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Is "no contact" ever awarded?

(18 Posts)
ilovemilton Wed 01-May-13 16:24:41

Hi, I've posted before about my abusive marriage that ended in October. Since then, physical and emotional abuse of the children has come to light and there have been two safeguarding referrals.
No contact has taken place since we split in October and the kids are terrified of him coming to find them. DS 4 has nightmares and very grown up DD 7 is adamant she never wants to see him again.
DS key worker has said that if there was any contact, then they would look at my ability to keep my children safe.
However, I have now received solicitors letters informing me of court action, as ExH is applying for weekend contact. I'm terrified what the court will award, as currently even someone saying daddy terrifies them, so the thought of them seeing him is horrible.
Does anyone hear of contact not being allowed in these kinds of cases?

STIDW Wed 01-May-13 19:41:46

To give you some idea of scale in 2010 the courts disposed of 95,400+ private contact cases and only refused orders in 300 of them. HOwever if there is evidence that children resist contact because of abuse or witnessing abuse it is unlikely a court would order unsupervised contact unless the perpetrator changed their behaviour. When children are traumatised by their experiences and show signs of anxiety, fearfulness or symptoms of PTSD it's unlikely there will be any direct contact until they have undergone psychological treatment.

ilovemilton Wed 01-May-13 19:59:56

How do you get evidence that the children are scared and refusing contact though?
He is very clever at pretending that he has changed, he has done it before - how would he have to prove that he has changed?
I can't imagine ever feeling that they are safe with him. He has punched them in the face, hit them, locked them in the dark, refused to feed them properly etc all while I worked shifts.

ilovemydogandMrObama Wed 01-May-13 20:07:00

Is this your first time in court? A CAFCASS officer will interview the children and make recommendations to the court. Like STIDW states, it is unlikely there will be direct contact until further counselling takes place, in other words, no face to face contact. Contact centres are when the parents have issues rather than the children, so this wouldn't be appropriate.

ilovemilton Wed 01-May-13 20:11:03

Yes its my first time in court. I need to represent myself as I can't get legal aid but he will. That just adds to the scariness!
That's good about contact centres, I was imagining being forced to take them to one to see him.

STIDW Wed 01-May-13 20:34:12

You would be entitled to legal aid if social services could confirm in writing that, within the twenty four month period immediately preceding the date of the court application, there had been an assessment as being, or at risk of being, a victim of DV.

Have you received the court papers and completed Form C1A?

ilovemilton Wed 01-May-13 20:45:50

Not received court papers yet, just information from the solicitors that this is what he is doing.
Will ask Social Services about getting proof from them...there were never any police records though, will this matter?

ilovemilton Wed 01-May-13 20:47:41

Not received court papers yet, just information from the solicitors that this is what he is doing.
Will ask Social Services about getting proof from them...there were never any police records though, will this matter?

STIDW Wed 01-May-13 21:11:07

YOu don't need police reports to apply for legal aid. A letter from someone appointed chairperson of multi-agency risk assessment conference, social services or health worker that DV or a risk of DV has been assessed or injuries are consistent with DV suffices.

Once you have the court papers you can complete Form C1A supplementary information and fill in details of incidents. A judge will have difficulty choosing between two versions of the same story unless there is independent professional evidence from school, social workers, health workers or police. If there are welfare concerns CAFCASS will be asked to do a report and as well as gathering background information from both parents they should contact school and social services for their comments.

ilovemilton Wed 01-May-13 21:25:07

Isn't legal aid still means tested even if DV is involved?

STIDW Wed 01-May-13 22:28:46

Yes legal aid is means tested. If you aren't eligible I would try to raise the money to consult a solicitor because cases like yours hinge a lot on knowing how to present them. Some solicitors are prepared to work on an ad hoc basis, say just giving advice when you need it so you can do the form filling and represent yourself in court. Alternatively if you are on a low income it's worth investigating local sources of free legal advice eg law clinics.

Norem Wed 01-May-13 22:38:53

Hi ilovemilton would it be worth talking to the police about the assaults on your children? I am so cross that he can get legal aid and you can't sad you mention you work shifts are you in a union ? You might find you have some legal benefits if you are. Just a thought.

ilovemilton Thu 02-May-13 00:20:41

No, I am not eligible for legal aid based on my income.
The assaults on the children have gone through safeguarding, wouldn't they have contacted the police if they thought it was necessary? The assaults weren't recent, so would then police be interested? They weren't when I reported the DV.
I just want to protect my babies from this horrible man sad

ilovemydogandMrObama Thu 02-May-13 09:43:39

If you call Refuge, they have an advocacy service, although would agree with STIDW about paying for a solicitor, preferably one by recommendation. Am not suggesting that you get what you pay for, but would try and find the best family solicitor available as a matter of priority.

It seem from the statement that your DC's key worker said if there was contact, they would look at your ability to keep the children safe, there is independent evidence.

So, hopefully it's just a matter of how to present the case in court.

RedHelenB Sun 05-May-13 10:41:04

So what happened when you first came back to the child that had been punched in the face? Obviously you did n't leave then, did you report it to anyone?

Probably contact would be awarded in a contact centre, is it likely that he would admit to these things?

When you say key worker, are you talking about a member of staff at your youngest's nursery?

RedHelenB Sun 05-May-13 10:44:44

Sorry, take it back about the contact centre, didn't read all the posts properly.

As has been pointed out CAFCASS will interview the kids & make recommendations. Obviously, the more concrete evidence you have the better.

ilovemilton Sun 05-May-13 14:46:12

Keyworker from Social Services due to the safeguarding.
I wasn't aware that anything had happened to the children until after I had left.

RedHelenB Sun 05-May-13 17:42:06

Not aware that he had punched them in the face? No black eyes?

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