What to expect with Social Services inviting themselves into our lives and accusing my partner of domestic abuse?

(195 Posts)
mumof2beebies Tue 26-Apr-11 15:31:41

Hi, we have a meeting coming up with social services to find out 'how they can support us' I'm skeptical and didn't ask for this.
Bassically me and my partner have two children, a 4yo with special needs and a 1 year old. Me and him were arguing alot and a few months ago I called the police because he locked me out of the house, they came and I apologized for wasting their time and they said well we're gonna have to send a note to social services because of the the domestic alteration, even though there was no violence, me and him made up instantly and I regreted calling them over something stupid like that. We had the lead of our Caf support team come out to see us (they meet up to support us with my 4 yr old getting everything he needs, he's in need of a diagnosis right now, because of all his delays). The early years support worker came out to do a home check and said it's all fine, I joked that my partner had his own room (we have 2 living rooms, one a kids room and one with a huge tv and xbox, my partner does spend most of his time with us and certainly does half the chores and parenting). We are equal. so he asked to speak to me alone and questioned whether my partner was controlling, I said no of course not.
Then a few weeks later we broke up breifly (last month.) I stayed in a hostel for a couple of days, then wanted to come home with the kids because me and my partner felt ready after our little break. But the person leading the CAF team (that we've only ever met twice) called and said that he doesn't think I'm being honest with him and that he thinks I must have been scared to leave in 'such a rush' and go to a hostel. I said no, I just needed to get away from the silly bickering, but we're okay now, and it's much worse for the kids in this hostel, we'd all picked up infections and the kids were missing their dad. The CAF team leader 'support worker' said no he thinks I'm not being honest and he thinks I'm a victim of some kind of domestic violence or abuse, because he knows that my son wet the bed and seems angry, I said that's because of his special needs, he doesn't even know my child. I said that's ridiculous, that I would be a victim of anything to my partner, I'm perfectly half to blame for our argument. He said well he'll be telling the social services he thinks the children are at risk if I go back, because he thinks my son's behaviour is systoms of trauma. (but we're quite sure he's autistic). So I stayed in the hostel for about 2 weeks, isolated with both kids, because I was scared social services would take the kids off me. I was then hospitalised with a bad chest infection I picked up from the hostel, because I have immuno-deficiency disease and was in hospital for a week on oxygen and all sorts. I get ill often, that's one reason why my partner is such an intrinsinc part of our lives, he does a lot of the parenting. I was in hospital for just over a week and my partner looked after our children and took good care of them and brought them to see me every day, because he's a good dad to them. He gets our son ready and takes him to nursery every day while I sleep in the morning with our baby, that's what kinda dad he is. Anyway, this support worker found out my partner was looking after the kids and called social services. A social worker came out to visit us along with our usual health visitor on the day I was discharged so I got to come to the meeting back at our house, and my partner's mum was there as she had been helping with the care of the children, like she usually does.
The social worker said they must have got their wires crossed, there doesn't appear to be domestic violence as I've never accused him of it, there's no evidence of it, etc, therefor no grounds for social services involvement, and she said of course I can come home, without any worry of them. So we were unbelievably relieved, went and got my things from the hostel and all moved home and we've been happy since.
Then last week the social worker called me and told me that she spoke to the hostel manager and she said that I had told her they'd been domestic abuse, which is false, and she only got this idea from the 'support' worker who was threatening me with SS if I went back, as they spoke on the phone on a few occasions, as he'd instructed her not to let my partner visit me and my kids. When I arrived at the hostel I did have a long talk with her and say that I'm sick of the arguing, as it obviously peaked before I left and that he had locked me out of the house. So the social worker repeated back to me that I'd said he had locked me out of the house (as the worst example they could could up with for there being 'domestic abuse/violence') and I said yes, that did happen but I'm not a victim of DV, I've locked him out before, for gods sakes. The social worker fobbed off what I was saying and declared that they were going to get involved to see how they can help, now.
So Social Services are getting involved now under the false ASSumption that my partner is abusive and I'm a victim of DV.
I want to tell them not to come near us, as we have enough support already from the CAF team, including the nursery manager, our health visitor and speach and language person and such, and I'm quite pro-active in arranging all the appointments for my son's special needs.

Do I have any legal right to tell them to go to hell?? I'm so stressed, that they're doing this, as I know they look for everything possible wrong, and they're scare mongerers, and that they can threaten to take the kids off us if we don't seperate, if they feel like it.
It's also slander to both of us, my partner obviously, and also to me for suggesting that I'd have my kids around DV.

