Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Cafcass

(34 Posts)
DaddyOO Wed 22-Feb-12 15:45:02

My wife has a daughter who has lied to Cafcass and told them that me and my wife both physically abused her. All so she could live with her dad. Cafcass believed her and said we should have a record with social services and that her daughter should live with her dad. There was a lot of background behind the case regarding the father abusing my wife and him teaching his daughter to disrespect her mother, i.e. throw things at her, scream at her, call her a bitch etc etc but Cafcass didn?t see this as being an issue. This has been the most traumatic thing anyone can go through being falsely accused by a government body of child abuse. Especially seeing as my wife is an angel and has a heart of gold and always puts everyone before her self. I studied for 10 years to become a chartered engineer and give advice in my field, it seems that when it comes to children you can train for 3 weeks and become an expert. The whole system is a complete failure and should be scrapped as soon as possible. Only professional child psychologists should be allowed to interview children and decide whether what they say is true or not.
I was wondering if anyone had any similar experiences??

cestlavielife Wed 22-Feb-12 16:11:26

how old is the daughter ?
what evidence were you able to put to judge to counter this?

DaddyOO Wed 22-Feb-12 16:19:56

13, we couldn't afford a solicitor so I compilied a 13 page report that addressed each item of the Cafcass wishes and feelings report. Our report didnt even make it to the judge even though we sent it in two weeks before the hearing. Luckily we said this to the lady who was sending people into court, so she went and put a copy infront of the judge and he read it before we went in. It seemed to help because he said to Cafcass during the hearing "you know my thoughts on these reports", meaning the wishes and feelings report...

cestlavielife Wed 22-Feb-12 19:22:57

So what did court decide ?

STIDW Wed 22-Feb-12 20:08:19

There is no set format to CAFCASS reports. Often there are misunderstanding because a section of the report documents what the officer was told by both parents and the child. No assumption is made of whether or not what was said is true. CAFCASS conclusions and recommendations are reviewed by a judge so if the reporter makes an error of fact or law the place to challenge it is in the courts. In most cases the judge does not require a psychologist or psychiatrist to assist in making a decision.

At thirteen years of age the daughters views will carry significant weight and the probability of a court ordering a teenager to live or have contact with someone they don't want to is somewhat rare because it encourages unwanted behaviour such as running away.

Allegations and counter allegations of abuse are quite common and if deemed necessary a judge will hold a finding of fact hearing which helps to establish the extent to which a child's fear and anxiety is realistic. When there is no reasonable explanation for a child's hostility towards a parent a psychologist or psychiatrist maybe appointed to carry out a report and make recommendations.
If your wife has no legal representation it would be worth consulting a family solicitor to find out where she stands and what options are open to her.

DaddyOO Thu 23-Feb-12 09:26:07

STIDW you make it all sound so easy, where reality is it far from that. Have you been to court and faced the possibility of losing your child? Regarding your statement where you say Cafcass makes no assumption of whether or not what is said is true. In this case they said they had no reason to believe my wife’s daughter was lying, in my eyes that implies they think we are guilty. Which is disgraceful as they do not have one ounce of evidence. Regarding getting a solicitor we cannot afford one and are not eligible for legal aid.

Cestlavielife, it is still in court. It has been going on six months now. The Guardian solicitor has adjourned twice. There is no evidence for any of my wife’s daughter’s allegations other than an anonymous phone call to welfare services. This was more than likely done by the father.

The funny thing regarding this case is that the father took my wife to court 2 years ago for shared residency based on a false abuse accusation against me. In that case he said the incident happened in 2008. In this case he stated that the same incident happened in 2010. This shows that everything is complete fabrication and Cafcass should have seen this. But because of there incompetence they didn’t...

olgaga Fri 24-Feb-12 13:15:28

In this case they said they had no reason to believe my wife’s daughter was lying, in my eyes that implies they think we are guilty.

In your eyes maybe, but it doesn't actually imply that at all. Saying they have no reason to believe she was lying is different from saying they believe all of it is true. The fact is, your wife's daughter is 13, not 3. The court may well have decided it was simply unreasonable to force her, at that age, to live with your wife and you when she clearly doesn't want to.

Quite why you felt pursuing this through the court was the right thing to do I don't know - but your wife should have been making efforts to reconcile with her, not forcing her through a process which has probably alienated her further.

HattiFattner Fri 24-Feb-12 13:25:49

If the 13 year old wants to live with her dad....so be it. Make sure there is regular access rota and stick to it.

