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SS and pre-birth assessment(4 Posts)
Just looking for some advice and clarification on behalf of my niece - it's going to be a long post, sorry!
She has been with her partner 3 and a half years and is currently 25 weeks pregnant.
SS are involved solely due to her partners previous convictions. He is 31 now but when he was 16 he was charged for 'indecent exposure' with the acts relating to adult women. There was 9 convictions of this and it took his sentence past 30 months, resulting in signing the SOR indefinitely (although his offender manager who comes out to see him once a year is pushing for him to apply to come off it once the 15 years are up.) He did 9 months in prison, some in a young offenders place.
He alerted his offender manager about the pregnancy at 4 weeks and she followed procedure and referred to SS at 8 weeks who subsequently initiated a pre birth assessment at 18 weeks ish.
The offender manager stated that the case should be 'simple' for SS as he is the lowest of low risk and is not seen as a threat to children. In fact, he lived with his 10 year old sister at the time of the convictions and for many years following this and no referral to social services was made then.
The pre birth assessment is taking ages which is understandable because it's so comprehensive and hollistic. They have recently had a pre-birth planning meeting with the midwife, offender manager and SS. It was discussed that they have lots 'protective factors'
The midwife is happy with the couples engagement and stated their attendance at hypnobirthing and parent craft classes as protective factors and she is also happy to facilitate a homebirth. The offender manager saw no relevance to go into the offences in great detail at the meeting and repeatedly stated he was low risk and there's no evidence of reoffending and hasn't been since the convictions.
Can I be clear - no one is condoning what he did when he was 16, least of all my niece who makes it very very clear. For information purposes, he has changed his life around and has a career, lovely home and supportive family. No drink, drugs, mental health risks... nothing else.
They are very emotional and anxious. The SS manager feels it necessary to repeatedly state the possible outcomes, laboursly citing legal proceedings and child protection plans - they've not even completed the assessment yet and state no risks are identified.
They said they want to look at courses for offenders; so my nieces partner rang the offender management unit and asked for available courses, they said none are relevant for him and there is no need for courses because he is low risk of reoffending. They said they will chase this up with SS.
They've been commended on their preparation for baby, supportive family, great home conditions and how welcoming they are with social services. The couple themselves actually ring their SS to arrange sessions to go over 'why the offences were committed' following feedback from the pre birth meeting.
Now for my questions...
1. How do SS assess the risk? How can they identify risk were a man was 16 committing offences against adult women, has completely changed his life around in a 13 year period and is now having a son. If it comes back there is a risk, how can this be so?
2. When should a pre birth assessment be completed by?
3. The offender manager says that with so much positive professional opinion, there shouldn't be a bad outcome. In your opinion, particularly if you have experience of child protection, what's the likely outcome?
4. Oh and one big question! How can they possible say he is a risk to his son when he previously lived with his 10 year old sister and they didn't even bother to make a referral?? Apparently they are trying to find files which justifies this decision...
So sorry this is long it's just a very anxious time for all of the family.
What can they do to make the outcome better? They've asked their SW and she said sit tight and wait for the assessment to be completed and we'll go from there.
OP, can you first confirm how long the custodial sentence was for and if there was any violence involved with the offences. ( it's relevant to the advice I can give ) . ..
No violence involved in the offences. I think the sentence was 31 months but only 9 was spent in prison.
Another area of confusion is when he was sentenced by CPS judge, the judge said he does not have to sign the SOR. The solicitor said this in the holding cells too. There is a letter from the after court admin team(?) which confirms this. Despite this, When he left the prison, the officer made him sign before leaving.
He's shown the letter saying 'not required to sign' and everyone is very dismissive of this as an admin error. I'm thinking it could be something to do with indecent exposure only being made a sex offence in 2003. Very confused about how a judge can be wrong though.
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