What do we do?

changingmynameagain Tue 26-Apr-11 15:34:59

My goodness that's an epic post for your first on Mumsnet.

Didn't want you to go unanswered - am going to sit and read it now.

Hopefully someone with more advice than me will be along in a minute

mumblechum1 Tue 26-Apr-11 15:35:38

Whenever police are called out to a domestic incident where children are involved, they automatically call social services.
The worst thing youcan do is refuse to engage with them, tbh.

There clearly are issues here - it's not usual for a woman to go to a hostel in a normal happy marriage, so of course red flags are going to go up in ss minds.

My advice would be to engage with them.

darleneconnor Tue 26-Apr-11 15:40:39

now that they're involved you're going to have to play along with what ever they want. if you try to fight them they can make your life hell. sorry

Georgimama Tue 26-Apr-11 15:41:51

In all honesty it sounds rather volatile and like you both need some help/intervention - locking each other out of the house isn't good, is it? You've called the police, you've been to a refuge, these aren't things women usually do when having a bit of a row with their husband.

Spero Tue 26-Apr-11 15:48:00

Domestic violence is not confined to punching and kicking.

You have set out a history of your and your partner repeatedly locking each other out of the house. You have called the police. You have gone to a hostel.

This has an impact on the children. They must have seen you upset. They must be bewildered as to why they had to leave home with you.

Your story sets a lot of alarm bells ringing. If you refuse to co-operate with SS they will get even more worried about you and your family situation.

Please try to work with them. I know it is hard. I know you will feel threatened. But honestly, they will NOT want to take your children away if there is any chance you can show them they will be ok with you. Foster placements are very scarce and very expensive.

But with the history you have just outlined, add to that non-co-operation, you are looking at the situation escalating quite quickly.

BeakerTheMuppetMuppet Tue 26-Apr-11 15:50:35

If you have nothing to hide, ie there is no threat of DV in your home then what are you worried about?

They have a duty to protect children, and since professional intervention has been needed (police, hostel) they have to investigate all areas and then decide if they need to get involved on a more personal level.

Some of the stuff you've described is a bit extreme though. I had a violent ex-H but I never got into a hostel...........

DillyDaydreaming Tue 26-Apr-11 15:51:06

Agree with all of the above. You need to engage with them OP - going to a hostel and locking the other out of the house (especially where there's a child with additional needs who is extra vulnerable) is not normal or usual behaviour. They have a futy to investigate and reassure themselves that the children are not at risk. If you BOTH engage with them and are honest they will see for themselves whether there are problems or not.

I see women all the time who say "it was just a stupid row" when the rows have been ongoing for months and the children are at breaking point - yet neither adult can see it. In that intance it needs someone to speak FOR the children, I don't doubt he is a good and hands on Dad but your relationship does not sound good for either of you at the moment.

Are they actually getting involved or just doing an Initial Assessment? If it's just an IA and there genuinely are no major problems they will not want to stay involved. On the other hand if they can see problems and you cannot then you can expect more contact with them.

Not trying to be gloomy or judgemental here - just saying that what you have described is not normal in a relationship.

Collision Tue 26-Apr-11 15:53:08

Have added some paragraphs to make this easier to read. Hope you dont mind but you might get more support this way.

Hi, we have a meeting coming up with social services to find out 'how they can support us'. I'm skeptical and didn't ask for this.

Basically me and my partner have two children, a 4yo with special needs and a 1 year old.

Me and him were arguing alot and a few months ago I called the police because he locked me out of the house, they came and I apologized for wasting their time and they said well we're gonna have to send a note to social services because of the the domestic alteration

Even though there was no violence, me and him made up instantly and I regreted calling them over something stupid like that.

We had the lead of our Caf support team come out to see us (they meet up to support us with my 4 yr old getting everything he needs, he's in need of a diagnosis right now, because of all his delays). The early years support worker came out to do a home check and said it's all fine,

I joked that my partner had his own room (we have 2 living rooms, one a kids room and one with a huge tv and xbox, my partner does spend most of his time with us and certainly does half the chores and parenting). We are equal. so he asked to speak to me alone and questioned whether my partner was controlling, I said no of course not.

Then a few weeks later we broke up breifly (last month.)

I stayed in a hostel for a couple of days, then wanted to come home with the kids because me and my partner felt ready after our little break.

But the person leading the CAF team (that we've only ever met twice) called and said that he doesn't think I'm being honest with him and that he thinks I must have been scared to leave in 'such a rush' and go to a hostel. I said no, I just needed to get away from the silly bickering, but we're okay now, and it's much worse for the kids in this hostel, we'd all picked up infections and the kids were missing their dad.

