This is why men who commit DV against their partners shouldn't be allowed access to their children

(294 Posts)
StewieGriffinsMom Sun 03-Mar-13 07:47:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Spero Wed 06-Mar-13 19:02:03

Sorry to hear what you and your children are going through Sparkly. But your children do have a voice, certainly the 10 year old. if you feel CAFCASS are not listening can you apply for a Guardian particularly to represent your children? If they are saying they dont want to see him, they should absolutely be listened to. If a Guardian is appointed, they also get their own lawyers. Something is seriously wrong if CAFCASS will ignore a violent outburst

Edam - I am not aware anyone on this thread has claimed the court 'never' gets it wrong. But this is obviously your particular drum and you bang it with vigour.

Garlic - you assert abusers ALWAYS know what they are doing. I disagree. This doesn't mean you are 'unheard', it means I don't agree with you.

garlicbrain Wed 06-Mar-13 21:43:51

Yes, OK, Spero, I get that. I'm with the man who made the study of domestic abuse his life's work, and who has helped more perps and survivors than any other expert in his field.

Hully - oh, if only we could provide everyone with the virtual silk cushions and soothing music of peace!!!

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 22:25:23

Some of the early posts have been deleted now, but there was hostility and disbelief at the idea that the courts would ever dream of forcing children into contact with abusive, violent parents. Yet we can see it does indeed happen, and it's not a one-off.

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 22:29:05

Isn't it because the law is rigid and codified and not flexible in response to individual cases. So there is now a presumption in favour of contact for both parents that is then adhered to as far as possible DESPITE the reality of an appalling situation like those described?

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 22:37:41

Spero, earlier in the thread you said: 'sometimes that does involve weighing up a child's need to know their father against the child's need to be safe.'

I think that's astonishing. Seriously, you'd place a child in danger - you think it's OK for the courts to force a child into a dangerous situation - because their 'need' to know their father is more important? More important than what, life and limb?

It's incredible that we have such a bizarre and dangerous double standard going on. Social services will order victims to leave, saying 'your children are at risk. If you do not leave, your children will be removed'. But then the courts come along and say 'you must hand your child over to this person - the one who SS think is so dangerous your children will be removed if you are anywhere near him (or her, potentially)'. Kafka should have had a time machine to study the British courts in the 21st century.

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 22:38:32

yes, what did you mean there spero?

fuzzywuzzy Wed 06-Mar-13 22:42:32

My children were forced to have contact with their abusive violent father, he continued the abuse during supported contact as my children were far too scared to say anything to anyone there and the supervisors weren't near enough to see what he was up to. Altho they promised to keep an eye on him, it's impossible to do.

The result has been that my eldest child suffers physical symptoms from the trauma, vomitting, constant stomach cramps etc and my youngest child won't speak when anyone physically hurts her, she's told me several times it's because it doesn't really matter. When she was seven she came home with a massive bruise on her arm but apparantly she decided 'it doesn't matter'.

I have psent years and £££ ensuring my children are kept as safe as possible and unsupervised contact does not happen.

My chidlren have been taught over these years, that personal safety and their opinions count for nothing, that if they are being hurt and abused they put up with it becasue the abuser has greater rights than they do.

It was only two weeks ago that contact was finally suspended by the courts.

We go back to court later this month where anything could be decided.

And my children are the lucky ones frankly. Altho I am so so so scared of how this experience is going to translate in their adult lives.

The worst thing is, I have begged social services to help us and CAHMS who both refused, social services because it is a court matter, CAHMS because the source of their anxiety ie contact would not be rmeoved so they would not help us.

So yes, abusers should be put on a perpatrator programme and kept the hell away from young vulnerable children.

It's so easy to have an opinon on the matter, I and my friends who have lived the nightmare are the ones dealing with the fall out worse still our children are living it daily.

I really do not care about the whys and the rights of perpetrators my only concern is that my children are safe and have peace of mind.

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 22:44:54

Very powerful post, fuzzy.

BertieBotts Wed 06-Mar-13 22:55:42

I think there is a danger that children who grow up not knowing their (abusive) father will idolise said father and decide to go and investigate on their own when they turn 16 or 18 or whenever they are able to, but I don't see why this is worse than having an ongoing relationship with them? At least at 16/18 they are more equipped than at, say, 6 or 8, to recognise abusive behaviour as such and to judge their father on his real actions. Of course not all 16 year olds are capable of this, but better 16 than 8?

I understand that abusive men aren't just violent because they feel like it or in a vacuum, that there are complex emotional, situational etc reasons behind it, and I do feel sympathy for them - but I feel far, far more sympathy for someone in sparkly and her DCs' situation, and while I don't want to say that one person is more important than another, it is more urgent that they be protected than that the father gets help which likely won't even make much difference. It is too late for most of these men. It isn't too late for their children - for god's sake, let's protect them and not have them growing up to repeat the same patterns over and over again!

