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AIBU To think the Family Court is not fit for purpose?

(262 Posts)
Notwiththeseknees Fri 04-Jan-19 11:06:29

The Judge has seen fit to name Ellie Yarrow, the mother who has fled with her three year old son. Reading the heartbreaking letter from Ellie that her sister posted on Facebook, AIBU to think that this secretive court who are responsible for some dreadful decisions, is no longer fit for purpose.

https://www.facebook.com/1311698241/posts/10216464513147988/

ZeroFuchsGiven Fri 04-Jan-19 11:10:32

I don't really want to click on the fb link can you c&p or summarise?

LostInShoebiz Fri 04-Jan-19 11:11:01

You do appreciate it's “secretive” because it deals with very private and very sensitive information about children too young to consent to their information being made public?

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 11:11:32

I'm not going to look at the Facebook page so I don't know the details. Why don't you paste them here?

flirtygirl Fri 04-Jan-19 11:12:44

Family court and cafcas have worked in this way for a long time.
Many mothers are forced to constantly face their abusers, no legal aid, non molestation orders that aren't worth the paper they are typed on.
And the rise of cries of parental alienation, which seems to have been championed by lawyers in these situations to throw at mainly women leaving abusive situations.
Fleeing is sometimes the only option.

Oratorio Fri 04-Jan-19 11:17:00

I’m not party to the evidence that’s been put before the court, but I will say that having a guardian appointed for a child in private law proceedings is in no way an indicator that the child will go into foster care. It sounds like legal advice is needed.

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 11:20:32

What kinds of checks and balances are made to ensure that these courts are made accountable for poor decision making.

I understand that the nature of the court cases means that having the media do that job is inappropriate, so surely there must be more work done than usual to test the strength of the process and outcome?

I mean, they can't just decide that 'even stevens' is the best way to make it work and just ignore or be deliberately dense about the abusive behaviour of one partner.

CaptainMarvelDanvers Fri 04-Jan-19 11:23:49

I do think that changes do need to happen to the family court system, I doubt it’s perfect. I understand it’s secretive to protect the children but sometimes I think there needs to be a bit more transparency and the system has to be accountable in a more open and clear way. I do think that there are men out there who like to use the court systems as a way to harass and control women.

Saying that, I know a few women and men who have had issues with the family court system and they, and the people close to them, all have an amazing lack of self awareness.

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 11:25:40

The court works on the basis that a child has a right to a relationship with both parents. That's all they are looking at. They will restrict access only if there is a proven safeguarding issue around the child and that doesn't necessarily mean stopping contact either.

Notwiththeseknees Fri 04-Jan-19 11:25:46

I can't cut and paste the entire letter - there is a MN limit. I can do three pages, but the latter pages are harrowing stuff and would require a trigger warning.

flirtygirl Fri 04-Jan-19 11:27:01

It should be secretive but it needs to not have policies that allow abusers to carry on abuse.

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 11:27:01

Give us a basic summary of the case then.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 04-Jan-19 11:28:16

I understand the need for confidentiality, especially for someone vulnerable but find it difficult to trust anything so secretive

Sugarhunnyicedtea Fri 04-Jan-19 11:29:10

It's awful. If the content of that letter is even partly true then that woman and her son are best off as far away from her ex as possible. I wonder if his ex would give a statement to support what Ellie is saying?

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 11:32:08

Ok so I've just seen a story on BBC News. She and the boy have been missing since July. I can understand she may be a woman trying to protect her son from her abusive ex but that child is not going to be able to have a normal life in hiding. A child needs access to healthcare and education.

picklemebaubles Fri 04-Jan-19 11:32:50

As soon as I saw the age gap between them, and that she would have been quite a young mum, I began to question the father's motives. Prejudiced of me I know, but statistically...

Basically, the FB post says she's fleeing coercive control and that the father went for full custody, not 50:50.

Fattymcfaterson Fri 04-Jan-19 11:34:58

I read an article this morning, Ellie is local to me. Local feeling is that she should run and keep in running. It's outrageous that she faces her child being taken away, it's outrageous that her abuser is allowed to still continue to control her through the courts. Its also disgusting that her "side" is not allowed to be reported in the mainstream media.
That man raped and controlled her for years. I believe you Ellie, even if the courts don't.

