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to think family courts are a flaming joke!

(209 Posts)
tryingtobeabetterperson Mon 25-Mar-13 17:52:33

I have read so many posts on here, groups on FB and other forums of desperate women who have left abusive partners to protect their children just for the courts to award contact and the abuse continues because unless it becomes physical the courts seem loathe to make contact supervised.

I know all about children needing fathers but even abusive ones that will hurt them or screw them up emotionally??


Jux Mon 25-Mar-13 21:15:14

Yes, more contact centres.

I think mediation is excellent, and perhaps it could be used to provide principal evidence, thus avoiding cross examination by unqualified people.

I also think that we need to educate people a bit more about how important it is to get abuse documented. At least a diary kept, but to call police, or other agencies. If more is documented when it is happening there is more evidence for a Court to go on.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:18:25

Tubegirl not being funny you can have 9000 CRAPCASS officers if wont change the fact before they even get the file they have judge contact will take place its not about recourses its about midset

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:22:50

This clearly shows in 70% of cases contact wAs granted even when.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:23:07

Tubegirl Mon 25-Mar-13 21:24:07

Ah now, I wondered when someone would mention the police. They too lack resources. Given that we now have to have evidence of abuse, this is a critical point. Very often a victim of abuse will have made several phone calls, spoken to a different officer every time, will not have taken down a collar number, it may not have proceeded to charge, or the officer in the case has not notified the victim of the outcome and so on and so on. The victim rarely has the information they need to hand. It will require a request for reports which takes time. I don't know if anyone has ever logged on the police website, but there is absolutely no information on how to acquire this information. There is in fact a protocol in London but you'd never know this from the Met's website. Now other forces may be more informative but certainly there, it is not easy to find out how to obtain the information as a lay person. Obtaining GP records can also take time. On average I found it took up to 6 weeks to get medical records from either a GP or a hospital. The London hospitals will actually write back and require you to confirm you are not planning to sue them for negligence before they provide the records. None of this is the fault of the family court - but you can see immediately the impact of these delays on an application to the court.

We need some more joined up thinking for sure.

WhatsTheBuzz Mon 25-Mar-13 21:26:20

defending the system and trying to justify 'mistakes' and who haven't
been screwed over and had to live the experience of forcing their child
to go somewhere they DO NOT WANT TO GO, will always be just that bit
ignorant. Cafcass might as well be scrapped - useless.

Fleecyslippers Mon 25-Mar-13 21:30:54

More contact centres definitely - we had no opportunity to use a contact centre (waiting list was months) and so were catapulted straight away into the court system.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:32:42

jux medication is also ineffective as i was told by my medator "i am nutrual but were are here to facilitate your child having conact"

He to has it in his mind that conact will take place when i pointed out to him my son dose not actaully want contact he replied we shall see hmm

The judges
And mediators are biased towards contact until this canges were all snuffed

They say there are children focused so why is not the first thing the judges, mediators do is talk to the children in my experince there first port of call is the ex

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:38:40

Crapcass often conduct interviews over the phone which can be used in court can you imagin any other court expert being allowed to interview you over the phone shock and then reaching a decision based on a 30 minute phone call

When carapcass are direct to schools,gps they dont want to know when you try and point to historic behaviour which is the corner stone of any evidence based social work they say its in the past my understanding of social work is that they used pst behaviour as a indicator of how someone might behave given similar set of cirmstance

Eg they might argue a mother needs a current child removed because under a similar set of cirmtances a fews years back they couldnt cope with other chikdren

SolidGoldBrass Mon 25-Mar-13 21:39:52

I think the problem is that the family courts, being part of the traditonal and longstanding legal system are still sunk in the same ancient mindset as the rest of the legal system - that women tell lies, are vindictive and disobedient towards their masters, and that it's more important that no man ever suffers from being wrongly accused, than that women and children are protected from male violence.

Given the number of men who are awarded contact against the wishes of their former partners and who then go on to kill the children in order to punish the mother, the number of men who just disappear out of a child's life or try to insist that contact is all on their terms and designed to cause the maximum distress and inconvenience to the mother, set against the fact that actually it doesn't do that much harm not to see a useless parent, surely it should be the case that, when there is any evidence at all of abuse, the man should be made to prove conclusively that he is a reasonable person and safe to be left in charge of children before he is allowed unsupervised contact.

If the legal system was that bothered about the 'harm' done to a child by not having a relationship with a father, there would be sanctions in place against the men who disappear out of a child's life because they aren't interested in being parents. FWIW, I was adopted as a baby and have never had any contact with my biological parents, which hasn't done me any harm.

Tubegirl Mon 25-Mar-13 21:43:58

Domjolly thank you for the link, I will have a read.