The CAF team leader 'support worker' said no he thinks I'm not being honest and he thinks I'm a victim of some kind of domestic violence or abuse, because he knows that my son wet the bed and seems angry, I said that's because of his special needs, he doesn't even know my child. I said that's ridiculous, that I would be a victim of anything to my partner, I'm perfectly half to blame for our argument.

He said well he'll be telling the social services he thinks the children are at risk if I go back, because he thinks my son's behaviour is systoms of trauma. (but we're quite sure he's autistic).

So I stayed in the hostel for about 2 weeks, isolated with both kids, because I was scared social services would take the kids off me. I was then hospitalised with a bad chest infection I picked up from the hostel, because I have immuno-deficiency disease and was in hospital for a week on oxygen and all sorts.

I get ill often, that's one reason why my partner is such an intrinsinc part of our lives, he does a lot of the parenting. I was in hospital for just over a week and my partner looked after our children and took good care of them and brought them to see me every day, because he's a good dad to them. He gets our son ready and takes him to nursery every day while I sleep in the morning with our baby, that's what kinda dad he is.

Anyway, this support worker found out my partner was looking after the kids and called social services. A social worker came out to visit us along with our usual health visitor on the day I was discharged so I got to come to the meeting back at our house, and my partner's mum was there as she had been helping with the care of the children, like she usually does.

The social worker said they must have got their wires crossed, there doesn't appear to be domestic violence as I've never accused him of it, there's no evidence of it, etc, therefor no grounds for social services involvement, and she said of course I can come home, without any worry of them. So we were unbelievably relieved, went and got my things from the hostel and all moved home and we've been happy since.

Then last week the social worker called me and told me that she spoke to the hostel manager and she said that I had told her they'd been domestic abuse, which is false, and she only got this idea from the 'support' worker who was threatening me with SS if I went back, as they spoke on the phone on a few occasions, as he'd instructed her not to let my partner visit me and my kids.

When I arrived at the hostel I did have a long talk with her and say that I'm sick of the arguing, as it obviously peaked before I left and that he had locked me out of the house. So the social worker repeated back to me that I'd said he had locked me out of the house (as the worst example they could could up with for there being 'domestic abuse/violence') and I said yes, that did happen but I'm not a victim of DV, I've locked him out before, for gods sakes. The social worker fobbed off what I was saying and declared that they were going to get involved to see how they can help, now.

So Social Services are getting involved now under the false ASSumption that my partner is abusive and I'm a victim of DV.
I want to tell them not to come near us, as we have enough support already from the CAF team, including the nursery manager, our health visitor and speach and language person and such, and I'm quite pro-active in arranging all the appointments for my son's special needs.

Do I have any legal right to tell them to go to hell?? I'm so stressed, that they're doing this, as I know they look for everything possible wrong, and they're scare mongerers, and that they can threaten to take the kids off us if we don't seperate, if they feel like it.
It's also slander to both of us, my partner obviously, and also to me for suggesting that I'd have my kids around DV.

What do we do?

NotWoozy Tue 26-Apr-11 15:55:19

because he thinks my son's behaviour is systoms of trauma. (but we're quite sure he's autistic).

Has your son had a professional assessment? Who has told you he is autistic?

mumof2beebies Tue 26-Apr-11 16:16:58

I have certainly not been in a refuge, we stayed in a hostel, and I've never there's DV, we've had about 3 big arguments in the last year. We're happy otherwise.
Most people who've met our son thinks it seems like autism, especially people who have an autistic child themselves. He's never played with other children, he plays alone and stacks and lines things up, he freaks out at too much attention, he's seeing a paediatric consultant soon, which we arranged and had him refered to. The support worker said we could get disability for him already without the diagnosis as he obviously has issues which stops us using buses and restricts us alot already. Not that we've applied for that yet.

changingmynameagain Tue 26-Apr-11 16:22:40

You should engage with SS.

They are in the best position to help you, your son and your family unit.

I would be wary of labelling your son as autistic without a proper diagnosis though.

Georgimama Tue 26-Apr-11 16:27:32

Why would the hostel manager make up a story that you told him you had reported domestic abuse (I think you need to understand that domestic abuse encompasses much more than just pure violence and is a marker for further deterioration of a family situation)? You called the police - why? What was your actual intention when you called them?

Lots of children spend their toddlerhood lining things up and playing alone - doesn't mean they are autistic.

The 'hostel' - do you mean a youth hostel or a B&B or was it run by an organisation?