Sugarhunnyicedtea Fri 04-Jan-19 11:35:51

I'm local too. I can only imagine the people he knows that he threatened her with

LutherRalph1 Fri 04-Jan-19 11:37:13

Another local, and have only heard of this recently so have only seen everything that's available now ( rather than following from the start iyswim)

If I was her, I'd keep running.

MyDcAreMarvel Fri 04-Jan-19 11:39:48

@Doyoumind the little boy is three he doesn’t need to be in school .

Lavender00 Fri 04-Jan-19 11:39:49

First I've heard about this and I'm sat in tears reading it. Ellie's situation really struck a chord with me and my past situation had some similarities.
My heart breaks for Ellie and her family.
#keeprunningellie

Notwiththeseknees Fri 04-Jan-19 11:40:28

I'm sorry, there is so much more in the letter to her family. It runs to 9 pages and I can only show three.

He is a lawyer himself. He is painting her as an unfit mother due to taking citalopram. According to her letter, the son was physically chastised, she was raped regularly, threatened, belittled and he wants the child taken from her as punishment.
His ex-wife went through similar when she left and he would play recordings he had made of her crying for his pleasure.

He seems to have a lot of money, she seems to have none. Maybe more information will come to light, but it is horrifying that a woman is so terrified of our court system not allowing a fair hearing that she has to run with her toddler.

picklemebaubles Fri 04-Jan-19 11:42:57

I don't knee jerk assume that the woman is in the right when she disappears with her children. In this case however...

JohnCRaven Fri 04-Jan-19 11:43:05

It echoes many of the stories on MN and actually very similar to a story I was told by the child in this situation when they grew up (17 now). Child can now see it for what it was but spent their whole childhood in care because of a vindictive parent. I believe her.

LittleBearPad Fri 04-Jan-19 11:44:43

its in the Fail too. Seems the court has allowed her name and the DS’s name and photos to be released so they can be found.

paulstearne Fri 04-Jan-19 11:44:43

I would necessarily say not fit for purpose but it certainly needs a review in how to deal with these things.

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 11:45:40

He will need education soon.

I understand why she's gone but the sad thing is they will more than likely find her now and the boy will end up with his dad full time. The court system is shit but it's unlikely it would have awarded full custody to him originally.

DitaVonPeas Fri 04-Jan-19 11:47:41

I don't knee jerk assume that the woman is in the right when she disappears with her children. In this case however...

Snap.

Sugarhunnyicedtea Fri 04-Jan-19 11:48:01

My understanding is that he doesn't want the child full time, he just doesn't want her to have him. He's been made a ward of court so the judge hasn't awarded full custody to the dad.

DitaVonPeas Fri 04-Jan-19 11:51:39

Do you know these people OP? It's utterly terrifying and extremely sad. If all is as it seems to be from that Facebook link this woman has been very brave indeed. I do hope that doesn't work against her.

Racecardriver Fri 04-Jan-19 11:52:23

She had breached court orders and is now in hiding. That’s not the way a reasonable and responsible parent behaves. On the face of it the father looks like a real piece of work but that doesn’t excuse her behaviour. As a parent you have to learn to work with the systems in place (even if they are often absurd when applied to specific scenarios). I appreciate the need to run from an abusive ex partner but you cannot allow personal needs to trump the needs of a child. The need for a safe and stable home being fundamental. She should have adhered to court orders and taken her legitimate concerns to the relevant professional rather than drawing her own inferences and fleeing. I would hope that she has the good sense to stop this and the courts treat her with the sympathy that is natural to a mother trying to do what is best for her child.

Mary1935 Fri 04-Jan-19 11:54:31

What a bastard he is. Keep running I’d say.
She’s not abused her son so I’m unsure why she’s been named.
He’s obviously got power and influence. 🌺 to Elle.

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 11:55:01

That’s not the way a reasonable and responsible parent behaves. On the face of it the father looks like a real piece of work but that doesn’t excuse her behaviour.

Work with the system? The system that just made your child a ward of court. Because of your abusive ex, who has no intention of looking after the child, has manipulated the court to ostracise you from your child's life.

Fuck that for a game of soldiers. I'd run too.

GabsAlot Fri 04-Jan-19 11:55:56

i do get why she wants nothing to do with her ex but she doesnt know he would have got full custody anyway its very rare

shes just proving him right running off one day he'll find her or police wil and just prove that shes not thinking straight

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 11:57:59

She was encouragin a relationship between her child and the ex. She was fighting for a 50-50 split Gabs

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 12:01:16

Sorry, not sure I got to my point there, I was only saying that she's not running away with her child because she wants nothing to do with her ex.

