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to think it's common for abusive men to get unsupervised visitation?

(84 Posts)
sammatanga Thu 21-Mar-19 19:08:41

I've read a number of times over the last few days people saying 'he was mentally and physically violent but he still got 50/50' or 'he was prosecuted for being violent towards me but he still got unsupervised visitation of our children'

I'm sure this applies to women too but I've only read about it in regards to violent men getting unsupervised visitation of their kids.

I ask because I'm in this situation now and it worries me...

Bobbycat121 Thu 21-Mar-19 19:10:58

ofcourse they do. I was told by a social worker to contact my violent ex who is absent and ask him to have contact with our kids (despite him not wanting to) because it was “in their best interest.”

custardtarts Thu 21-Mar-19 19:30:41

I think probably because being "emotionally" abusive can mean a lot of things these days and probably courts see the phrase thrown around a lot when really it's just one person being "mean" to the other - for example I control all our finances because quite frankly my DH couldn't manage a piggy bank and before I took control he was getting constant court letters for "forgetting" to pay bills. Now I hear from a friend going through a break up that that can be classed as emotionally abusive and controlling as advised by his Solicitor!
Yes some people are in relationships which some complete bastards but just because someones DP doesn't like them anymore and their relationship has completely broken down doesn't mean that they are going to treat any children like that?

Ella1980 Thu 21-Mar-19 19:40:59

My ex was emotionally and financially abusive on every level. To the point where he took all of my money so I couldn't buy food and forbid my family from seeing me. He used to wake me up at 2 am demanding that I clean the cooker. The list goes on but some stuff is simply too harrowing for me to write down even five years on.

When I finally found the courage to leave he applied to the courts for full custody of our two boys who were 3 and 6 at the time. He was awarded 50:50 as it wasn't thought that whst he put me through for a decade meant that he was a bad dad.

This was in 2014.

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 10:08:31

Oh god. I am terrified now.

blackteasplease Fri 22-Mar-19 10:22:02

It does happen I think.

bibliomania Fri 22-Mar-19 10:31:54

The courts will start from the presumption that the child should have a relationship with both parents. If the evidence is sufficient, it is possible to challenge that presumption, but it does take good evidence and quite a lot of time.

My exH wasn't very violent physically, but I would categorise him as emotionally abusive. Custard is right in saying that this is an elastic term - in my case, exH quite genuinely tried to persuade 5-year old dd that I (her main carer) wanted to kill her, which, as you can imagine, was pretty destabilising for her. He also made numerous false allegations to SS and GPs and A&E that I was injuring her - there are several medical reports saying "X alleged injury to child, but none was found". it was tough on DD, who had lots of interviews with social workers and felt she was betraying a parent whatever she said. Dd's school was pretty concerned about her emotional wellbeing.

With all this evidence, I was eventually successful in court and got the contact reduced. It's still unsupervised, but it's shorter, and the court order allows me to reduce it further if exH is acting up.

Despite everything, the unsupervised contact is sort of okay now, several years down the line. Dd is older and can understand that her father says things based on anger that are not necessarily based on fact. I wouldn't say he's a great father, but there is a relationship with some positive aspects. Of course children need to be protected from abuse, but it can be worth salvaging some bit of that parental relationship if it's reasonably possible. Emotions do cool down a bit over time.

There's rarely a perfect outcome when it comes contact in these cases. Courts try to bodge together the least worst outcome for the child.

Bluestitch Fri 22-Mar-19 10:33:06

I'd say it was the norm sadly.

Louiselouie0890 Fri 22-Mar-19 11:14:42

I know someone in this situation the reply they had was " he abused you not your children" few weeks later guess what he did it to the kids

Adam3322 Fri 22-Mar-19 11:23:57

Just because they have been abusive or whatver to the other parent does not mean they should be supervised with the children, unless there are major concerns about the safety of the children in unsupervised care of the parent thete should be no need for supervision imo

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 11:46:35

How can evidence that one person threatened the safety of their partner not be a good indicator that they may also threaten the safety of their children Adam3322? I think that "major concerns" should be held, by default, towards anyone who has displayed abusive behaviour. Men abuse women because they are physically stronger, often have greater financial power, and condition them early in the relationship to accept abuse without seeing it for what it is. People in general abuse other people because because they have a pathological need to control and dominate anyone that they see as their "property", but lets not pretend that this isn't a gendered issue. If you don't think that these are behaviours that would be more present in their relationship with their children (who are more physically/ financially/ emotionally vulnerable), then you're not thinking about it hard enough. Anyone who has abused a partner is not, and cannot, ever be a good parent imo. They have lost the right to be given that benefit of the doubt, and contact should be both supervised and minimal until they can prove otherwise. It's just another example of how our society puts the feelings of men above the safety of women and children. How anyone can still be spouting that "family court favours the mother" is beyond me, it's just another MRA misogynist cliche (looking at you, BIL).

OffToBedhampton Fri 22-Mar-19 12:10:01

Yes they do eventually. Even if they get supervised contact whilst DC are young, it lasts 1- 2.5 years before unsupervised if he doesn't breach any conditions. And tbh if a friend or family member of his is supervising, they are unlikely to report breach of conditions. In terms of emotional.abuse it's hard to curtail contact as it's done so insidiously. Physical or other abuse is sometimes easier to clearly report & for CSD to deal with.

