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CONTESTED RESIDENCY/CAFCASS SECTION 7 REPORT?

(17 Posts)
monkeymadness1 Mon 03-Mar-14 00:48:28

Hello, hoping someone can offer some advice? Have NC for this...

I currently have shared residency of my children with their dad. They are 5 and 8. We have a Court Order to this affect, which we both agreed to at the time (about a year or so ago). He has them 4 days at a time, 4 days with him 4 days with me and so on.

Over that year there have been some problems:

-He has twice now not taken them to see a GP when they've been ill, didn't get medical treatment for eldest when he got badly sun burnt on holiday with him (I later took him) he didn't give youngest his prescribed medication properly ending up with him having to have another course of antibiotics. Didn't inform me when one of my children had been taken to hospital in the night with breathing problems and so on. These are all documented with the GP of course.

-Small (ish) school issues, he hardly ever does their homework, sends them to school without correct uniform, wearing trainers, no PE kits, no books, won't make them packed lunch and won't pay dinner money so the school have to chase him continuously for it afterwards, they've said they can't let the kids go hungry but it's unacceptable, constantly late for school and so on. He's been called into school & written to so many times by the head teacher, mainly for not co operating with homework and paying dinner money and being really late for school, but still no improvement. I have copies of these letters and warnings for lateness.

-The biggest thing is that he is now emotionally abusing the children and they are becoming very upset and unsettled due to this. He is constantly telling them lies about me and how I don't love them or want them, how he will take them away and how I take all his money, he calls me horrible disgusting names to them and in front of them and they repeat it here to me. He has a bad temper and screams and shouts at them, they said to me yesterday he calls them swear words and that they are "stupid and crap". The kids are coming here and crying about it, especially at bedtime and I have to do something about it. Eldest has started wetting the bed too, although I can't prove it is this that has caused it.

I understand if I apply back to Court and try and change the Residency Order and he objects (he will) it becomes a contested case and then CAFCASS will become involved and do a Sections 7 report (if I am correct).

My question is - What does this involve? Will they speak to the school, GP, and the kids? If I am making specific claims such as above will CAFCASS ask the school / GP to confirm these allegations are true or will they just ask a list of generic questions which might not cover/clarify the points I am making? I know that CAFCASS don't usually do "wishes and feelings" reports for children under 7 ish but if I am claiming emotional abuse will they speak to the children?

I realise the above can all be considered "low level" abuse by some and many of my points will be standard lies told by mothers to try and limit contact with the father. I don't want that to be thought of me, it's all true and it's upsetting my children so much. If CAFCASS speak to my kids they will see that this is true and hopefully I can change the Residency Order. The kids aren't making it up, they tell me these things with such innocence and sadness in their faces, wanting me to tell them it's not true. Asking if I really don't love them and so on. I want them to have a relationship with their Dad but I feel they are much better off with me during school time and I hope avoiding blocks of many days with him will limit the affect his horrible nature has on them. So I want to suggest he has them EOW and more time in school holidays (although not in long periods). Do you think that is reasonable or will a Judge wonder why I am claiming all the above AND still wanting him to have contact?

Sorry for the ramblings, I'm very confused as what to do.

Bumpiemalumpie Mon 03-Mar-14 02:00:24

Hi, I am sorry you are having such a bad time, and your children. I would suggest you get some legal advice asap, the longer you leave it the more he can throw it back at you.

CAFCASS will always want to see/talk to the children and they will do standard checks - gp/school etc.

As long as you come across as honest, nonwhingey and balanced you have nothing to worryb about.

Keep a diary of the incidents and most importantly, support you dcs.

Good luck

STIDW Mon 03-Mar-14 02:08:53

These days a copy of the court application is is forwarded to CAFCASS who then undertake some initial safeguarding checks - criminal records, social services etc. They also speak briefly with both parents about their positions regarding the application.

At the first hearing when no agreement can be reached the judge decides what further information is required to assist him/her with making a decision in the form of reports and sets a timetable for future hearings. When there are issues relating to the welfare of children CAFCASS are asked to report. There are lots of different bits and pieces to a report and they aren't all always used in every case.