Children's views are taken into account. The older a child is the more weight is given to their views. In extreme cases a child may be represented separately from the parents.

Whatsthebuzz, I am sorry if you think anyone is belittling your obviously distressing experience. That is not my intention. I haven't read anything on this thread trying to justify mistakes. CAFCASS are severely stretched and undoubtedly the service could be improved. But in principle the idea of having a person independent of the parents to give an unbiased view is a good one. The problems arise in implementation.

WestieMamma Mon 25-Mar-13 21:44:43

Baby hammock - all I can say is that I have worked in London, Reading, Swindon, Bristol, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Watford, Exeter, Taunton, Slough etc and have had many cases over 10 years of indirect or no contact being ordered.

My case was heard in Reading.

I think mediation is excellent, and perhaps it could be used to provide principal evidence, thus avoiding cross examination by unqualified people.

I disagree. Mediation in normal circumstances is excellent but in cases where there have been abuse it's a terrible idea. I would have felt like I was being put back into the abusive situation I'd only just managed to extract myself from.

Tubegirl Mon 25-Mar-13 21:47:34

SolidGoldBrass, do you have any suggestions as to how a person (and I am not taking the point here that this should be limited to men - quite often men are the parents with care) who has been found to have been abusive, could prove that they were no longer a risk? What would you accept as evidence?

Tubegirl Mon 25-Mar-13 21:49:43

WestieMamma - I agree mediation has its limitations, and that is a particularly good example.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:53:11

Tubegirl actions taken since the event eg parenting class, anger management

Evidence of any futher chaotic behaviour have they been in trouble with the law

Multipul children they no longer see is not a good sighn there are indicators they can look for but choose not to

My sister ex has 8 children he wouldnt be able to show he had a relatioship with any of them and if crapcass bothered to ask anyof those mother why he dosent see there children the hairs would stand on the back of there neck since he nearly blined my sister he has had 4 more children and has no contact with any of them in my view its says all you need to know

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 21:57:11

Also doing things like turing up at the school

Thse are all sighns that they have not changed

Tubegirl Mon 25-Mar-13 21:59:39

Parenting classes are a good idea but don't specifically address abuse. Anger management is more specific but there aren't a glut of these available. I personally think that more funding should be given over to these types of schemes. This harks back to my previous point that there should be more joined up thinking. There are some excellent schemes about such as the Domestic Violence Prevention Project. You can read more about them here. Unfortunately they are not state funded and have to charge for their courses for the rehabilitation of abusers. Very often abusers cannot afford these courses, and the legal aid changes mean that the costs are not covered under this route either. I think it is critical that schemes like this are replicated and reproduced throughout the country.

Fleecyslippers Mon 25-Mar-13 22:01:19

Tubegirl - SS in my case seem to be moving towards recommending increases to contact when Ex completes an NSPCC course. The judge has already indicated that completion of the course will not automatically mean he gets more contact.

Dadthelion Mon 25-Mar-13 22:02:03

I think it'd be a good idea to give people the skills and awareness not to have children with someone who has eight children they don't see.

On a general note I think Spero is spot on as usual.

Astley Mon 25-Mar-13 22:03:03

The system totally failed me as the child. I will never trust a body that takes a woman's word over any actual evidence and the clear wishes of the children involved.

WafflyVersatile Mon 25-Mar-13 22:16:47

Can anyone tell me how common or easy it is to have a psych report on the parents where one or both is claiming abuse?

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 22:25:40

WafflyVersatile i think the issue is weather cafcass will take any notice one lady a few pages back mentioned the sw hadnt not even read the physch report and was ready to give her findingsconfused

Cafcass get away with things in terms of evidence that simply would not be allowed in any other cour makes my blood boil i think sw have no role in famioy courts i think two lawyers one gaurdian for the child and experts called to give ebidence like all other cases they simply make it up as they go along like i siad before

Can you imagain a police officer being able to question a witness over the phone and being able to make a report from a 30-40 minute phone call but some how cafcass are allowed never haveing meet you or somtimes even meet the child they can make a report that directs the judges ruling

WafflyVersatile Mon 25-Mar-13 22:33:43

I suspect cafcass is also ridiculously underfunded and resourced.

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 22:50:46

WafflyVersatile dose not change the fact they are biased towards conatct i will say again before you step in the court they have already decied contact will take place

There only issue is establishing how much and even with older children who are capable of knowing there own minds there have been reports of cafcass trying to persuade the children to see that parent.

THAT IS NOT THERE JOB sw are evidence gathers

Domjolly Mon 25-Mar-13 22:56:57

We are also short of police officers ect but we dont simply suspend the rule of law start making things up on the hoff

Can you imagin in a criminal case because the police are exremaly busy and underfunded the Sargent allowed pc plod to do his interview over the phone no one would expect that

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