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 22:56:15

oh fuzzy, I really really hope the courts do right by you and the kids at the next hearing sad

garlicbrain Wed 06-Mar-13 22:56:40

Oh, Fuzzy. This is heartbreaking. You must feel so trapped sad

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 22:56:57

absolutely bertie

Hullygully Wed 06-Mar-13 22:59:08

And the children ARE more important - because they have done nothing wrong. No matter the reasons etc behind the perp's behaviour, it is still that person that is the wrongdoer and needs to be kept away.

edam Wed 06-Mar-13 23:03:04

Agree, children are far more important than the perpetrator. Because they are vulnerable and because they are innocent. It is the basic duty of adults to keep children safe - not just our own offspring but other children too. What judge or lawyer wouldn't stretch out a hand to stop a toddler running into a busy road? Why then, when they step into court, are they prepared to thrust that same toddler into harm's way?

Bobits Wed 06-Mar-13 23:18:30

fuzzy - I am so sorry for what you are going through, I empathise as I am in a similar situation - its so tough sad

I ran into similar trouble with recieving help for my ds - as I was told the criteria for CAMS was high - self harm and addictive behaviour etc...

I got a referal through a lifeline with a creative therapist - who was able to take a referral through a parent. I wonder if you would also be able to resource some help for your children elsewhere?

That seems very bad advice that as contact would not be removed they could not help. Coping strategies are a big benefit and having a safe place to let out emotions so they don't build is such a help for children.

I hope your next date goes well xx

IlianaDupree Thu 07-Mar-13 01:06:30

Fuzzy sad angry really really hope the courts do the right thing and stop access permanently.

I survived that kind of thing and struggle with that perception daily, nothings changed in 20 years. Bastards.

NO kids should be falling through the gaps or subjected to abuse. So fucking angry.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 07-Mar-13 07:18:30

Bobits, I tried to get referrals several times, first time when my eldest was very very young and I had newly left ex, she was exhibiting really frightening behaviour at school, the GP referred her and CAHMS refused on the grounds she was 'not damaged enough'! I was pretty gobsmacked because if my eldest was not damaged enough I don't want my child to be damaged enough.

The school tried to refer her twice and both times they refused on the grounds that the factor causing the truama would remain in place.

They did not bother to even make an appointment to assess her.

Then school made a referral to CAF (an agency I don't know anything about to be honest), and we've not heard from them either.

I am very lucky as my children go to a school with excellent pastoral care, the SENCO was the one who noticed the pattern to my eldest's symptoms and has provided CBT which has really helped.

I have knocked on every door I could possibly think of to keep my girls safe.

The courts try to make out like I'm some crazed jealous bitch out to get revenge for ex leaving me. The truth is I left him and am trying my damndest to keep my children safe from him.

The entire culture surrounding childrens matters in court is a pass the buck attitude, no childrens agencies will get involved until my children are irreversibly damaged or worse. And I'm not prepared to risk that.

I wouldnt wish my childrens situation on my worst enemy. This man is hurting them and causing them slow deep psychological damage and everyone who should be protecting them are helping him do it.

Fuzzy im so sorry for what your DC's are going through, it's heartbreaking.

I myself am back in court on the 30th April to see if he has completed the Domestic violence course. My solicitor thinks that it will be highly unlikely that he will be granted unsupervised contact, but with anything there is always a chance. I will take as far as i need to go before i let that happen.

The problem i have found is that because he turns up to court and he turns up to contact every now and again it is seen as making an effort.
In the CAFCASS report it even praised him for obviously loving his kids because he's fighting to see them hmm.

My Son is autistic he needs stability, he doesn't get it. His needs were also overlooked in court. The judge we have been assigned is very much an old school, lets just do this to shut the silly bitch up. Not oh yeah lets look at the evidence and understand she just might have a point about her children been in danger with this man.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 07-Mar-13 09:17:04

Yes I get that too, I keep being told that he's turned up to a lot of the contact sessions so he's father of the year.

Given that I'm there every single day of my childrens lives, providing constant love and support, fighting their corner, willingthem on with love and help....well my parenting is clearly off the chart then!

Spero Thu 07-Mar-13 12:28:43

'Spero, earlier in the thread you said: 'sometimes that does involve weighing up a child's need to know their father against the child's need to be safe.'

I think that's astonishing. Seriously, you'd place a child in danger - you think it's OK for the courts to force a child into a dangerous situation - because their 'need' to know their father is more important? More important than what, life and limb?'

How on EARTH do you decide that what I said there was support for forcing a child to see a violent parent? Seriously? Are you really so blinkered? are you genuine or is this some kind of game for you?

I meant exactly what I said. The court has to weigh in the scales different harms that can be caused. Sometimes the harm caused by seeing the violent father is huge and that tips the scale in one direction - no contact. Sometimes it is a lot more difficult to see which way the scales are tipping and the court will considered supervised contact or other ways of trying to make it happen.