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 12:01:33

It sounds like she was a scared individual who hasn't received decent advice and support. The child would not have been taken off her and put into care. It's terrible she was left believing that was a possibility. Her situation is undoubtedly worse now because she's gone against the system.

Houseonahill Fri 04-Jan-19 12:05:57

I read this on the news this morning and my exact thoughts were wtf has he done to make her run from everyone and everything. As someone who fled an abusive relationship my exact fear was I would be portrayed to be crazy and he would win any amount of custody. Luckily for me he wasn't interested in pursuing it but this could so easily have been me and I would of done the exact same thing. I hope she is free of this drama soon poor woman sad

SchadenfreudePersonified Fri 04-Jan-19 12:06:57

That’s not the way a reasonable and responsible parent behaves.

It's the way a terrified person behaves.

LMDC Fri 04-Jan-19 12:10:06

Here's a non-fb link

Queenofmyownheart Fri 04-Jan-19 12:11:58

I was just reading about this this morning and honestly it strikes so many chords with me.

The bit that really got me is the father asked for full custody or for the child to be put into care. That isn't the actions of a loving parent.

If a court told me I had to give my abusive ex access to the children I'd do exactly what she has done.

The family courts have no idea, my ex tried to kill me and when my solicitor asked for the non molestation order to be made for a year instead of 6 months the judge said it was unnecessary! And would only restrict the roads to very specific roads I walked along to take my children to school. Leaving me terrified to even take the kids to the park because it was a different route along different roads. It's a bloody joke.

Xenia Fri 04-Jan-19 12:15:04

I read her letter. The relationship sounds awful.

The appointment of a guardian by the cout would be to protect the interests of the child, not a prelude to removing the children from her. The child''s interests come first and usually that means having contact withb both parents.
Being required to bring her child back from Florida presumably because the father's contact was during that time is presumabhly her and her family's mistake in not followint what was agreed. The fact the child might not want to be with his father when he is 3 is nothing unusual - they often don't want to go outside and you pick them up and make them and in 5 minutes time they are okay. The fact you have to pull a child off you to leave it at its nursery or send to the other parent is not evidence of abuse by that other parent.

However she is right the father might have been able to twist things around and seek sole contact with the child.

They may well not have a life on the run. People do go abroad, get new identities and live happy and full lives for ever.

swingofthings Fri 04-Jan-19 12:17:36

Who can possibly comment? Hell have he's side of story supported by those who believe in him and she'll have hers supported by her friends and family. This is why cases like these goes to court and a judge makes a seemingly unbiased decision based on the evidence put in front of him.

The problem with such cases is that when you feel abused yourself, it is hard to convince yourself that it does t mean your child would be to. In the end, maybe she is doing her best by her child and it will be all worth it, or maybe she is damaging her child. One sure thing, no-one who doesn't know these people can know one way or the other.

arranbubonicplague Fri 04-Jan-19 12:18:28

This is what happens when Legal Aid is stripped and no longer available to vulnerable parties. Between that and various others cuts to the criminal legal system, there are miserable abuses being carried out in our name.

Sugarhunnyicedtea Fri 04-Jan-19 12:21:10

Hell have he's side of story supported by those who believe in him and she'll have hers supported by her friends
The odd thing is that, although she has lots of support, he appears to have none. That speaks volumes

LangCleg Fri 04-Jan-19 12:26:58

This is what happens when Legal Aid is stripped and no longer available to vulnerable parties. Between that and various others cuts to the criminal legal system, there are miserable abuses being carried out in our name.

This.

The reasons our family courts are (overall) good for children are the same reasons they can often be useless for abused women. Restoration of legal aid would go a long way in combating this while maintaining privacy for children.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 04-Jan-19 12:30:36

What I've really taken from threads like this is be really really careful in choosing who you have children with because if he turns out to be an abuser you can't protect them from him. Dada rights to access are more important than the welfare of the child.

Lovemusic33 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:31:59

Yes, apparently he doesn’t want the child with him so if the child is taken from her he will probably end up in care/adoption.

The BBC seem to be covering her side of the story whilst others are covering his side, the fact he has money and a good career means he’s made out to look like the good person in all this.

I do hope they are never found, I hope they start a new life somewhere else (they could be abroad, they could have been given new identities, all done illegally?).

