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social service DV - advice please!!(21 Posts)
posted on here before about abuse ex p and hoping for some advice from those who have more experience of system than me.
I called police on my exp a number of times - pre and post splitting - mainly verbal abuse and threats to kill.
The SS are involved and done a full assessment and classified my kids 3 and 5 are Children in Need.
SS are fully on board that my exp is aggressive and had serious anger issues and supportive of my suspending contact.
I am finding it massively stressful that SS are involved however as they are not communicating to me clearly about what is going on and I feel blaming me for putting kids in situation where dad has kicked off occasionally (not to minimise this behaviour but to explain why i had facilitated contact).
Next steps is a family group conference and my children school head has been invited as well as child physch (older son has emotional and social problems) and health visitor as well as me (not dad).
I am not sure what i need to do or say in the meeting - basically i was dealing with this with my solicitor and suspending contact until dad did something to sort himself out.
I am not sure what ss can add and I really don?t like their attitude on the one hand (they think all women fall into a pattern of returning to their exp, but i do not fall into thei category and we have been separated for 2 years - i only saw him to facilitate childrens contact) so very wary of their being involved. They think I was too nice to him and my lack of boundaries lead to DV [hmmm].
However, on the other hand I guess they might be useful (or is that just naive??). Anyway I know i need to engage with them and co-operate.
Any ideas / suggestions what I should be pointed out to them or what goes on in these meetings?
1st of all if you still have your solicitor is he/she a solicitor who deals in Family orientated disputes, childrens residencies ect ect , or is he/she just a general solicitor ?? If family orientated then it would be best for him/her to be at this meeting with you. This is purely for your and your childrens benefit, he /she will have greater knowlage of what goes on and what these meetings are about. Did they say your children are children in need or children at risk , sorry to ask but it does make a big difference as to which one they said. The meeting will prob be about are the children happy in themselves and not withdrawn , how you are coping or handling the situation. They might suggest a visit from a social worker now and again to see if there are any changes and give advice on how to go about certain things.
They will prob want to discus the report/reports that where done.
They may suggest that your ex have supervised visits with the children in a secure neutral place without the need for you to be there, this then takes you out of the equasion hence you would not have to see each other which means less friction. They will ask you questions about the situation be as honest as you can, if he is violent towards you then say he is, if he just wants to argue all the time when he see's you then say he does. I am not trying to paint a black picture of the SS they do , do a fantastic job and when all's said and done it's the childrens welfare they are looking out for they can be of great help to you.
And to finish and i hope this has helped even slightly Make sure to try get your solicitor there ok.
All the best and I hope it all works out for you and your children.
They will want to see what your ex is doing/ isn't doing. So please don't think they are judging you.
Please use them, as courts will insist on contact and the more you have on your side the better in my experinbce.
Your solicitor may not be able to come to the meeting due to funding issues. If they do attend they won't be able to speak anyway. There may be many nuances to this that you can't get across in a post - your solicitor is the best one to advise you.
Sorry Collaborate but I fail to understand where you got the idea of the solicitor maybe not attending due funding issues , funding or lack of funding was never mentioned in the original thread ? The soicitor is there as Gingerrepunzel's Legal representative as will be SS's legal team be there and as such will be able to question , querie , take direction from his/her client if need be. They will also explain to the client any legal terms or legal proposals put forward from SS's legal team if they need to.
Most of the time any questions from the SS will be directed towards Gingerrepunzel as they will want to hear from her what the situation is like , was like or is going to be in the future but all centered around the welfare and needs of the children (NOT) the parents wants or needs.
Collaborate is assuming that Gingerrapunzel is legally aided and is pointing out that in the absence of ss actually having commenced care proceedings [which she does not say that they have done] it is unlikely that the Legal Services Commission would pay for her solictor to attend a ss meeting. of course she could pay privately if she wished.
family group conference is more about all involved in family seeking solution together - it is less "legal" from that point of view.
it may be about trying to agree pattern of contact which wont involve op having contact with the ex.
it is unlikely SS legal people will be there unless there are care proiceeedings - child in need is not care proceedings.
op should speak to the family group conference coordinator and air any concerns before the meeting. ask about format of meeting what will happene etc - usually all involved will get chance to speak - then idea is ex and OP (with immediate family/relatives/friends - and iif she requests an observer -) tos it and agree pattern of contact for next few months. then a written agreement is written and signed there so everyone knows what is agreed
op should see SS as being there to help find a way forward ie for children to have contact with their father - which is what it is all about. while ensuring ehr safety adn freedom from verbal abuse from him. this means thinking about conctact centres/third party hadnovers etc
ps if dad is not attending then it isnt a true family group conference tho they may be using the format - in which case see it as a good opportunity for all involved to set concerns on table and try and come up with a plan.