My youngest DC sat at Xmas table about 7 years ago saying "daddy said mummy is a horse. Can you change into a horse mummy?" Older DCs soon corrected her "no, whore ..silly.. he said whore!" 😂. (Just one of many many things their dad said or did during supervised contact on his best behaviour)

It made for a great Xmas conversation that year with my whole family there (!!) about how mummy doesn't sell her body for money,
silly daddy, she has a job (followed up by further questions and a "no darling I've got all my arms and legs, don't worry!") And that silly daddy sometimes says silly & mean things about people that aren't true. His behaviour and our reaction to it, helped my DC when he sometimes berated them or went off on one, as we'd talk later after contact- (which was court ordered) if they brought something horrid up he'd done or said - about whether they thought it true or fair? Now much older DC, they take what their dad does or says with a raised eyebrow and huge pinch of salt!! And my eldest even tells him & his new DP off !!

(Apparently oldest DC says to his dad "Well I think that's unnecessary and unkind and you should stop before you upset my sisters") (DS really does talk that way! 😍😁) DC are often more robust that people realise, if RP can catch emotional abuse as it occurs and calmly support DC.

OffToBedhampton Fri 22-Mar-19 12:13:08

wisdom that's very true.
Unfortunately- and this is a point in agreement of your comment- courts have short memories, abused parents/survivors /and/DC don't.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 12:16:29

@WisdomOfCrowds I wish your would have been a judge in my case! I agree with your wholeheartedly. My abusive ex-husband got my kids half of the time, I suffered again one of the worst possible punishments imaginable because I dared to leave him. The boys and I still remain in a rented two-bed five years on while he remains in the five-bed executive family home. He lied on his Form E (Finance Director) and doesn't have to pay me a penny in maintenance despite earning in excess of £105k pa. My biggest regret sadly is that I didn't stay until he hit me.

Despite all of that I believe my kids are better off away from him for at least half of the time. It's not about me as a mum, I have always, and will always, put them first.

He continues to bully remotely but I stay strong. I will not be broken.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 22-Mar-19 12:18:59

You do get the impression that a dad has to murder someone or be caught heading a paedophile ring before the courts decide maybe it isn't in the best interests of the children to be forced into visitation.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 12:22:34

And in my case it wasn't even visitation, it was 50:50 custody!! He applied for full custody originally - again, in yet an attempt to break me and persuade me to change my mind about leaving him.

Didn't work! grin

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 12:23:06


SnuggyBuggy Fri 22-Mar-19 12:25:05

That's grim. It's the mums who have to stay with abusive dad's in order to protect their children from unsupervised contact that I feel really sorry for.

Doyoumind Fri 22-Mar-19 12:31:47

It definitely happens. No one was interested in the history of my ex's behaviour when we went through court as there had been so police, SS etc involvement.

My ex was and is emotionally abusive to my DC but when they are too young to have am opinion in the court's eyes and they know nothing else it's impossible to get the courts to see the damage that's done.

OffToBedhampton Fri 22-Mar-19 12:34:06

That's very sad and I'm glad court listened to and supported you in your concerns. It sounds like.yku had a good experience from court, which on the whole I did too. I think the fact i was realistic all along knowing courts won't 100% protect our DC helped me to come across as reasonable parent all the time.
I think your 'bodge it together' comment is apt about court approach and that where possible /appropriate there are positives about maintaining each parental relationship.

Sunshineinwinter Fri 22-Mar-19 12:36:30

Yep, my dsc who live with me and their dad full time have to see their very abusive mum (abusive to both them and dh) unsupervised and with sleep overs sad

We have given up fighting as we were told it would be emotionally abusing the DC if we dont promote the contact hmm

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 12:38:40

@Doyoumind Exactly the same here. I submitted a nine-page document to Cafcass of the abuse I suffered over a decade. Some of it is still too harrowing five years on for me to mention here. It includes him taking my son who was six at the time away for a week with no prior knowledge. I didn't know where he'd gone or if he was even safe. Haunts me to this day. Doesn't make him a bad dad though. Apparently. He still got 50:50 shared care angry

lackofjoinedupthinking Fri 22-Mar-19 12:38:55

Just because they have been abusive or whatver to the other parent does not mean they should be supervised with the children, unless there are major concerns about the safety of the children in unsupervised care of the parent thete should be no need for supervision imo

If someone is abusive to one person, that makes them an abusive person. It is extremely unlikely that a normal person would be abusive to anyone. It is never the abused person's "fault" that they were abused - if the abuser had not been happy they could have walked away or handled things without being abusive.

Once anyone has been abusive to one person they are abusive and likely to be abusive to others. Once someone has been abusive in one way - say EA - it makes it more likely that they will be abusive in other ways or have already been just not been caught - so someone who is EA is more likely to be physically abusive, sexually abusive, abusive to children.

Everyone should be more aware of this. It is Relate's advice ffs, so why it hasn't reached the courts goodness only knows. Yes, having a relationship with both parents is a good idea. But it should be supervised, supervised, supervised where there has been abuse.

It can be elastic though - for a start abusive people can pick up on the lingo and concepts of abuse and start to masterfully portray their abused spouse is the abuser to all and sundry. So the abused spouse is both being battered by the abuse and living in some kind of real life psychological thriller at the same time.

bibliomania Fri 22-Mar-19 12:42:20

OffToBed, I completely agree about the need to be reasonable. It's not helpful for people to ratchet up the drama. It's important to de-escalate where you can.

I don't envy judges making these decisions.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 12:42:34


the abused spouse is both being battered by the abuse and living in some kind of real life psychological thriller at the same time.

^ This sums up my life perfectly. There will never be an escape.

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