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Ds scared of his father, but too scared to say he doesn't want to go. There is a contact order in place, help!

(10 Posts)
Readyisknitting Fri 28-Dec-12 11:54:30

Xh abusive, left when he was physically abusive to dd1, 3.5years ago.

Contact order in place, for unsupervised (which I argued was not good at the time). Ch has 7h every other sat. He has also signed an undertaking for not drinking during contact or for the 24h preceding, and to not drive the dc. He regularly breaks the not drinking during contact the children tell me how they have to stand outside the offie while he goes in to get tins of beer.

Camhs have assessed ds(8) and are referring to ss as they believe the contact is causing all his current problems- behavioural and sleep disturbances, at home and at school.

On the last weekend xh contacted child protection claiming dd2 (4) had made an allegation against dss(9) and the children ended up coming home with the police- again. Dss was upset because he'd been told they were sleeping over at xh's as soon as he'd picked them up, and when he said he wanted to go home he was told he wasn't. Dss is now very very wobbly emotionally and saying he's really scared of his dad, but when I reminded him that he can hold my hand and say he's not going he had a meltdown saying that he can't it's too scarey.

I really really want to put a stop to contact until ss have looked at the situation for all 3 dc's but especially for ds, it's affecting every aspect of his behaviour, how can I go about it? Next contact is the 5th Jan.

YourHandInMyHand Fri 28-Dec-12 12:03:26

I'm not sure how you can go about it but didn't want to leave post unanswered. Can you get support from camhs and school?

If you broke contact order what would happen? May be worth asking solicitor? Hopefully one will come along shortly.

Women's aid may be able to advise you?

Readyisknitting Fri 28-Dec-12 12:18:07

Women's aid were fab for practical help when I fled there, but I've found their knowledge was a little rusty of these matters.

I no longer get legal aid, but my previous sol may help. Already planning a case where I was going to self rep re contact and permission for holiday abroad, xh knows and is pissed off (and knows he cannot stop the holiday), but the problem is immediate, ds is falling apart and I really want to find a way of stopping the 5th. Of course, over the festive break ss and sols are all off, which makes it challenging!!!

If I broke the order I'd be in contempt :-(

STIDW Sat 29-Dec-12 02:29:10

Parental Responsibility means parents have a duty to protect children from harm and in certain circumstances welfare concerns may justify not complying with a court order. However, rather than act unilaterally I would suggest you talk to social services and a solicitor and perhaps apply to court to vary the order.

YourHandInMyHand Sat 29-Dec-12 09:31:36

I do know of a mum who was threatened with prison for not sticking to contact order. She was a prison officer and terrified but didn't back down and stuck to her guns. I'm assuming nothing happened to her as the child didn't want to go and she argued it wasn't in his interests to.

She had a solicitor though. Do get advice. Were cafcass involved before?

For the immediate issue of his next visit. Can your DS who's terrified of going be "ill" that day in bed? Bit sneaky but buys you a bit of time and means he doesn't have to go. I imagine he's worrying about it, poor kid.

Readyisknitting Sat 29-Dec-12 10:01:36

Can't afford a sol, when I moved in with dp I knew if it came to this I'd have to self rep. We have a tight budget, and very little left at the end of the month, and finding the court fee is challenging. We are just above the threshold for any remission on the fees.

Cafcass were involved. Their assessment was a half hour seeing the kids and the xh in a room, and very much was on the fence. They recommended a finding of fact to establish abuse had taken place. There were several inaccuracies in their report, and as I kept raising, how can a controlled environment for half an hour replicate how xh behaves to them for a longer period? I have no evidence of his breaking the undertaking, only the children's say so.

Wrt to the holiday issue, ds has already asked if he can come to court with me to hear the judge say whether he (ds) can go to france.

I will be spending the 2nd chasing/ harassing ss trying to get them to intervene before the sat, and also trying to get hold of the new worker at CAMHS (last one has just left). For the 5th, if I don't succeed, I have no idea what I'll do. It's not just ds, there's the dd's- 6 and 4. dd2 has wandered off from the cinema to the market and been brought back to xh by a stranger, again, the kids have told me this, apparently at the time they had to hang around while xh had "another cigarette"

I'm very tempted to say that because ss are getting involved it is best that contact does not take place, but again, not sure if that will be read as obstructive. I'd offer half an hour in a coffee shop, but xh would spend it being verbally abusive, lots of little digs, that harm the kids to hear. It such a dilemma, because ds needs me to protect him, he has witnessed so much sad. however because the court decided a finding of fact was not necessary it all remains allegations, and because I feel I have to maintain the moral high ground, and act within the legal constraints I have been given, I feel my hands are tied.

YourHandInMyHand Sat 29-Dec-12 17:49:16

On a more long term plan - could you get your DS some counselling set up? Push for it as a matter of urgency, if he's telling a counsellor these things it may be taken out of your hands.

It must be hard. I would find out the bottom line here - what would happen to you iif you refused contact?

cosysocks Sat 29-Dec-12 17:52:18

Have a chat with the children's legal centre for some brief legal advice for free. Also try and keep a log of things.

ValentineWiggins Sat 29-Dec-12 17:56:33

No idea of this is legal/valid but could someone your xh doesn't know follow and get photos of the kids outside the offie etc? At least you'd have some proof other than what the are saying!

cestlavielife Sun 30-Dec-12 19:33:27

You need reasonable excuse to not comply. So long as you reporting ds distress to CAMHS or gp or ss so it is recorded you could argue you have reasonable excuse. Only you and ds know if making him go will be detrimental to him to the extent that it becomes reasonable to stop the contact.

Is ther someone else who could take them to the coffee shop ?

Kep records of what the dc say eg about wandering streets and maybe email ex after to say what dc say and get his response ie he may admit it and say so what as my ex tends to do....

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