SaturdayNext Fri 04-Jan-19 12:32:34

What kinds of checks and balances are made to ensure that these courts are made accountable for poor decision making.

Seriously? Are you not aware that there is a whole appeal system?

AuchAyeTheNo Fri 04-Jan-19 12:32:44

I am really glad they have named her and shared pictures, hopefully it gets her more help and support.

Hopefully if shes near Scotland she will see this and message me and I would happily give her a place to hide safely

Bennyismydog Fri 04-Jan-19 12:33:01

If her letter is true I hope she keeps running, never gets caught and has a wonderful life with her son.

Eatmycheese Fri 04-Jan-19 12:33:33

Her letter is heartbreaking
And I believe every word of it

Gth1234 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:34:01

There's nothing on the FB link that will cause any concern.

Gth1234 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:34:01

There's nothing on the FB link that will cause any concern.

Lovemusic33 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:35:47

Sadly there are not enough checks, courts have failed children many times and they have been placed with an abusive parent, we see it in the media where children have been abused or even murdered by the adult they were placed with.

Gth1234 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:35:50

I am concerned about Family Courts, indeed any courts, doing things in secret. That allows for corruption and bad justice.

Lots of things done in our name don't seem to be right to the normal man on the Clapham omnibus.

greenberet Fri 04-Jan-19 12:39:27

I HAVENT read the story but the posts on here, what I’ve read on MN and my own experience are enough to agree family court not fit for purpose. Whoever said they have no bloody idea has got it spot on. The system allows abuse to continue even perpetrates it itself!

As someone who has “suffered” but mildly in the context of this mother my heart goes out to her. I hope by being made public somehow she gets the support she needs.

My x wanted the full custody, used contact throughout the divorce process to intimidate and abuse me and my kids were 14 at time. Now process is over couldn’t give a shiny shit about whether he sees them unless it suits him. Sadly for them the fact that ows family is not local means they haven’t seen him over xmas - the damage this does to me will never be healed. And the fucking courts allow it all- how can a parent who is abusive to a child’s mother be capable of having any sort of relationship with anyone never mind a child who is incapable of distinguishing between abusive & healthy behaviour.

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 12:41:20

*What kinds of checks and balances are made to ensure that these courts are made accountable for poor decision making.

Seriously? Are you not aware that there is a whole appeal system?*

That relies wholey on the person who has just been dragged through the mill to throw themselves through it once again.

What internal checks and balances are made to ensure, for example, that a lack of legal aid doesn't leave one party at a massage disadvantage to their abusive partner, who happens to be a lawyer?

And also systematic checks, based in principles, and changing principles and their outcomes and also fairness, that don't necessarily relate to one individual case?

Thanks for assuming I'm an idiot though.

PinaColada1 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:41:28

I actually think if a father physically abuses his spouse or child he should not have access to the child. There is overwhelming evidence that conflict is far worse for the child than keeping a relationship with both parents. However the current ‘kids must have both parents’ lobby does not want to acknowledge what’s best for the child.

In this case it’s clear the dad abused his partners. What’s best for his child is to remove himself from their lives and let the mum bring her child up without the added stress and torture of threats and court cases.

Banana770 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:42:49

When I read the article about her I thought there must be more to her story. That letter has the ring of truth and I believe her.

greenberet Fri 04-Jan-19 12:43:07

DAMAGE TO THEM

SaturdayNext Fri 04-Jan-19 12:46:59

Some of that letter is a bit odd. For instance:

"I had to bring my son home 3 days early from a family holiday to Florida at Patrick’s insistence and the courts disgusting decision. It cost my mum hundreds for new flights and missed days, What father that loves his child would want their child to miss family holidays!"

If she booked a holiday at a time when her child was due to see his father, she's not exactly in a strong position.

Also, is there any independent evidence of the allegation that the father wants his son put into care? There's no mention of it in the reports I can find, and I suspect that may be a misunderstanding of the advice the mother has received about the effect of a guardian being appointed. It certainly isn't true that the appointment of a guardian automatically goes hand in hand with a foster care arrangement.

The reports indicate that she disappeared before giving evidence. If you don't use the opportunity that the system gives you to set the record straight, unfortunately you aren't helping yourself.

Lovemusic33 Fri 04-Jan-19 12:48:59

green I agree, a man that’s abusive to his wife/partner is a huge risk to his children. It makes me angry when people say “well he only hit his wife, hasn’t laid a finger on his children”, someone who is capable of abusing a woman is capable of abusing anyone.

