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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

*another

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

@bibliomania
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

@lackofjoinedupthinking

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.

nrpmum Fri 22-Mar-19 12:44:16

Yes

Chocolateisfab Fri 22-Mar-19 12:49:03

My barrister once told me judge's are reckless with other people's dc....
I know a woman who's ex went to prison for sexually abusing one of her dc.

I am talking the entire childhood of the oldest dc....

On release he got overnights with the other dc because he hadn't touched them...
A fucking warped system imo.

lackofjoinedupthinking Fri 22-Mar-19 12:50:36

@Ella1980 I am really sorry to hear that, and sadly you are not alone flowers

flirtygirl Fri 22-Mar-19 14:21:17

Yep it's the norm.

In fact many women stay in the situation as they think they can control the effect on their children, whereas with 50/50 visitation they're is 50% of the time that they have absolutely no control over.

I think the only way is to not engage with the courts and when they leave the relationship if it is seriously abusive then they need to do an effective runner and move as far away as is possible, ending all contact.

Not a popular view but the courts do sanction abuse to continue, and sometimes the control and being dragged to court time and time again is part of the abuse. Even when these men move on with other people and more kids they still want to assert control.

flirtygirl Fri 22-Mar-19 14:30:07

Im now out of an abusive relationship but I will not engage with courts and ss as my childhood was blighted by them.

My and my sister were abused by our stepdad and we were made wards of courts. My mum was not given the chance once told what was happening to protect us. She would have stopped all contact etc.

The courts gave us first supervised then unsupervised contact, this from from age 10 for me but my younger sister was aged 2 and older aged 12. It was unsupervised after around 3 years. He served a short sentence then got 3 years probation.

My mum was not allowed to stop contact so they let a convicted paedophile have unsupervised contact with a 5, 12 and 15 year old. We as teens kept going in turns to supervise our younger sister.

My mum was never listened to.
The court system damaged me just as much as the original abuse did.

My sister bought a successful case in her twenties as he had been allowed free reign to groom and abuse her in her teens. I did not bring a case as knew my mental health could not take it. The questioning my sister took almost broke her.
Ss and cafcas were told they needed to learn lessons.

They never learn and I will never engage with them.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 14:40:48

@flirtygirl

So sorry to read that you were not listened to either, it really is shocking.

You say that...
I think the only way is to not engage with the courts and when they leave the relationship if it is seriously abusive then they need to do an effective runner and move as far away as is possible, ending all contact.

But how would this have been possible in my case with two children age 3 and 6?

The ridiculous decision made by the courts means it is ultimately impossible for me to escape my ex's control (although it is far less than it was) even though I am now divorced. It always will be.

bibliomania Fri 22-Mar-19 14:54:56

You were failed badly by the courts, flrtty.

CheshireChat Fri 22-Mar-19 15:50:24

I've yet to hear of any abusive person that wasn't an arsehole towards their children as well, especially as they get a bit older and have their own opinions

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 15:57:17

@CheshireChat

You're right, my 11 yo is just starting to see his dad for what it really is.

My ex has said thimgs to my kids such as to "Watch out for mum's partner because he could be a paedo, you never know" and "Your mum is lazy because she can't afford to buy you a big house with your own bedrooms". The list goes on...

It hurts but we just stand strong against the bullying.

IM0GEN Fri 22-Mar-19 16:03:32

It’s because judges and courts see abuse as a relationship problem. They believe that just because a man abused his wife , he won’t abuse the kids. Because deep down they think that somehow she did something to deserve it and the kids are innocent.

They dont understand that abuse is caused by the abuser. It’s how they do relationships, it’s about control. They might sexually abuse their daughter and physically abuse their son and emotionally and financially abuse their wife.

It’s all still abuse. He causes it all.

TwoRoundabouts Fri 22-Mar-19 16:07:39

@Chocolateisfab family law isn't criminal law so the amount of proof needed is much lower. And I know one definite case of where the abusive male ex-partner dare not touch or even tell off too much a child, who is now an adult. Did help that all the neighbours were hyper-vigilant to child abuse due to another ex-neighbour, who was female.

