Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Courts too liberal on past violence?

(7 Posts)
avenueone Tue 02-Oct-12 20:55:42

This story on the Today programme broke my heart. I would be interested to hear your thoughts. Of course not not past violent offenders are going to do this to their own children but how do we stop more cases in these circumstances. Where is the legal system going wrong?
www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/today

STIDW Tue 02-Oct-12 22:30:34

I think it's rather like social services and expecting the courts to be right 100% of the time is unrealistic. Predicting who will resort to this behaviour is nigh impossible. See;

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8961851/What-drives-a-father-to-kill.html

In each individual case the question to be asked is whether the parent's actions could have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated by the court on the material available before it. If not the legal system isn't at fault.

Fortunately these very sad cases are relatively rare.

avenueone Tue 02-Oct-12 23:01:33

This is the extreme example I have to admit and the very sad consequences could be clearly demonstrated but verbal abuse it less detectable longer term and as concerns were raised in this case and should of at least been given some consideration could have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated by the court (the mother wasn't even asking for no contact just supervised) how do we know other children are not suffering even though not dead?
how would any of you feel about a `review' after a set amount of time being implemented as an additional check when DV is suspected? even though it would not have helped in this case as the murder of the children took place on the very first weekend he had them overnight. I think my concern is more for the less dramatic but probably more frequent problems faced by children caused by either parent with DV issues (this is not gender specific).

avenueone Tue 02-Oct-12 23:10:09

Sorry I forgot to mention your link - I think when someone kills the entire family the motives are different and there are many `theories' written by `journalists' for all the different senarios (mum kills baby/father kills just children etc.).
Past behaviour is a main indicator of future behaviour esp. as the lady interviewed for the radio piece clearly stated that the abuse had only been a short term thing but was escalating. The guidelines for the safety of children seem to somehow be blurred when it comes to science/biology. For me the same rules should always apply.

STIDW Wed 03-Oct-12 02:41:12

Actually it wasn't so much what the journalist said, it was more the quote based on research from the psychiatrist at the bottom of the article. Psychiatrists said something similar in this article about Sarah Heatley;

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/nov/05/ukcrime.lornamartin

It's a shame the podcast was short because would have interesting to hear what the psychologist on the radio programme had to say.

As far as I'm aware in the more recent case mentioned on the podcast there had been no court involvement. Sarah Heatley's case might have been one of those where the courts got it wrong, but it isn't possible to tell whether the father's actions could have been foreseen by the court based on the material available at the time without knowing what the material was. It seems even Sarah Heatley didn't think the father would harm the children and was more concerned about child abduction.

cestlavielife Wed 03-Oct-12 11:01:13

i dont think it is easy for courts/judges - though there is research etc to assist in making assessment eg www.lundybancroft.com/?page_id=261

but if there has been little documened violence/abuse it can be hard to make that judgement - some separations the parties are angry/bitter but no one kills anyone.

maybe mandatory counselling/therapy for all splits?

courts dont have time/money for full forensic psychiatric evaluations and in eg cases where parent is upstanding GP etc then unless he screaming in the court judge is likely to order unsupervised contact...and even if supervised at a contact centre, if this goes well, there will be unsupervised eventually. someone could play the long game while planning ultimately to do something the day they get the kids alone.. .

consensus seems to be with the men it is about anger/bitterness...(if women it is about depression) how do you treat that? unless there is previous serious criminal violence then only the person themselves can seek help for that anger... (or depression).

if they dont see their anger or their plans as an issue and dont express that so that someone can act - then how can you possibly get into someone's head and decide this is what they planning?

however, tehre should be awareness and judges should maybe take concerns expressed by people asking for supervised contact more seriously ... look for the flags... like anger etc. not be taken in by the "perfect dad" scenario.

it is awful when it happens ...

avenueone Wed 03-Oct-12 14:28:44

Posted earlier and it has not come up grrr
I wish the psychologist piece had been included too - I wonder why it wasn't on? Interesting link.
Whilst I am sure a lot of the same things come up in cases each one is so different, I often fear it is a one size fits all approach with not enough `intrim' orders made.
I don't think lack of money should ever prevent the welfare of a child being taken seriously.
Years and sometimes years have passed since a split has taken place and non documented evidence is a concern here too as so many men and women may not have felt able to report it for various reasons, including it didn't seem relevant at the time.
Whilst I accept delays in cases can cause problems for children esp. if it means them being seperated from a parent they know and love for a long time, taking things too quickly does not enable some things to be judged as well as they could be if things were taken slower.
As I previously said it isn't just about the extreeme cases where children end up killed, it is also about those who suffer emotionally and it is those too that I feel are not being fully protected.
Whilst I may prefer direct unsupervised contact with my children - if I am worth my salt as a parent I will start with unsupervised if that is what is directed and enjoy every minute with my children whom I love knowing it is a short term thing.
Thinking about the longer term is very important and I believe it is the basis for the legislation that talks about the problems children can face without one parent which is why having contact with both is so activley encouraged. Taken out of contex is when the problems can begin.
tehre should be awareness and judges should maybe take concerns expressed by people asking for supervised contact more seriously ... look for the flags... like anger etc. not be taken in by the "perfect dad" scenario. I agree

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now