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Family Law Question

(6 Posts)
Rosyleigh Wed 23-Mar-16 11:32:03

My ex husband has been striking our children during contact (strikes to the head, kicking), he has also been verbally abusing them frequently calling my boy 'a little shit'. In November last year I asked him to stop this, via an email, followed up by a letter from my solicitor warning him that I would go to the authorities if this continued. The children have reported to me that the abuse has not stopped and he continues to strike them for minor misbehaviour such as 'backchat'. This weekend he showed them a webpage indicating that he was perfectly within his rights to strike them as long as it was 'reasonable punishment'. I have therefore alerted Child Services who are calling me back to tell me what the next steps are, meanwhile they have asked me to get legal advice as to whether I can stop contact. I want to stop unsupervised contact until a resolution has been met whereby I can be confident the children will be safe and he will stop hitting them as a form of punishment. The arrangements for the children is informal and not ordered by the court, he sees them every other weekend. Can I halt contact arrangements until this can be resolved. What would be the next steps?

Mumblechum1 Wed 23-Mar-16 12:45:13

As there is no contact order in place, you are perfectly within your rights to refuse contact.

He will have to apply for a child arrangements order and you will at that point need to file a statement (and if you have any independent evidence that would be hugely helpful).

Rosyleigh Wed 23-Mar-16 13:11:03

Thank you Mumblechum, unfortunately I do not have any independent evidence, only the childrens' accounts, which confirm each others. I have spoken to NSPCC, and Family Lives and they have said that the children are at risk and will be impacted in this situation and that it is abuse. Those are my grounds for stopping the contact. Is there anything more I could do at this stage?

Mumblechum1 Wed 23-Mar-16 13:37:38

You may wish to ask the school if they've noticed anything of concern, eg acting up immediately after contact visits, and if so, whether they'd be prepared to write a letter at this stage while it's fresh.

How old are the children?

Rosyleigh Wed 23-Mar-16 13:52:30

They are 9 and nearly 11, and they haven't been acting up at all at school (fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be).

I'm now confused because whilst I have spoken to various child protection bodies who all told me this was abuse and the children were at risk, I've just finished a conversation with a solicitor via the Family Law Panel, who said she didn't think it was abuse, it was more that the ExH wasn't 'coping' and he needed to address his poor parenting.

HappyHedgehog247 Mon 28-Mar-16 20:53:20

I think whether or not it is judged as abuse or 'not coping', as you have no court order you are in your rights to temporarily halt contact. Your email and solicitor's letter show this is not an impulsive act. Create a simple diarised record of any quote/event you can remember and keep it from now on. I would call Cafcass and speak to the DCs GP. The more you have on record the better. These are just things I would do, of course the more legal advice you can get would be better. Some abuse agencies give free legal advice. Women's aid may point you in right direction.

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