@Ella1980 your children will be adults soon enough so you won't have anything to do with your ex unless they force the issue and most adult children know if their parents detest each other.

lackofjoinedupthinking Fri 22-Mar-19 17:10:37

@tworoundabouts when the kids grow up the abusive people don't usually roll over for their tummies to be tickled. It would hopefully be easier in relation to the now adult children, but it isn't necessarily the end of game playing, rumours, sometimes violence.

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:15:34

So basically there's not much point in me expecting much from court then sad

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:17:15

I've seen the way he treats his daughter from a previous relationship. She doesn't want to go there. She's told me she's scared of him. It's awful and he's not a good father. I'm so sad my son is going to be subjected to the same and there's nothing I can do about it.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 17:34:20

@sammatanga

Are Cafcass involved? Depending on the ages of your children they may possibly interview them for their wishes and Feelings?

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:37:14

@Ella1980 they will be. He's not talking yet and still in his 0-3 baby grows though 🙈 it has gone to a MARAC meeting but not sure that means anything... his ex also has a non molestation order against him.

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:37:38

0-3 month

Starlight456 Fri 22-Mar-19 17:41:01

How old is dc?

Do you have any evidence. I had evidence that ex was abisive . Dv while I was holding baby.

Cafcass recommenced psychological evaluation before contact . Ex withdrew from court so never got that far in process

I do think 50/50 care is sometimes used as abusers to continue to control ex partners

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:44:06

He's less than 6 months. He's also breastfed and I want him and bf for 2 years if possible. Never as an attempt to stop contact. I always wanted this. I'm scared that will order overnights and that I won't be able to keep up with breastfeeding as I find it really hard to express.

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:45:43

I have text messages where he has admitted to a lot of stuff and had also been verbally abusive. I have messages from his ex and his mother warning me to be careful (I know this isn't evidence as such). He has also admitted to having anger management issues which I have proof of.

sammatanga Fri 22-Mar-19 17:48:18

Sadly he is very rarely abusive in a way which is recordable. Most is spontaneous and face to face. Only a couple of times in front of other people and that was milder stuff...

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 22-Mar-19 17:51:12

I was told by my solicitor 'the family court system is sadly reactive not proactive'. Yes it took my DD being emotionally and verbally abused and telling an independent third party before contact was stopped.

Drogosnextwife Fri 22-Mar-19 18:51:25

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

Ok 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

Really Adam3322, hmm

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 19:21:45

@sammatanga

He's tiny bless him so I don't really know how it will play out. My youngest was three and weaning off the boob but I had no choice but to stop when it went 50:50. But of course this is different as your little boy is so young. Surely the courts will see that? I would very much hope so.

Abusers are very clever in hiding their abuse. Nobody could believe me when I left "Mr Charming" and some even doubted he could be anything but wonderful. Evidence therfore is almost impossible to provide although of course that doesn't make the cruelty any less real.

I know what a hard time you must be going through right now x

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 19:25:39

@sammatanga

If his ex has a NMO against him then he has history? Is this something you knew about before getting into a relationship with him or did he not tell you?

GunpowderGelatine Fri 22-Mar-19 19:28:44

YANBU. I'm sick of women being told to "be nice" to the man who abused them/beat them/raped them/all of the above because "for the sake of the children". It's a problem with the system. Women aren't humans, they are bots designed to placate nasty men all so Disney Dad can come along and pull the wool over his children's eyes while the mother picks up the donkey work and usually the bills too. And what makes it worse is that, while she's being told by all and sundry that not wanting to contact her abuser is "being difficult", there's a whole army of people behind him telling him what a good dad he is hmm

Adam3322 Fri 22-Mar-19 19:36:45

if no harm has ever come to the children why should he have to be supervised with them? unless there is a risk of kidnap or serious harm why should anyone need to be watched like a hawk when in care of thier children

IM0GEN Fri 22-Mar-19 19:43:42

Because he’s violent and abusive . Generally it’s good to keep violent people from harming children, rather than wait until it’s happened.

I’m surprised this is a new concept for you Adam.

SnuggyBuggy Fri 22-Mar-19 20:35:32

If someone is a shit in one way they tend to be shits in plenty of other ways.

Besides surely a decent parent would give a shit about the well being of their child. If I was a non-resident parent and my child didn't want to stay overnight with me I like to think I would work on the relationship as best I can until they felt ready to do an overnight rather than stamp my feet and bully them into an unwanted sleepover.