I know of a case that went through family courts, I was a part of it (I don’t want to give away too much detail), a mother was in court to have her children taken away from her, she suffered from depression, the kids were neglected due to the abuse her ex had given her, ex had moved out and things got worse, the court wanted to place the children with their father but they did no checks on him, they didn’t even see him with the children, yet the mother was observed daily with her children, watched like a hawk by social services, the father was allowed to take the kids for a weekend and was never observed by social services. He was verbally abusive towards them and occasionally physiclly but the court was not aware of this as no checks had been carried out. Why were so many checks carried out on the mother? Because concerns were raised? Why were no checks done on the father?

NeverTwerkNaked Fri 04-Jan-19 12:49:01

I could barely bear to click on this thread.

I am a lawyer, albeit in a very different field and I have been shocked by how naive the family court system is about abusive and controlling men. I can totally understand why someone would have no choice but to run.

My son made a disclosure about his dad doing something that risked his life, he told me and he told school. But dad denied it and social services and cafcass both kept telling me “it’s your word against his” without ever speaking to my son. Luckily the judge had more sense and got dad to admit he did it but it was a terrifying and horrifying time

MumMumMumm Fri 04-Jan-19 12:49:19

I hope she's abroad and building a new life for her and her son.

Remaining in hiding here in the UK doesn't seem feasible long term now her photo is out, especially if(?) the police are involved. I'm not sure if they are but the father's SM post from a few months ago suggests they were.

What the hell goes an almost 40yo man want with an 18yo girl to begin with, oh I know.. power imbalance.

divadee Fri 04-Jan-19 12:49:50

Don't you think if the police and courts thought she was really a serious threat to the son that they would of released this information sooner? That strikes home to me that he really could be a manipulative and wealthy abuser who has finally got a judge to release the information.

NeverTwerkNaked Fri 04-Jan-19 12:50:34

Oh yeah and the Cafcass officer made sneery comments about my mental health problems - I became suicidal as a consequence of exH abuse and my psychologist helped me see what a mess he was making of my head. The courts are dreadfully naive and children are at risk.

cestlavielife Fri 04-Jan-19 12:54:13

Apppointing a legal guardian for child means to represent him in court right?
So not same as making him a ward of court or taking into care
So woukd be aimed at considering child

It sounds a mess but also she panicked...system may not be correct but it is a system...

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 12:55:13

It sounds a mess but also she panicked...system may not be correct but it is a system...

Yeah, like a Kafkaesque nightmare

SaturdayNext Fri 04-Jan-19 12:55:55

That relies wholey on the person who has just been dragged through the mill to throw themselves through it once again.

The problem here is that she hasn't gone through the mill, as she disappeared without giving evidence.

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 12:58:02

*That relies wholey on the person who has just been dragged through the mill to throw themselves through it once again.

The problem here is that she hasn't gone through the mill, as she disappeared without giving evidence.*

That response was in reply to someone who despaired that I asked what checks and balances are in place on a family court and responded that the appeal system is the checks and balances.

It was not in reference to this particular case.

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 13:02:36

I agree she panicked. When you're in the middle of it you can't think clearly.

It's probable the court did see her ex for what he was but they were in the middle of the court process and if was for the court to resolve.

MumMumMumm Fri 04-Jan-19 13:05:40

I've been reading articles about this and they state she hasn't used her bank accounts since she went off radar in July.

How will she be able to support herself and her son financially, work and have access medical care etc? I would hope she's got some loyal friends / distant relatives making sure they don't go without.

greenberet Fri 04-Jan-19 13:07:52

Lovemusic - why am I not surprised by what you have said - I too suffer with depression - for duration of 20 year marriage although diagnosed before - I was told depression is a symptom of an abusive relationship - and i never thought my marriage was abusive until it ended - yes there were issues but I thought these were “normal”

JUdge told me my depression would be better once divorce over and I could get back to fulltime work after not working for 20 years! Twice during divorce process I’ve be under MH team - right now I a pretty severe and back to Gp next week. X agreed i was fit enough for work but then refused permission fro me to take kids on holiday for two weeks accompanied by another adult due to depression.

The courts need bringing up to speed on MH as well! Absolutely disgusting the way I was treated in court even knowing my vulnerability

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 13:09:28

Yes, Mum, that was my point earlier. I don't think the judge thinks she will harm her son intentionally but being on the run with no access to income, healthcare etc is unlikely to be good for her or her child.

