaplenty and will not fall out a single penny.
if she tries to prove my complaint is malicious, i a not gaining anything from it. i wasn't even trying to use this to break the contract early, as i already paid for the 4 weeks in Nov and only used her service for 3 weeks. I had also arranged the childcare voucher to start from Jan 2012 as soon as we signed the contract.
i just felt she is being greedy!

HavePatience Sun 01-Jan-12 21:54:41

I am stunned that a cm was cleared of smacking a child simply because e was too young to interview. You have photo and video. What evidence could they possibly find at her home? This is terrifying. What about babies in her care who can't report back?
We use a Cm and love her, so I'm not cm bashing at all, just shocked at what they can get away with for under 4s!! How would they ever be able prove abuse? I am horrified.

LynetteScavo Sun 01-Jan-12 22:07:28

Hmm... just because there is evidence of a smack, doesn't mean the CM did it though, as far as the police are concerned.

She sounds like an absolute loon. I imagine any innocent person would just be relived she was exonerated.

I think if it went to court it would cost you a fair bit in solicitors fees, but less than she is demanding, and she would be highly unlikely to get a penny out of you.

Legal advice is the way to go.

HavePatience Sun 01-Jan-12 22:17:36

Lynnette that's exactly my point. There could never be enough evidence to convict cm of smacking an under 4, then. sad this cm is dangerous, if he's actually done it.

kbjin Mon 02-Jan-12 00:55:22

I am planning to obtain all information on file from the police, ofsted and social services, through freedom of information act like the other parent did, so I can at least see the cm said during her interview with them.
I knew she could have counter blame us the parent for doing it, to the police and social services.
Like HavePatient said cases like children under 4'S are likely to be dismissed? If they can't be interviewed.
Definitely seek legal advice and take it from there.
I found it totally unreasonable for her to claim loss and damages due to this complaint and subsequent investigation by ofsted.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 02-Jan-12 01:04:15

Was the letter from CM or her solicitor?

giraffesCanGoFirstFootingOnNYE Mon 02-Jan-12 01:22:29

bloody hell how stressful

kbjin Mon 02-Jan-12 01:33:10

DioneTheDiabolist, the letter was from the cm, unprofessionally written.
Bluffing me and said it will be costly for me to go to court she gave me the option to pay her £5k to settle the case.
Also not sure if she did it deliberately or not, she put down her house number as 56 instead of 84, and letter was unsigned and hand delivered by her sister.

sashh Mon 02-Jan-12 05:37:41

In theory yes she can - it would be the small claims court. It will cost her about £100 to file the paperwork.

You then get a chance to defend - you just say that your child suffered physical abuse whilst in her care. You can then put in a counter claim for damages for your child, emotional distress during the investigation, having to find alternative childcare etc.

If you cannot come to agreement she can then take you to court - it is very informal and the onus is on her to prove the loss. Youy turn up with your photographs, a letter from the police stating why they could not interview your child.

But that is not likley to happen.

She will probably follow this with a second letter / call and at that point you can involve the police, because two contacts count as harassement. She is harassing you for reporting a crime.

LynetteScavo Mon 02-Jan-12 11:40:57

I would be so bloody angry I would be quite prepared for it to go through the courts whatever the cost.

Do you think though she even knows about the letter, as it was delivered by her sister, unsigned, with the wrong house number? Could her sister have taken it upon herself to do this? Just a thought.

purits Mon 02-Jan-12 12:01:07

Definitely get legal advice.
You do hear of cases where the Police don't prosecute but the case is taken up by the victim instead and they then win (?due to different levels of evidence required?) Ask about that - to scare her off if nothing else.

chubbasmum Mon 02-Jan-12 15:56:52

let her take you to court and she will end up paying for the court costs if she even dares and make sure any communication between the two of you, you keep and any indimidation take her stupid arse to the police , i had the same problem with my CM she sort legal advice i think she was told she had no case and she backed off,

kbjin Mon 02-Jan-12 15:59:10

LynetteScavo, I am not sure if her sister might have done it on behalf of her, but just couldn't figure why they used a different address.
We are getting very angry with person as she was trying to make ridiculous demand after each phase of the complaint, thinking she is now cleared by ofsted and police etc and she can bluff people off.
I am yet to find out from Social Service what their inspection outcome was, as I still haven't heard from them since they came.

IJustWannaBeMe Mon 02-Jan-12 16:08:34

She isn't just claiming what she thinks YOU owe, but damages for other loss of earnings, so she can't take it to small claims. Not sure what her cause of action would be. Definitely get legal advice, and don't do anything else until you have. Check your own house contents insurance for legal cover too. CAB might be of use to you too - check online and the helpline number if it's operational in your area (not sure it's national yet?).

Rollergirl1 Mon 02-Jan-12 16:31:30

Have the Police/Ofsted seen her letter stating that you should pay her £5000? I agree with what someone else said, if she was innocent and this was all just a mistake then she would be happy just to be cleared. She sounds like a money-grabbing piece of work. Don't let her bully you. Tell her to go ahead and take you to court and see how quickly she drops it. You haven't done anything wrong. She on the other hand most probably has.

kbjin Mon 02-Jan-12 16:49:51

Rollergirl1, police and ofsted have seen the letter yet as her sister only dropped off the letter last Friday, but thanks for reminding me and I think I should forward the letter to them for their records.

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