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 20:43:05

You know what happens when people abuse animals Adam? We stop them from being allowed to own other animals And when someone has abused a vulnerable person? We use DBS checks to stop them working with other vulnerable people. Because we understand that past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour, and that safe guarding is more important than pandering to known abusers. People who hurt other people should not be allowed unsupervised care of more vulnerable people. For the avoidance of doubt let me state it plainly - women are people, and children are more vulnerable people.

Look at it this way. Imagine you have a pet cat and a pet hamster, and in your area there is an epidemic of foxes running around killing cats and hamsters. 98% of the time when a cat or hamster is found dead, a fox did it. Now say that one day a fox kills your cat. Would you stick the fox straight in with your pet hamster saying "well there's no indication that this fox will eat my hamster. I've never seen this fox eat anything other than a cat. Not all foxes are like that. The hamster will probably benefit from time alone with the fox." No, of course you fucking wouldn't.

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 20:45:11

Also, a risk of "serious harm"? So a little bit of harm is OK. Just like how abusing women "or whatever" is OK. Because it's pretty clear Adam that by "or whatever" what you really mean is "she's making it up".

Bugsymalonemumof2 Fri 22-Mar-19 20:49:43

Less than 1% get no contact.

I managed to get one for my ex though and it took him admitting 46 serious incidents, a police conviction and him losing it with the judge

Rinoachicken Fri 22-Mar-19 20:54:43

Sorry but this was my experience too. ExH was emotionally abusive and controlling and also regularly raped me, but still gets to have the kids eoweekend ‘because he’s not a danger’ to them hmm

Gin96 Fri 22-Mar-19 21:22:28

How can it be right a rapist can have unsupervised visits😞 I agree women and children are not listened to in court.

Meandwinealone Fri 22-Mar-19 21:31:18

Very many women do not call the police every time they’re hurt by their partner.

Emotional abuse is invisible.

So in a court of law it’s very hard to prove. And in your case op, I would think it would be extra hard as your child is so young.

I think you literally need to attempt murder for anyone to think it’s not a good idea for you to have contact.

So my advice would be to move as far away as you can for now. Change all your numbers.

You hear tales of good men who are caught in a never ending cycle of trying to get contact and failing and i feel sorry them, so if it can happen to them, you can do it to an abuser.

flirtygirl Fri 22-Mar-19 22:24:45

Sorry this subject is close to my heart, thank you.

Sammatanga I know it's not as easy as to say don't engage. If he does drag you into court and you haven't moved etc then read up on it all, knowledge is power. Arm yourself. Ask for second opinions with cafcass and social services.

Ella1980 you are right that it's not easy to just move away and now you are part of the system it's almost impossible to get out. I'm sorry as he will use the system to punish you. Its sad. flowers to you and your children and to all the other women and children in this situation.

It's people like Adam3233 that agree with a system that keeps children and women in contact with abusers. An abusive man cannot be a good parent. They are just very charming people but their masks can and do slip but there is never cafcass or a judge there to see it.

We take pets way from abusers and ban them for life from keeping pets but we willingly put children with abusers.

CheshireChat Fri 22-Mar-19 22:26:02

Adam3322 because whilst the woman (usually, but not always) is there, the abuse is usually focused on her. Once the main target is out of reach, the abuser looks for someone else to torment and the kids are the most vulnerable, not to mention it prelongs the woman's abuse indirectly.

It's highly unlikely someone will make somebody else's life a living hell and be otherwise a lovely individual, it just doesn't work like that.

It also veers into the 'she made me do it/ they drove me to it' territory.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 22:39:59

@Adam3322

As you refer to kidnap, I shall tell you just a little of my experience of my abusive ex-husband. I still find it hard emotionally to recall five years on.

One day in March 2014 I had become so mentally distressed by my husband's constant financial and psychological abuse that I decided that enough was enough, I needed to be around for my kids as they grew up.

I left the family home at 8.30 am and dropped my 6 yo off at school. I went to my parents house with my 3 yo and asked them if we could stay a while as I couldn't deal with the relentless fear any more.

I messaged my husband at approx 12pm to tell him we were going to stay with mum and dad for a while (they lived about 15 mins away from us) as I needed some space and time to think. My husband knew that the marriage had pretty much broken down but had previously said that I could not leave him or I would "lose everything."

