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what can I do about this unsuitable environment for the children?(66 Posts)
ex has children EOW for 2 nights. We divorced 2.5 years ago, at first he was in a long term relationship and from what I could gather she seemed like a nice lady, treated my children well and the environment was secure and nurturing for the children when they visited. However since he has split with her 6 months ago, there have been a string of women coming and going whom he is introducing to the children after a couple of weeks of meeting them. Whilst I have an issue with this alone, far more serious still is the fact that the children have been subject to (IMO) neglect from their dad, and they have witnessed things of a sexual nature that they really shouldn't have seen at their age (8,10)
1)DD saw her dad wanking over webcam/skype call with his girlfriend (I walked in to the bedroom and daddy had the computer infront of him and he was kneeling on the bed with his winky in his hand) (during the day!!)
2)DS walked in on dad having sex with another girlfriend. He did not check he was ok, as would have been normal, he shouted at him to 'GET OUT' and carried on, DS said he heard them carrying on grunting and making sex noises in the adjoining room.
3) Both children were left in the swimming pool on holiday on their own, 'daddy stayed inside because he wouldn't go in the pool unless it was 25degrees or over'. DD said she went in to the villa a couple of times and he was watching videos of people having sex.
4) They woke up one morning to a strange woman in his bed, they had never seen her before, never seen her since.
5)They are sent out to play on the street while he 'entertains' lady friends in his flat. I have told them the dangers of being unsupervised on the street and they refuse to go out alone anymore, despite his encouragement.
6)He regularly hits them, as a form of discipline, clips around the head are most common.
7)I understand he has moved to a new flat, a 1 bedroomed place. He intends to have 2 single sofa beds in the kitchen diner/living room for them to sleep on during contact every other Friday and Saturday night. Is this suitable, shouldn't they be expected to have their own room for privacy at their ages?
8) DS very upset on return from contact last weekend. Said his dad doesn't pay him any attention, he is 'too busy texting, phoning women to have sex with'. We discussed ways he could try to use to bond more with his dad.
I just find it so sad, I want them to have a good relationship with their dad, but its like trudging through water. I've tried broaching the subject and he either denies it, says the children are lying, or finds some way to punish me for calling him up on his behaviour, he refused to return their passports back when I asked him not to let children play unsupervised on the street.
My friend, who is a child protection officer has said that letting them into this environment is unhealthy and a judge may well question why did I allow them to enter into this harmful environment. But I just don't know what to do, I don't want them not to have contact with their dad but I hate them being subjected to this.
You let them into "this environment" because, based on previous experience, your DCs father was a responsible person. The fact that you now have information to the contrary is leading you to revise your opinion of your ex.
Have you sent your ex a letter detailing your concerns and asking him to behave better with his DC?
I haven't has yet, but last week, after DS broke down I really feel like I need to do something. I know my ex will just deny everything to the hilt though. So it may well be pointless speaking directly to him, should I have a word with my solicitor?
Your ex may deny everything but a letter in which you detail your DCs' story of events is a useful document to have created.
I'm so sorry about this
You need to take some action for your lovely children. This must be so confusing for them.
Did you negotiate the current contact arrangements yourself or is there an order?
The webcam thing is not something an 8/10 year old could make up
Ok Bobo, he was EA to me during the marriage, I know he will be awful to me if I bring these things up to him, but I think you are right, it is necessary now. Thank you fastday, there is no court order for the child arrangements, just a compromise made between us/solicitors.
I think you need to get social services involved. Your ex sounds unstable. Put a stop to it now.
Exactly fastday and the fact that he called his daughter a liar is awful, but if he honestly believes she made it up, why would he not be concerned that a girl of that age was making things of that nature up about him?! No he just flatly denied it.
If he genuinely thought it was a lie he'd be on the phone to SS himself because she'd have had to see that somewhere and he'd want to protect her at all costs.
The fact that he isn't says it all for me.
Is it worth going back to the solicitor who negotiated for you?
thank you beebar what would social services do with this situation? Do you think that would be the better option, rather than go through solicitors?
yes fastday exactly my point. Yes, I think that might be the best bet, god knows where I'll get the money to pay for the solicitors fees though.
OP you need to get acting on this, fast.
I was 7 when my parents divorced and my Dad was nowhere near as bad as your ex, but he was very sexual with his new gf (ow) in front of me and it really has left me with lasting damage.
Your dc are far too young to be exposed to this sort of sexual behaviour, I can't stress enough how much this could give them sexual issues. I'm only speaking from my own experience, but the things you're describing your ex as doing is horrifying when there are children that young around.