I am sorry to read the all the awful stories and the suffering undergone by mothers and children. There is obviously something seriously wrong if people can feel so unprotected.

I have never claimed things are perfect. But I don't accept this view that the courts don't know and don't care. The law is not 'rigid and codified' , it contains a great deal of flexibility and discretion in order to attempt to deal with the myriad different circumstances and issues that face us all.

But I am frustrated and sad that there is little appetite for 'debate'. If I say something that some posters don't agree with, the response is that I am deluded or 'not listening to them'. Others have been accused of attempting to 'silence' others - for doing little else as far as I can see but not agreeing with them!

This is why I rarely venture onto the feminism board. It seems to me that there is a 'party line' and any deviation from that is not met with reasoned debate but simple repetition of what is the party line and apparent deliberate failure to read what is actually written. Just a knee jerk response - you don't agree with me, you must be wrong or trying to silence me.

And that makes me sad because it basically knocks on the head any chance of reasonable debate.

I ventured on here because I saw things being confidently asserted that ARE NOT TRUE and I think that is very dangerous for anyone lurking who could be afraid.

But I think I will have to revert to my usual policy of not bothering.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 07-Mar-13 12:50:09

the problem is the judges get to decide the fate of the chidlren.

The children are not heard till they hit ten and then in my own case ex is saying I am influencing my children.

Contact centres are not monitored either, we had a nightmare with the supevised contact centre as one of the supervisors took against me for some indescernible reason, her notes were filled with things like 'mother would not make eye contact with me' (yes it was the firsttime I had been in the same room as ex since he had been arrested for trying to kill me, I think my fear was entirely justified) and she wrote that my children had conversations stating I locked them in the basement.....I have no basement! My children at the time spoke only in Urdu to ex as he insisted on it and this supervisor didn't speak the language, nobody even gave my questions levity, nobody asked the supervisor to tell us how she could come up with these transcripts if she didn't speak the language spoken by the children. She missed out essential facts like ex hurt my youngest during contact, or that they would come out distressed and questioning me as to why ex kept denying he used to hit them. None of this was in the notes.

When I formally complained to the contact centre, I got a reply stating that the supervisor was very professional!

Who do contact centres answer to? Their notes ruin lives.

Then one is also at the mercy of judges, you get a judge with old fashioned views or one who is having a bad day, that's it.

Maybe theoretically the courts are amazing, in reality, there are resident parents up and down the country continuing to be abused by their ex's via their ex's rights over the children.

I don't think anything takes precedence over a childs right to a calm and happy environment and peace of mind.

Spero Thu 07-Mar-13 13:07:01

I have always been told by CAFCASS that children 6 or under are usually unable to assert views in opposition to the resident parent, so it is unlikely their wishes can ever determine a case, but will not be ignored.

From between 7-12 is a grey area depending on the individual's maturity and understanding and over 12 they pretty much decide for themselves.

It is not my experience that a child of 10 or under is ignored. If you feel your child is being ignored, I urge parents to consider applying for a separate Guardian.

I have only met a handful of judges over the years who I thought were blinkered idiots - the vast majority have clearly thought very long and hard about their decisions and take it seriously.

I don't know why my experiences over 10 years seem so different to many on here. It is worrying.

Spero Thu 07-Mar-13 13:08:07

Good contact centres are essential, I agree. But many have shut and I doubt there will be funding over next decade for any more. So I don't know what we do with that.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 07-Mar-13 13:34:45

How does a guardian get appointed?

under the age of ten my children have been ignored, my eldest has really suffered.

Btoh children told the CAFCASS officer that they were scared and that he made them sad. My mum was sitting in one fo the CAFCASS sessions and the officer got my chidlren to set up a dolls house, my chidlren put in me, grandparents aunts and uncles etc, and when the CAFCASS officer suggested a dad they threw it away! They've still been subject tp contact.

I've been thro a few contact centres over the past few years and like I said my situation is one of the better ones.

Spero Thu 07-Mar-13 14:16:43

Rule 16(2)(a) of the Family procedure rules 2010 provides that a party to proceedings may apply for the appointment of a children's guardian. The child is then apart to the proceedings, represented by his or her Guardian.

The Practice Direction concerning this says the decision is exclusively the courts and the court must consider a variet of factors including 'where the child may be suffering harm associated with the contact dispute' and 'where the views and wishes of the child cannot be adequately met by a report to the court' and 'where an older child is opposing a proposed course of action' and 'where there are serious allegations of physical, sexual or other abuse in relation to the child or there are allegations of domestic violence not capable of being resolved with the help of [CAFCASS].

This would seem to fit a lot of the circumstances where people complain CAFCASS are not taking them seriously or listening to the children.

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