Extra information may be obtained from the police, doctors, schools, children’s services or any other people involved with the family. Part of the report documents what each parent tells the reporter about the family background and the history of the dispute. Depending on the child’s age and maturity CAFCASS may talk to them too to find out their views. The reporter then draws some conclusions and makes recommendations.

Children resist contact for many reasons. Sometimes when CAFCASS speak to children it's fairly obvious from their language and mannerisms that the children's views are not their own but that of one of their parents. Other times children’s resistance to contact is based upon real past events and the behaviour of the parent which they can reasonably describe. If they have witnessed abuse or heard constant denigration of the other parent it's possible the parent will be directed to attend a programme for perpetrator's of abuse, anger management or a separated parents' programme

monkeymadness1 Mon 03-Mar-14 02:10:28

Thanks for your message.

Do you know how these standard checks work? For instance, if they ask our GP if there is any history of serious abuse or signs of abuse etc then he will have to say no. But if that ask a question specific to my claim that EX doesn't take them to be treated when ill, doesn't give their medication property etc then GP can confirm this from their records.

monkeymadness1 Mon 03-Mar-14 02:11:55

Sorry I cross posted there, you've answered my questions. Thank you so much smile

monkeymadness1 Mon 03-Mar-14 22:21:31

I want to be able to prove the emotional abuse, I know I need a third party to raise the issue or acknowledge it. School are reluctant to say the least as don't want to get involved in what they see as a dispute between parents . How do I get CAMHS to assess a child, do I book a GP appointment and ask for a referral or call CAMHS myself or can only a school refer a child to them?

MaryPoppinsCarpetBag Tue 04-Mar-14 07:43:21

GP can refer to them but I'm not sure it would make a difference tbh.

monkeymadness1 Tue 04-Mar-14 09:59:40

Marypoppins- Can I ask why you think that? I have absolutely no idea how CAMHS work to be perfectly honest.

I know Judges see lots of false accusations, tit for tat and mothers claiming the father is emotionally abusive to the kids to limit contact. Yet I know this really is happening for my kids. I know that if a professional speaks to them they will see that this is all true and not just a fabrication on my part. I was hoping with an independent person agreeing they are suffering emotional abuse I may have more of a chance of my argument being heard. Perhaps Im barking up the wrong tree?

MaryPoppinsCarpetBag Tue 04-Mar-14 10:25:36

Because it's not just a case of "is it happening", it has to be balanced against the damage done by restricting contact which obviously isn't an exact science. If the school aren't willing to make a comment then to me that suggests the emotional abuse isn't severe enough to be impacting them at a level the court would be interested in.

What are you hoping CAMHS will do? They would be no more able to prove emotional abuse than a section 7 would from what I know. CAFCASS will talk to your children and hear their concerns and significant emotional abuse would be revealed in that process.

STIDW Tue 04-Mar-14 13:21:28

A dim view is taken of parents arranging medical assessments and you need to be careful not to fall foul of the Family Procedure Rules 2010. Without the court’s permission no child may be medically or psychiatrically examined or assessed for the purpose of preparing expert evidence for the use in proceedings.

When schools, social services, treating doctors etc involved with a child have concerns about the child's welfare their evidence may be used to to persuade the court to give permission to instruct, or jointly instruct, an independent expert witness. The majority of private family cases are settled without the need for expert witness reports and recommendations.

monkeymadness1 Tue 04-Mar-14 13:53:01

Thank you STIDW. So I'm better off making the application stating my concerns and waiting for CAFCASS to do a section 7 report and it should all come out to them then. I'm just so worried it will be dismissed as (understandably) Judges have heard it all before, but I know once spoken to it will be quite clear to anyone that the children really are suffering this and it's not me making it up. My kids are 5 and 8. The 5 year old is most affected but very "grown up" articulate and would be quite able to discuss what's happening, feelings etc. I just wonder if Cafcass will decide 5 is too young.

FrogbyAnotherName Tue 04-Mar-14 14:21:20

I'm not sure you can expect to get a Section 7 report ordered, certainly not straight away; they seems to be the last resort in my experience - the court haven't ordered a Section 7 report for my DHs DS despite the Schedule 2 Letter enquiries revealing SocServ records of physical abuse against the DCs, and allegations of emotional abuse made in court. The application to court by DHs ex was for all contact to stop - but even in the face of that level of concern from the DCs primary carer, the court did not see the need to order a Section 7 report.