At 3pm I got a call from 6 yo's primary school saying very unusually dad had collected from school. I also was told my ex had contacted the playgroup the 3 yo attended to ask if he was in.The penny began to drop and the nightmare became real.

I drove to the marital home to find that in the approximate 8 hours I had been away ex had changed the locks.

What's worse is he had taken my 8 yo.

I did not know where.

My little 3 yo, who had never been without his big brother for a day of his life before, kept asking me where he was.

I called and called my ex but he did not answer. I called the police again and again but they said as he was his dad with PR nothing could be done.

I don't remember much of that first night apart from literally howling for my boy. I remember at one point my mum having to fight me to take a knife away so that I didn't cut my wrists. I couldn't sleep for nightmares-was my baby safe?

One week later my ex made contact. He demanded I meet them with my other son in a nearby McDonald's. He threatened to take my other boy too unless I went back to him.

For months after that ex's solicitor deemed it reasonable that the boys would be separated at all times in case I...I repeat...I tried to take them both. So ex got to use the children as a bartering tool.

About six months after this arrangement ex took me to court for full custody. He was awarded 50:50.

I hope this helps to clarify how an abuser can cause psychological pain above and beyond even the comprehension of most and also how our court system often fails women like myself.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 22:45:43

*6 yo not 8 yo.

SD1978 Fri 22-Mar-19 22:48:12

Unfortunately, abuse of a partner, but no 'documented' abuse of the child, shows no risk to the child, and doesn't necessarily affect contact awarded. Although I don't see how watching your parent being abused can't be seen as affecting the child. Also, because EA can be difficult to prove, it can have less importance. So yes. Access is given to abusive parents because of this. Then there are situations when there is a perception of EA due to how far the relationship has disintegrated between the adults.

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 22:50:58

You hear tales of good men who are caught in a never ending cycle of trying to get contact and failing

I genuinely don't know if I believe this. It's a good story - a story, told by men, which paints women as unreasonable, irrational, vindictive, and holding a disproportionate amount of power. It's society's favourite story in fact. But is it true? Any story which starts with the assumption that the man is the innocent victim and woman is the one holding all the power, should imo be questioned. I'm not saying it never happens, but I've noticed a few stories like this, the main goal of which seems to be to create an "Evil Woman" strawman which they can then burn down along with any other safeguards for women that get in their way. Compare these similar stories:

- Good Man just wants to see his children, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system to prevent him. Better push for shared residency without questioning why the woman doesn't want him to see his children.

- Good Man just wants to move on from his last relationship, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system by lying about rape to punish him. Better assume all women are lying in their allegations and demand impossible standards of evidence, making rape convictions virtually impossible.

- Good Man just wants to exit marriage in mild mannered way, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system to take all his money, pension, and house. Better refuse to marry the woman who bore your children, even if it leaves her totally unprotected as a SAHM or lower earner.

- Good Man just wants to leave his controlling psycho girlfriend, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system by saying he was abusive. Better not ever ask him to do or not do anything in case you also get branded controlling. Better not ever have an opinion of your own in case you also get branded "psycho".

You get the picture. Does anyone actually know any men who have had access to their children withheld by their ex and failed to correct this by going to court, where they're confident that's the whole story? I don't. I only know one man who claims his ex doesn't let him see his children but the reality is he moved to a different country, claims he can't afford to visit, then rocks up unannounced twice a year and gets shitty if she isn't available to see him. Oh, and every time she "denies him access" he halves her maintenance "to make it fair".

My BIL said the other day that if he and his wife divorced "she could refuse to let him see the kids and there would be nothing he could do about it". I asked him if he thought his wife was the kind of person who would be so cruel and vindictive that she would destroy his relationship with the children for no reason. He said that she wasn't but that "you never know what people are going to be like if a relationship ends on bad terms." I asked him what kind of behaviour from him would make the relationship end so badly that she wanted to punish him in that way, and whether, in that case, with-holding contact might be less about punishing him and more about protecting the children from the kind of person who could do whatever he'd done. Shockingly he didn't have an answer.

Meandwinealone Fri 22-Mar-19 22:57:27

@WisdomOfCrowds
I think you’ve totally missed my point. Totally. And that’s a whole other topic, which is clearly close to your heart, but slightly irrelevant in this case.