MumMumMumm Fri 04-Jan-19 13:16:59

It's frightening how MH is used as a stick to beat parents with. It's wrong how some parents with anxiety or depression are stigmatized as being incapable. Some of the best mother's I know have had brushes with minor mental health problems.

I thank my lucky stars that my DC's father isn't the sort to drag me through court and use mental health against me. It wouldn't be hard to portray me as "unstable" on days that my anxiety disorder is bad.

greenberet Fri 04-Jan-19 13:18:54

@NeverTwerkNaked - I was questioned by x barrister on my MH too - implying that it didnot exist - the “questioning” only stopped because I ran out the court after saying if I say I’ve been suicidal does this make it real. The same judge that allowed this had previously seen my MH support worker as I had to take her to court on the morning of my hearing to get hearing adjourned as judge did not believe me in telephone hearing when i said I was not well enough to attend.

Auntiepatricia Fri 04-Jan-19 13:23:17

I’m sure you all think you could do a better job but the reality is that it’s extremly difficult to legislate people’s emotions and behaviours behind closed doors. They are right to focus solely on the child and their welfare/rights. Family courts are a cat fight, not a legal forum, and across the board the mums and dads are liars, abusers and/or self interested in every case. Either one or both parties. When both parties are reasonable it doesn’t end up in court. So good luck trying to legislate a bunch of liars with little or no proof other than the word of invested people. It’s a nightmare.

People make terrible choices for who to have children with and people are vulnerable through no fault of their own. And I feel desperately sorry for those mums and dads who fall into that category and end up in court. But the court can’t just go on gut feeling of who that is. It would lead to horrific injustices. So the child’s welfare and the child’s rights being the consideration of proceedings is the only way I suspect, them being the innocent party in their grown-ups mess.

joanmcc Fri 04-Jan-19 13:24:27

Seems entirely reasonable to publicly identify kidnappers.

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 13:56:44

So good luck trying to legislate a bunch of liars with little or no proof other than the word of invested people. It’s a nightmare.

Well, that's the nature of the job then, isn't it? You can't just throw your hands up with a passive aggressive war cry of, "could you do a better job?".

The system needs to be robust enough that the same evidence is called for no matter which court the case is heard in or which judge is listening. It needs to be able to demonstrate that everyone in the systems is on a similar footing with reagerd to resources - how that's achieved without legal aid is beyond me. And it must be clear that some parties are acting maliciously and must do further work to ensure that they haven't become another arm of abuse.

And if you cannot achieve that then you should bloody well say so because from your own account it seems as productive to toss a bloody coin.

Notwiththeseknees Fri 04-Jan-19 15:28:37

To reply to a PP, no I don't know the lady or her family. There was just something that made me want to look a little deeper. But this isn't an isolated incident. The Family Courts are a kafkaesque nightmare.

In my opinion, for something as important as custody, the cases should be heard by s panel of three judges - same as a magistrates court, same as the Court of Appeal. That way it is less likely that an individual prejudice can prevail or the 'old boy network' can take precedence.

Doyoumind Fri 04-Jan-19 15:31:35

Some family court hearings are actually heard by magistrates. There are so many cases going through the court that it's not even feasible to have them all heard by one judge, let alone three. Where on earth would the money come from? And some judges are women, you know.

flirtygirl Fri 04-Jan-19 15:35:00

To those saying some people make terrible choices with whom they have kids. It has no relevance here. We are talking of the courts being used by abusers to carry on their abuse. Victim blaming is not relevant.

Should we only help those whose husband or partner started to abuse them after 10 years together but not those who began to be abused after 6 months or 1 year, as they should have chosen better??

The courts need overhauling. And she could have changed her name by deed poll legally and be in hiding.

My friend did this years ago to escape abusive parents and brother and the police helped her and she moved to a new area with new name. Her case never went to court as she was in immediate danger and had to go into hiding.

Someone may well be helping Ellie, even law enforcement.

Moneyconfusion22 Fri 04-Jan-19 15:37:53

Another local too.

This man used controlling ehaviour throughout the relationship if her letter is to be believed, and I do believe her as well. What she described is all too familiar behaviour of controlling men,

Ask why a 38yr old man would want a relationship with an 18 yet old woman.. There was a financial imbalance and power imbalance from Day 1. At 18 she would have been easy to control.

