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Violence & Failure to maintain contact

(6 Posts)
ElsieMc Sat 18-Jun-11 19:47:33

I am a grandparent carer with a residence order for my two grandsons. They have different dads and the eldest one(9 yrs) has contact every other weekend with his father. My daughter gave birth at fifteen and the father eighteen. He has three convictions for ABH (two on school children), three for criminal damage and a recent drink drive conviction.

I did not even know he was the father for two years until his parents contacted me and asked for contact. Although shocked and unhappy, I did the best for my GS and I agreed each Sunday for contact. His parents reassured me he had never been in trouble of any kind - I did ask searching questions but they misled me. However, his behaviour deteriorated and I complained which resulted in him trying to attack me and grabbing my GS. A finding of fact found that he did not do this which devastated me and unsupervised contact went ahead.

My GS told two social workers his dad has hurt him but the Judge said his comments at such a young age could not be relied upon.

My GS is stressed, angry and lashing out asking me why he has to go to contact when his dad only turns up on Sunday afternoons and leaves him with his parents most of the weekend. They are very old fashioned and do nothing with him and he is bored and desperate to come home. School have been worried about his stress and anger issues - he has lashed out at a valued friend recently which is out of character.

Sorry the background has been long but I wanted to be as honest as possible. Today I have found out he has committed another actual bodily harm offence and he has been committed to Crown Court. I am so worried about my GS, as it seems clear he is picking up tensions in the household at contact and when his dad feels threatened, he becomes dangerous. The police have fitted a panic alarm in my home.

I want to reduce contact. The court was always very clear he should be staying with his father and this has never happened once in a two year period. It is a catch 22 situation - I know his parents would not have achieved so much contact in their own right but I feel he is probably safer there, but have to balance this against the fact he loathes going.

My daughter is unable to care for the children, but she feels her contact should not be subordinate to his parents and feels she now wants to challenge the order given the father's failure to maintain regular contact. I agree with this as it reflects my GS's wishes to see her more. She has no order in her own right.

I just want to do the right thing for my GS, but have to remember the family court's treatment of me and I now have no confidence in the system. I know that contact is the right of the child, but how much does he have to suffer?

Am I wrong to want to vary contact on the evidence I have set out above and would I have any hope of achieving a downward variation?

FamilySolicitor Sat 18-Jun-11 21:39:58

Dear ElsieMc

You dont say how long ago you were last in court and so when the last order was made. The courts do appreciate that a childs needs change over time and circumstances can also change. Any variation to the arrangements set out in the contact order would need to be agreed between yourselves and the father but ultimately if an agreement could not be reached you would need to apply to the court for a variation of the contact order. If the court was asked to make a further order they will base their decision on the best interests of the child. They will consider factors such as his needs, his wishes and feelings, the parents ability to meet those needs and any risk of harm.

It may well be the case that your grandson is older and more able to articulate what he wants, the further trouble the father has gotten himself into may be relevant and you may wish to speak to his school and see if they have any view as to whether his behaviour is linked to the contact. I also dont know whether the situation with you daughter is that she is wanting more contact than before.

You would be wise to contact a solicitor local to you. You might be eligible for legal aid, depending on your financial situation and if not many solicitors offer a low cost or free initial consultation. This will give you an opportunity to discuss it in more detail.

xiaojdd Sun 19-Jun-11 01:26:50

Message deleted

xiaojwww Mon 20-Jun-11 02:45:44

Message deleted

ElsieMc Mon 20-Jun-11 09:44:40

Thanks for this family solicitor. I thought this would be the case.

There has also been more trouble seedy behaviour which has been an issue in the past - he is openly boasting on facebook that he watches illegal extreme pornography and makes comment about asking young girls to perform sex acts on him. I have printed this off.

I don't think in my heart I would achieve a downward variation but I also do not think my GS is safe there. It is clear his parents have tried to keep quiet about the latest ABH as it happened in March.

I am not entitled to legal aid and I simply cannot afford a solicitor.

cestlavielife Mon 20-Jun-11 10:02:24

doy ou feel the social workers are supportive of you? speak tot ehm. profressional reports carry weight.
also his teachers who can confirm his behaviour etc and any concerns

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