And yes I do know of one very vindictive partner. Women aren’t unable to be vindictive.

My main point was, if it is doable. Then do it. If you make it so difficult for someone to see their child they in all likelihood will end up defeated.

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 23:06:52

My main point was, if it is doable, then do it

Oh no I got that, I was just questioning whether it is in fact doable, or whether the trope of the good man who never gets access is a straw man and nothing more. I agree with you absolutely that if it is doable then she should do it, I've just never met anyone its actually happened to and as a scenario it sounds unlikely. But if you know someone it happened to then fair enough.

Meandwinealone Fri 22-Mar-19 23:14:20

@WisdomOfCrowds
Well unfortunately it was a long and nasty game. Which in the end damaged everyone.

People give up. People are acrimonious. I don’t doubt in a second that everyone always puts a child’s interests first. Man or woman.

I also don’t believe any man who says their evil bitch ex stops them seeing their kids. That’s very different.

But trust me, if you’ve seen someone go through it, it’s very tough. The sense of ownership is something quite special.

And that’s one in many thousands. But if they can do it, it can be done. But the reality is you have to move far and poison your children’s minds. And if you’re a nice person that might be tough:

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 23:19:20

I don't get all of this "move away" business. How does that work if an abusive ex demands access via the courts?

CheshireChat Fri 22-Mar-19 23:45:54

Well, there's no 'poisoning' involved if you just state the truth, but I appreciate that's not what you meant.

Just really hate the attitude that you should lie to your children for the benefit of the abuser.

smallereveryday Sat 23-Mar-19 08:39:08

WisdomOfCrowds
I genuinely don't know if I believe this. It's a good story - a story, told by men, which paints women as unreasonable, irrational, vindictive, and holding a disproportionate amount of power. It's society's favourite story in fact. But is it true?
*
*
Sadly - yes it is. We have lived through it for a decade. 12 court hearings for contact and enforcement- finally ending in a change of residency.
Allegations of alcoholism, cocaine abuse, dv, and physical abuse of the dsc. Each allegation made as a 'reaction' to the award of contact. Each allegation investigated and meant suspension of contact - some very brief , a few weeks for liver function and hair strand tests to prove to be malicious - abuse claims took 3 months of interviews with kids , me, my kids - to show ' malicious allegation no case to answer' .

To assume that women do not use children as a means of revenge against a spouse who has left them - is naive in the extreme.

In our case the Ex wife had an unshakable belief that having his children entitled her to live forever in a style she was accustomed to and that divorce and loss of that 'style' meant 'his punishment' was not to see his children. EVER. Yes bitter women do exist.

Thank goodness for the courts ability to listen to wishes of the children which supported the change of residence. Just a shame it blighted their lives for ten years !

Too much store in 'allegations' without evidence. However from a genuine abused victims pov I would encourage reporting at every opportunity to support your case.

Gin96 Sat 23-Mar-19 08:47:15

I have seen men and women use their children to control there ex partner but I would say 95% of the time it is more men than women that do this, more cases on the news, look at the recent case where ex husband had acid thrown at his 3 year old child to get back at his wife for leaving him, a mother just wouldn’t do that.

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 09:01:28

Some of these cases are so sad.

I really have no intention of going as far away as I can to stop him seeing his child. To be honest I would also be stopping my family from seeing him in that case. I've moved home with my family which is an hour away from him so he is unlikely to get overnights in the week ever if the school is an hour away. I'm not worrying too much about the future at the moment as my anxiety is already through the roof. My son is only a few months old and I'm just scared the courts will grant unsupervised access and that I will have to stop breastfeeding etc as I can't express, that he'll end up with overnights etc etc.

At what point do you tell your child the truth about how abusive their dad was to their mum? Is that even wise? What's the point of it?

I'm so confused. I just want to do what's right for my son. In reality I know that would be for him to never see his dad again but that's not an option.

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 09:09:35

I've also been around him when he's with his other child who is 6. He has called her mum a slut in front of her, she's told me she's scared of him, she knows he hates her mum, she has had to watch him punch things, listened to him swearing many many times and sits there with her hands over her ears, he doesn't brush her hair, doesn't make sure she brushes her teeth, gives her sweets for breakfast, shouts at her when she gets her spellings wrong. She doesn't like him at all. She cried to her mum when I left because now she has nobody to talk to at daddy's. I miss her and feel sad that she now has to be on her own with her dad.