I agree you need to engage with SS and tbh you need to reflect on your relationship and the effect it's having on your dcs. It is not normal family behaviour to have the police called or for one partyner and the children to move out in to emergency accommodation such as a hostel. That's not a 'little break' - that's a relationship breakdown.

If you suffer from a chronic illness then your children are also at increased risk of neglect - albeit unintentional. I think you need to engage with SS and take their help to support your relationship and your parenting of your dcs. It sounds like you need the help.

mumof2beebies Tue 26-Apr-11 16:33:32

Why should staying in a hostel for a few days be so bewildering for my child, what if I'd stayed in a hotel for a few days? What's the difference? I did the right thing by asking for temperary accomation for a few days because homelife was stressful.
I wanted to go home then, because of course the kids were missing their dad. The support worker threatened me to prevent me going back, the poor kids had to stay in that hell hole for 2 weeks them, he, the support worker was in the wrong for doing that to us.

Our relationship is not volatile, it's pretty damn good 95% of the time.

Does everyone forget every thing that's happened in their family life when theyre analysing others and suddenly become saints themselves?

The social worker said they have no grounds for involvement if there's not domestic abuse or violence. There isn't any, so they shouldn't be getting involved.
However, I'm happy for the health visitor to drop in whenever she wants.

It's an initial assesment I believe.

Us locking each other out twice now, what for 5 mins? Oh we must be hellraisers with our kids living in fear.
I bet if any of the social workers analysed their own upbringings with such a fine comb they'd have to deem their own parents unfit, and that's the truth.

mumof2beebies Tue 26-Apr-11 16:37:22

I called the police because he was pissing me off, and he said I wouldn't so I did. Stupid action I know. In hindsight, me being locked out did mean he could calmy look after the kids alone for a bit, so who's to say he was in the wrong for doing that.

ShirleyKnot Tue 26-Apr-11 16:37:53

I'm sorry but I beleive that SS have a duty to look at your circumstances with the information you have given in your posts.

Oh come on - he locked you out, you argue a lot, you felt you had to leave - and I assume from your last post you then want to the council and asked for emergency accommodation? That is VOLATILE.
You aren't going to get anywhere saying 'everything is fine' - because to outside eyes it really isn't and your ds is displaying signs which could be significant. You need to be honest with yourself. Are there other children in your family who have gone through the same as your children? Do your friends children flee the house with their mum? This is NOT an ok situation.

LadyInTheRadiat0r Tue 26-Apr-11 16:39:36

It all sounds very chaotic and unsettled.

I must be naive because I didn't think you could just ask for a place in a hostel any old time just for a bit of a break?

queenbathsheba Tue 26-Apr-11 16:42:29

Mumof2beebies

Social work depts are generally under resourced and short staffed. Most social workers have more cases than they can realistically cope with. Therefore if they have concerns about your welfare or that of your children then you may have to concede that perhaps you do need support. Believe me few LAs have resources to waste.

I have worked with plenty of people who thought their life circumstances were entirely normal and optimal for their own and children's well being. The fact is that each individual experiences life and stressful events differently. So while you believe a few days spent in a hostel following a domestic dispute is normal I'm afraid that isn't actually normal in most families.

Spero Tue 26-Apr-11 16:45:04

You have had some good advice here. Whether or not you listen is up to you. But my alarm bells are clanging much louder now.

Georgimama Tue 26-Apr-11 16:45:58

Most hotels are not "hellholes". You fled the family home no doubt in some distress which would inevitably be noticed by your children. You just said yourself the home life was stressful. You are contradicting yourself no end and I have no doubt you come across to authorities in a similar self contradictory manner. This is why they are concerned.

changingmynameagain Tue 26-Apr-11 16:47:41

Staying in a hostel is not normal.

I lived with Domestic Abuse and I never went to a hostel.

I think you need outside support to enable you to parent effectively for the sake of your children.

LITR - if you tell your local council that you and your children cannot stay in the family home because of your domestic situation then I believe they would house you on a temporary basis. People don't leave home over a minor tiff - well most people don't although the OP seems to expect us to believe that she did.

queenbathsheba Tue 26-Apr-11 16:47:54

I called the police because he was pissing me off, and he said I wouldn't so I did. Stupid action I know. In hindsight, me being locked out did mean he could calmly look after the kids alone for a bit, so who's to say he was in the wrong for doing that.

You called the police and drew attention to yourself.

He could look after the children calmly when he locked you out. Do you not notice what is happening to your children when you have these serious rows. Are the children around whilst this is happening?

Who's to say he is in the wrong? but he is, do you have a joint tenancy or mortgage? he has no right to lock you out of your home.

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