As the applicant, you'll have to arrange a MIAM first; and may well face the choice as to whether or not to mediate with your DCs dad - and the court will draw conclusions if you refuse.
The court may order you and he attend the SPIP to try and resolve the parenting differences you have highlighted, and even if the court do want to hear the DCs views, they may order CAFCASS carry out a wishes and feelings report (my DHs DS had one at age 5) rather than a full Section 7.

If your DCs are suffering from the affects of emotional abuse, then the professionals in their lives will be recommending appropriate support. My DHs DS school recommended sand play when he was struggling with the conflict between his parents. The GP referred to a local youth counselling service when he was suffering from physical symptoms caused by anxiety.
If your DCs aren't presenting to the professionals in their lives as suffering from ill effects due to the way their dad behaves, then they will not be referred for support - no matter how much you may want them to be.

cestlavielife Wed 05-Mar-14 14:48:54

you said he didnt take them to gp but also he tokk them to hospital wihtout telling you so it's not consistent. differnt views on what constitutes medical emergency.

if oldest is wetting bed take him to gp and get advice. maybe he will speak to gp aabout any worries?

if you children are upset about contact you can
1. suggest to your ex you both together attend separated parent course where you can both air grievances concerns etc - try and find out what is avaialable locally

2. if children being affected and it is affecting their emotional well being take them to gp and ask for referral to family therapy at CAMHS - this could be with you and the children, with them alone eg play therapy or with both parents and the DC.

3. speak to their teachers - are they noticing issues? childrens school work suffering? are they acting out - becoming withdrawn or conversely causing trouble?

there is a lot you can do to support the children and find out what is really going on with a trained professional while you wait for court dates/cafacass etc.

cestlavielife Wed 05-Mar-14 14:58:16

also giving you sole residency wont necessarily stop contact - there would still be a contact order. so what are you actually wanting to do? cut contact? to what? make it supervised? you need a lot of evidence for that. it isnt really clear to me whay you want to change residency.

or rather i can see that you have concerns about his parenting but is that enough to stop contact? is that enough to cut him out of making decisions about their lives? if yes they are suffering emotionally becuase of his behaviour towards them then yes it could be enough - you need to be taking them to gp or a counsellor/therapist....

otoh a judge might say well you keep on sending them it cant be that bad...or might say ok dad to go ona a parenting course etc.

lostdad Thu 06-Mar-14 11:52:39

cestlavielife makes a good point.

A residency order has no bearing on contact. Residence status and contact are not related - it's possible for a non resident parent to have the children, say, 49% including with overnights.

It's something I see all the time - people saying `I'm applying for a residence order!' and then hesitating when I ask them what rights/responsibilities that this will give them...and how it will protect the children from an alleged neglectful and/or abusive parent.

It doesn't give a parent the right to stop contact, doesn't remove what PR confers, etc.

And as cestlavielife says it may be better to work together to ensure you're both happy that your DC are getting the care that they need.

Bea93 Mon 01-Feb-16 11:57:16

You have to go for it. If you fail you haven't lost anything. If you succeed your kids stand to gain a lot.
My partner was awarded custody of his kids last week on the basis of a section 7 recommendation because his vile ex neglects the kids. His six year old daughter has to have all of her teeth pulled because they are so broken and decayed, the older girls teeth aren't as bad but both need dental operations which they have been offered multiple times but not taken to. Loads of missed immunizations as well as malnutrition and poor school attendance have also contributed besides the fact that she has lied through her own rotting teeth from the start. Little one only gained 0.2kg in over a year and as half, lived with us for 3 months and put on 1.6kg!! S7 report included info from GPs, the school, the dentist and the school nurse and the right decision was made. We had to do some prodding I.e getting hold of medical records, photocopying them and putting them under the nose of the woman writing the report but if the evidence is there like you say it is and you are very pro active in kicking all the right people up the arse then they cannot ignore cold hard facts. They have to act in the kids best interests it is the law.

Nottodaythankyouorever Mon 01-Feb-16 11:59:17

Zombie thread. It's 2 years old..

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