I hope she stays gone.Anything to prevent this child from growing into an abusing arsehole like his father,

My feeling is she must using false details. She will know her child needs medical input from time to time and the only way she could do this is by using a false name,

Moneyconfusion22 Fri 04-Jan-19 15:39:07

joanmcc she’s his mother and not a kidnapper

picklemebaubles Fri 04-Jan-19 16:27:50

I think maybe the journalists have a better understanding than first appears- why else would they be constantly including her age and his if not to draw attention to that dynamic?

SushiMonster Fri 04-Jan-19 16:35:38

This is what happens when Legal Aid is stripped and no longer available to vulnerable parties. Between that and various others cuts to the criminal legal system, there are miserable abuses being carried out in our name.

This.

How many women (and their children) are murdered by their partners/ex-partners? Even after there being clear proof of intent to harm, and the police being aware and the woman begging for help? Fucking SHIT LOADS. That is how many.

floribunda18 Fri 04-Jan-19 16:38:04

Surely the whole point of women's refuges is that someone can escape with their child and be safe?

Why should that be held against someone?

SaturdayNext Fri 04-Jan-19 16:42:58

Apparently this mother did have legal aid?

SaturdayNext Fri 04-Jan-19 16:46:05

floribunda18, people who escape to refuges aren't normally completely out of communication: therefore if, for instance, court orders for access are made, the expectation is that they will be complied with and they can be enforced. Children in refuges can be assumed to be safe, and people in refuges can also take part fully in Family Court proceedings. The problem in this case is that the mother isn't in a refuge, and has disappeared so no-one knows whether the child is safe

papayasareyum Fri 04-Jan-19 16:58:25

when was she last seen and is it possible to verify the authenticity of that letter? When women and small babies/children disappear like this, they rarely stay away for more than a few weeks before being found. She hasn’t used her phone or bank cards since she left. It’s been 6 months. Where is she and how is she supporting herself?

Elfinablender Fri 04-Jan-19 17:05:18

Oh shit, Papaya, I hope the thing you are not saying is wrong sad

DeloresJaneUmbridge Fri 04-Jan-19 17:13:51

Papaya...That's why they have had to say they are concerned. No hint of them anywhere.

Gone underground is what the media are saying so might have changed name or left the country.

I gather some family members are facing charges of perjury so I guess theymay know where she is and are not saying.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 04-Jan-19 17:31:35

I wasn't trying to victim blame those who pick the wrong partner, I feel really really sorry for them because there are no guarantees to picking an non-abusive partner and to not be able to protect your child from them must be fucking terrifying.

I also feel sad reading the dilemmas on here from women who should LTB but are scared of their DC having alone time with them.

papayasareyum Fri 04-Jan-19 17:35:46

the letter contains a lot of very personal, very damning stuff about her ex and is handwritten with a particular writing style (content, not the writing) so I assume they've verified it's authenticity in some way? It's just very very unusual for someone to go off radar in this way for 6 months without being seen or heard. Especially with a child.

MrsWillGardner Fri 04-Jan-19 17:36:14

Mumsnet are we allowed to paste the letter???

MrsFoxPlus4 Fri 04-Jan-19 19:58:42

It’s frightening how he threatened her with “people he knew” (Iv taken that in a violent way) and now she’s disappeared. Yes she’s left a letter, but her family have been writing hoe much they miss them, how they hope she’s safe etc. I hope she is safe and he hasn’t done something to her!

Hefffalump Fri 04-Jan-19 21:03:01

Does the child becoming a ward of the court mean that as soon as she's found the child will be taken into protective custody / care?

Xenia Fri 04-Jan-19 21:03:59

I don't think you can paste the letter in case it discloses details the court has not allowed to be released and also because it will be the lday's copyright (if she wrote it).

Igmum Fri 04-Jan-19 21:10:49

Terrible story. I hope she and the child are safe and well.
Sadly the Family Courts are not fit for purpose. This is something that Women’s Aid have been campaigning about for decades. There is guidance for judges on dealing with cases involving violence but it is widely ignored. Children have been killed during contact with violent fathers. We had seven years of going through the Family Courts with a violent, drug addict, alcoholic ex. Plenty of evidence of his violence, his drugs, his stalking. They didn’t care - really. Mind blowing.
Yes, going on the run is absolutely the wrong thing to do in a sane society. Sadly this isn’t a description of the UK Courts. To keep her child safe this mother needs to run and keep on running. Good luck to her.

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