This for me is enough to not want my son anywhere near him.

Gin96 Sat 23-Mar-19 09:22:29

Hi awful, poor little girl. I have no advise for you, I don’t know what I would do in your situation. Can you contact his ex and see if you can document his behaviour with his daughter? He will move on to someone else (poor woman) and then might give less attention to you. He sounds like he hates women.

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 09:24:44

@Gin96 I am SO glad you said that. And that you spotted it just from the small amount I've posted. He does. He hates women. He really hates them. His mum, his ex, his daughter. Me. It's not all in my head. I just hate him so much and I don't usually hate anybody.

Gin96 Sat 23-Mar-19 09:38:07

The only thing I can say to you is not all men are like this, there are some decent ones out there. I hope you and your son can move on and have a happy life, that in itself would be poetic justice to your ex, good luck flowers

Aeroflotgirl Sat 23-Mar-19 09:44:51

Yes with bells on, my friend is going through this with her violent and abusive ex, even though he was aggressive and abusive to the judge and professionals, he was still granted unsupervised contact with her ds.

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 12:25:09

Thanks @Gin96 - I'm scared to even think about a new relationship. Think I'll stay single for a while and just concentrate on my son...

Roomba Sat 23-Mar-19 12:45:30

I stayed with my abusive ex for years, despite utterly detesting him and it having serious effects on my mental health as I tried to compartmentalise it all and juggle everything to keep the peace constantly. I did this so he wouldn't get 50/50 access to my small children - which every solicitor advised me would probably happen. He was well aware of this and threatened it regularly (along with his brilliant idea of me taking one child full time and him taking the other, one each, fairs fair, right? hmm with no thought of how that may affect them)

Staying with him, I could carry on doing 99% of the childcare and keep them away from his abusive behaviour most of the time while they were small. As they got older, with their own opinions, and were harder work for him, it was too much hard work for him to have two kids 50% of the time. And they were far less susceptible to his attempts at parental alienation. He sees them regularly but has lost interest in battling me for them.

I'll never know if I made the right decisions. I imagine probably not, ideally I would have walked away years before. But the legal system's treatment of vulnerable children isn't ideal and would have put their best interests at heart. So I did what I had to do, though it took a big toll on me. If I'd left I would have been powerless to prevent my kids being abused too (yes I'm sure they've been affected by him but if I'd had to involve courts, cafcass etc and lost I doubt they'd be as happy, well adjusted and resilient as they currently are).

Roomba Sat 23-Mar-19 12:48:40

I finally split with my ex five years ago and I haven't been involved with anyone since. He's out me off men for life frankly and I don't want to risk falling into another abusive relationship. My kids have appreciated this too tbh (though no judgement on anyone who has been able to move on happily, I'm pleased for you!).

TwoRoundabouts Sat 23-Mar-19 14:30:44

@Gin96 a mother can harm her child.

Have you not read the news about the case where a mother drowned her 3 year old in the bath?

I have closer to home cases but I don't want to go into them in public.

WisdomOfCrowds Sat 23-Mar-19 14:30:47

To assume that women do not use children as a means of revenge against a spouse who has left them - is naive in the extreme.

That most definitely wasn't what I meant. I'm sure they do, just like I'm sure that women do the other things I listed. I'm sure women accuse men of rape and abuse, try to with-hold their children, or sting them during divorce settlements, out of malice and revenge. I definitely don't think women are above that. I was just questioning a) whether it was as common as a lot of men would have us believe and b) whether they actually ever got away with it in court. Like false rape allegations - my BIL would have you believe that men are being thrown in jail all over town because some woman accused them of rape on a whim. And while I believe some women do make false allegations, statistically they are more likely to be arrested for wasting police time than the man is to be charged. So in the same way whilst I can well believe that a woman might try to use the children as a weapon to punish the father, I was just doubting whether it would actually hold up in court or indeed if attempting to do this would more likely end up being used against the woman than actually stopping the man seeing his DC. But if you know of examples where this has happened then fine, I'm happy to concede the point. I certainly don't hold women as being above such things.

And to repeat the earlier point, if anyone can block an abusers access to children, they should.

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