In case conferrences solicitors are as welcome as an eggy fart. We don't participate at those meetings as we're not allowed to speak and are simply there to support our client: if funding is available. The only time I've been allowed to speak at a case conference is when my client, who had mild learning difficulties, got too upset. I was able to put thier position across, but that is very rare, which is why, usually, solicitors don't attend.
Missed the point about a family conference. I always thought the idea of one of those was to put all the extended family in a room and see if they come out with a reasonable family based solution, based on support.
I think people are getting family group conference and child protection conference mixed up.
Legal representation is not needed at a FGC and to be honest the social worker isn't that relevant either, as pointed out already the idea is to get the family members round the table to come up with solutions thats work for them rather than having solutions imposed on them by social services. Its intended to be a much less opressive model and in a way shows your social worker has faith in you OP. If you can get a decent plan thrashed out and demonstrate that you're all sticking to it there should be no reason to keep your case open.
I concur with my learned friends Collaborate and babybarrister
To be honest Collaborate if you had mentioned and made it clear earlier that you where a solicitor then I would not have even entered into this thread as it would have been a total waste of time if you already knew the procedure.
Assuming you are a solicitor as you state "We don't participate at those meetings as we're not allowed to speak and are simply there to support our client"
Well I don't always get things right.
Often wrong but never in doubt.
But I'm sure about this one.
Thanks for the advice.
I wont ask my family law sol to attend. I am really using her as a sounding board on an ad hoc basis and if need to go to court will use her for behind the scenes stuff.
I am quite confident that can digest the issues and procedure and speak up for myself.
Its reassuring that people think ss there to help.
To be honest, I was a little wary, I had initiallu though of them as a resouce for me to support the kids but as called police so many times they almost questionning me now I feel and thinking been to lenient to dad to allow him to abuse me.
He isnt coming as I suspended contact and get the impression taht they are totally convinced he has a lot of issues. very angry (he was silly enough to f and blind at them too).
Not sure what solutions I can come up with
- get dad a labotomy
- lets move miles away from him
Its hard as want my kids to have a relationship with their dad but he is unpredictable and immatiure and so lost confidence that he has the emotionanal security to bing them up.
what can i suggest?
i mentioned supervised or supported contact but ss said its crap for kids as its a vert stressful and unnatural surrounding.
they asked if my parents can supervise him but i said no as he made threats against my parents and they scared of him plus its too much travel for them.
we dont have any mutual friends and i dont trust his family (for good reason ss concurred his mum does not have a good protective instict as my ex was abused as a child physically and mum did not stop this).
npt sure what else is possible to suggest?
xclearly dad needs to do some work on himself but not for me to recommend what this is i would have thought...
supervised/supported costs money. it doesnt have to be stressful for DC. visit local contact centres www.naccc.org.uk centre we used was v pleasant for DC toys games ball pool nicely painted room etc staff were nice etc.
if there are no other options in friends/family then contact centre is only way - usually as a stepping stone to family/friends supervision or unsupervised .
thing is after o contact you want to amke sure contact is properly sueprvised/supported with someone who is unpredictable.
stressful for DC would be being left in his care unsupervised
after having NO contact then contact has to be pproperly supervised - insist to SS that is what you will offer and dont rule out contact centre til you visited a few
It's OK to be very firm about supervised contact only with a man who has been abusive and is still attempting to be abusive (given that he has by the sound of it been tantrumming at officials as well they are likely to be on your side!). It's almost a good thing that this man is the sweary, footstamping, fit-pitching type as he will not do a very good job of convincing the authorities that you are lying about his abusive behaviour.
As well as contact isues have a think about whether there is any support that you and your DC could do with that you aren't receiving at the moment. Is there an educational psychologist involved - and if not does there need to be? Are there counselling sessions / groups that you might benefit from? I know funding has been cut all over the place but they try and do these things as 'joined up thinking' approach and to make sure all agencies are aware of what is going on. Don't feel threatened but see it as an opportunity to ask for what you need and find out about what help is available.
I've attended loads of FGC as a children's rights advocate. I've never been to one with any legal represetnatives on either side.
They are much more about putting toegther support packages and bringing everyone together to talk about how everyone can help.
Usually family members attend, school and health workers who are directly involved. They might bring in youth workers or educational social workers, attendance officers from schools, school reprezsentatives.
They are usually very productive and quite informal, not intimidating in teh slightest.
Thanks - I guess I just feel I fecked up as I feel I should be able to bring up my kids properly myself without ss and other "agencies" being involved.
Its not a very helpful thought so guess I have to get past this preconception and get the help I need dealing with dad (as he is not manageable) even sw said he was very inflexible and angry...
This has given me lots of useful ideas though so guess will think about what can ask for,,,
It's all good (in a way) that he is showing his true colours to the professionals, they will be much more inclined to help you and the DC rather than wasting time trying to be 'fair and reasonable' when there is an abusive man involved.
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