The 13yo will soon see the reality of living with dad vs visiting disney dad are not the same. He will be the one nagging about homework, not letting her see her friends, fetching her here there and everywhere and carrying the responsibility for uniform, shoes, food, phone, pocket money.....

Your wife on the other hand can be the one that spoils her, listens to her, spends quality time with her - albeit shorter times.

Its not ideal, but its what the 13yo wants right now. Let her experience that life, and then, when she is more mature, she may come back. For now, you have to go with the flow.

olgaga Fri 24-Feb-12 13:31:31

The 13yo will soon see the reality of living with dad vs visiting disney dad are not the same.

I agree - and that's what makes it so important that your wife stops pursuing and starts reconciling.

kittycat68 Fri 24-Feb-12 20:59:04

i am going through exactly the same issue only my ds is 12. i really do simpervise its breaking my heart and your wife also ill bet. i think alot of its hormones and other children at school getting lots of stuff from there divorced parents and they think the grass is greener on the other side. We want to protect and love our children but CAFCASS seem to follow the rule of get the child to want to see the ather and it will all go away from the court arena. its the children that suffer. in my case it was because i wouldnt let her have a day off school and take her shopping!! it doesnt seem to matter that she spent three years saying she was affraid of her father! and refused all contact.my thoughts are with you at this time op.

olgaga Fri 24-Feb-12 22:20:36

No-one is saying it's easy - but it's a damn sight more difficult for the children. My sympathies are with them - however confused and hurtful their behaviour is, it's a result of their circumstances and parents in these situations often need to step back and just be there.

It's not about you, it's about them. It may take a while, but they will find their way back to you if you can keep an open mind, and stop judging them, deciding what's best for them and forcing them to go through court processes they want no part of.

kittycat68 Fri 24-Feb-12 22:31:47

olgaga, im sure youre intensions are well meaning but i do not neccessarily agree with your last paragraph.

Parents do decide whats best for thier children especially at 12 and 13!
We dont judge them but are mearly hurt at thier actions.
and we certainly dont force them through court action thats what the courts own very lengthy process does also the malious ex partner.
If my 12 13 year old said they wanted to die and took an overdose should i let them just because this is what they say they want? and before you say i am over reacting my ds did exactly this four times after forced contact with father.

olgaga Fri 24-Feb-12 23:23:00

Parents do decide whats best for thier children especially at 12 and 13!

Yes, but of course the problem is that it is not a "normal" parenting situation. Both parents are supposed to agree, and when relationships break down the sad fact is that this will often mean having to make compromises which go against all your instincts and judgement.

All I am saying is that you have to look beyond the short term, and that forcing the daughter to go through a court process, as OP has done, is counter-productive.

As a child of separated parents I realise that for both you and the OP, and the many people who are in your situation, it's a mess - in the short to medium term. Children may try to "punish" both parents at different times. But all children reach an age where they can decide for themselves. The important thing surely is to be there for them whenever and whatever they decide.

kittycat68 Sun 26-Feb-12 13:47:41

the op has not forced her daughter to go through this process olgaga! this is the court system and fathers who continue to file cases for contact regaurdless of the childs wishes!

quite frankly i am appalled at the implication that mothers force there childen through the courts when trying to protect them from thier abusive fathers.

its the same as saying absive fathers should be given custody of the children so they wont take any matters to court in the first place!!

the current court system only serves to promote this

Justw0nder1ng Sun 26-Feb-12 19:36:41

Avoid court at all costs op, it will probably make the whole situation 10 times worse causing hurt and resentment on all sides and your wife's daughter will suffer. I'll never understand why any parent would use the court system to actually force a child into something

olgaga Sun 26-Feb-12 20:22:47

kitty I'm not sure you understand this correctly. The OP's 13 year old SD quite clearly, for now, wants to live with her dad, not her mum and the OP. It doesn't actually matter what the reasons are.

OP and her mother are pursuing it by contesting it and forcing it to go to court. That's the first mistake. He feels personally aggrieved at the outcome, which is an unhelpful attitude to take. That's the second mistake.

All I am saying is their actions in this matter will only cause more alienation. There is no point fighting it when children are that age. It's not about fairness - what is fair about any of it? As I have said, all you can reasonably do is be as understanding as possible and be there when they turn to you.

kittycat68 Sun 26-Feb-12 20:37:06

i have not mis read ops statment exh abusive, hormoneal child wants to go to father.
you say let child go, do not contest in court.

have i got this corrrect?