Stop contact and get a solicitor involved ASAP. CAFCASS will then interview the kids.
Thank you Hoggle this is a wake up call, think I will send an email to solicitors asap. Would everyone agree this is the best next step to take?
I'd stop contact too until this is resolved. It's really very damaging.
Yes, I think that is the step I'd take. And depending on where that goes, his response etc, then SS might be appropriate. I personally wouldn't do that as the first step but I'm not speaking from a position of knowledge on that.
I guess you need to clarify what it is you want, too. Are you asking ex to stop this behaviour or are you seeking to reduce his access? If the former, how would you be assured that the behaviour was better? It's such a difficult position for you to be in, I really feel for you. And your dc.
Also - and I don't want to be scaremongering - but you could maybe think about getting your dc some counselling if you feel it's appropriate. All I can say is that some of the stuff I saw/felt was really confusing as a child and has altered my view of sex. As an adult I 'know' it's one thing but I also still have my childhood feelings/experiences towards it - It's a constant battle and it may well have helped if I'd have been able to talk things through at the time.
Honestly, I'm not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill here and you may feel that your dc don't need it, which is fine, but personally I think early counselling may have helped straighten my viewpoint on things as I grew up and started experiencing sex as an adult. Especially as one of your dc is approaching adolescence.
Thank you Hoggle I don't think you are making a mountain out of a molehill, at all. You are very qualified to put this point of view across. I will definitely consider counselling as an option for the DCs.
Having been in a not dissimilar situation though DD had told me nothing and the first I knew was an interview with the CP officer at school.
You write to your Ex stating you are stopping contact and list the reasons why and that this is your responsibility under the children's act.
You talk to your solicitor so they know exactly where you are.
It will get horrid in fact if I had my time again I would have bought a new mobile phone so that I could have turned off the text messages and emails - his record was 17 texts in 15 minutes.
On my solicitors advise I proposed a schedule of supervised contact which gradually increased to unsupervised in a public place etc.
You need to gather all the RL support you can around you it was the hardest thing I have ever ever done, but I would do it again in a heart beat if I thought DD was at risk,
She did have counselling and it really helped.
Have I would give you , but you are going to need all your wits about you.
lonecatwithkitten thank you so much for the advice. I did write a letter to my ex....but before I did my step-dad peer reviewed. He said he was shocked when he read it and said I needed to report it straight away, and if I didn't he would! Ok spoke to NSPCC today and explained to a lovely councillor, she said she could refer to Child Services who would deal with this. Ultimately however they would probably only enforce 'parenting classes' for ex to attend. Is that worth putting my children through scrutiny and stress, I thought. She agreed. She did say that a court ordered child arrangement needs to be in place and for that I'd need to do this through my solicitor. This would be to tighten up arrangements around the children, enforcing him not to have girlfriends around at contact time, no sleepovers, and certainly no porn watching or corporal punishment, and adequate supervision put in place. So next step.....write to solicitors? Anyone have any idea how much is this likely to cost me to have the court order put in place? I think its so unfair that I will have to foot the bill, this idiot contests everything over and over again......the apparently uncomplicated no court appearance divorce cost me £15k, he of course represented himself so paid nothing!
Hi OP, I think you have remained amazingly calm through this horrendous situation. I am normally very strong on the child's right to see the father however NOT in this case !
The Child Arrangement Order is not something you apply for. The cost is £215.00 and is something the non-resident parent applies for to establish contact (in your case re-establish) with the children by order of the court.
All you have to do is to stop contact forthwith. You have drafted a letter, send that. At the end of the letter tell him if he wishes to see the children it will in future be within the parameters of a legal framework and that HE needs to take steps to organise that with the court.
Before he gets to court, you will both be required to attend mediation. It cost between £100-200 per person. Because he has been abusive you may not wish to attend or may not wish to be in the same room. If it's the former, you must call the mediator and explain, whereby he can exempt you from mediation. If the latter, there is a system called shuttle mediation where you are in one room and him in another and the mediator 'shuttles' between the two of you to get an agreement on the way forward. If no agreement can be reached then you go to court.
You do not need a solicitor. You just need to stop the contact in the best interests of your children's welfare and HE has to do the legwork and go to the expense to prove he is suitable to look after Dcs.
You attend mediation, if necessary you attend court and tell the CAFCASS officer and the court the same things you outlined in your OP. Total cost : Mediation if you feel you can attend. (It looks better to the court if you can)
Oh God. Bite the bullet and book a session with an experienced family law solicitor now - it may be expensive but it's so important for both the children and you that you do everything by the book while protecting the children.
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