I am sorry but i DO DISAGREE with you its the parents role to protect there child, especially if they are putting themselves at risk. DD may resent her at first but this will soon heal, the damage the absusive dad will do will be life long.
Clearly you ahve never been in this situation personally olgaga and i hope you never are.

Quite simply the 13 year old gets to decide who they want to live with and unless you can prove parental alienation (very difficult) you have to learn to live with it.

The daughter made her choice and she did a terrible thing to her mother sad

It's not the cafcass officer's fault though, or the judge or social services - if a child makes an allegation of abuse generally they must be believed or the authorities must act to protect even if there is no proof (as in your case).

As foster carers we live with this every day - at any point dd could lie and say we have abused her and she would be removed (whether we had or not is irrelevant as what she is saying is that she wouldn't want to live with us anymore)

olgaga Sun 26-Feb-12 22:14:10

Kitty I have not said it is easy. But this is the key issue:

My wife has a daughter who has lied to Cafcass and told them that me and my wife both physically abused her. All so she could live with her dad.

So the child wants to live with the dad, and has gone to considerable lengths to ensure that happens. All I am saying is that if a child is 13 and that's what she wants, there is little point taking court action to fight it and alienate her further.

I have made my comments based on the information the OP has shared, rather than projecting my own experiences as you have done.

I will point out yet again that the judge said there was no reason to disbelieve her, which is not the same as saying the allegations must be true. The overriding issue here was the child's express wish to live with the father rather than her mother.

kittycat68 Mon 27-Feb-12 15:31:11

OP clearly states also has anyone else had a simular experience?

this was a key issue.

Olgaga you clearly have not had a simular issue, you are talking from a leagal point of view.

(soz about spelling am dyslexic)

its no wonder young peolple have no respect for the law or courts is it when parents arnt alowed to parent these days cos if they do children shout abuse, and parents are found guilty by the mere word of the child.
quite frankly the court system and cafcass stink!

next time my ds 13 desides to take an overdose cos he doesnt want to live any more i should just let him do it without calling an ambulance cos after all its HIS CHOICE AT 13!!!!

olgaga Mon 27-Feb-12 18:51:02

I am not a lawyer. I am not talking from a legal point of view. I am talking in general terms. I do have experience of this kind of issue, which is why I responded. It is pretty damn obvious that inappropriate use of the courts will usually cause further alienation, which is unhelpful to both children and parents.

I am not talking about your case. It is not the subject of this thread. However perhaps if you'd like to start your own thread I'd be happy to comment on that too.

DaddyOO Tue 28-Feb-12 12:06:53

Quite why you felt pursuing this through the court was the right thing to do I don't know - but your wife should have been making efforts to reconcile with her, not forcing her through a process which has probably alienated her further.

Olgaga, it wasn't my wife that took him to court but the other way round...he wanted full custody of my wife's daughter even though she is living with him. The man does all this to his daughter because all he wants to do is alienate her from her mum and family. He does none of this to his 10 year old son as he knows it won't work with him.

olgaga Tue 28-Feb-12 18:53:06

Firstly, I don't know why you are talking about "custody", that term hasn't been used for years. The terms are now "residence" and "contact".

If she is already living with her father, and at 13 expresses a strong preference to continue that arrangement, it seems perfectly appropriate for him to apply for residence. If you and your wife had agreed, I can't see why if would have had to go to court, which resulted in the traumatic situation you describe.

It appears that in your case the problem isn't with the system, the problem is your wife's (or perhaps your) relationship with her daughter.

kittycat68 Thu 01-Mar-12 13:43:41

olgaga i personally think you dont understand at all you are comming from this from the point of view that parents that have a court action should just give in and not stand up to abusive ex partners why is this i wonder>

you say u have experience in these matters yet dont say what that is. in light of your comments and statments i am very sure that you are comming from this from either a cafcass backgound or one of the fathers rights groups that seek only to allow abusive partners to continue to abuse.

quite frankly your comments are both innaproiate and un welcome.
The op would do well to take no notice of your comments.

olgaga Thu 01-Mar-12 14:20:45

Kitty you are making assumptions about me which are all incorrect.

I have simply pointed out that given the age of the child, the OP's strategy was a mistake which has no doubt alienated her further.

He and his DW need to build bridges with her, otherwise she will never accept them back in her life to be there when she needs them.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now