another contact one(15 Posts)
I know this comes up a lot, but I'm trying to get my head around what I can/should do.
Background: dd is 7; I left ex 6 years ago. Ex abusive and highly controlling. Court order in place: dd lives with me and the standard EOW/overnight on the alternate week/half of holidays with her dad. Her dad has a long history of making false allegations against me to police/social services etc.
Contact ongoing, okay in some respects, other than ex constantly badmouthing me and trying to manipulate dd to "choose" him. Telling her I'm planning to kill her, telling her she's not supposed to go anywhere or do anything nice with me because it's all just a plot for me to take photos and fool everyone into thinking she has a good time with me. He goes on and on at her, berating her, telling her she's lying to him.
Today she added some new stuff - She said that he slapped her body (which I think was a once-off) but more regularly he squeezes her hand, telling her the pain represents the pain of her being forced to be with her mother when she should be with him. She banged her head on the bathtub and said he tells her she should hurt herself from time to time so the pain reminds her of this separation.
I've been okay with the contact till now, but today's stuff is freaking me out. So much of what he says about me is projection (if I think of the implications of the killing thing being projection, I want to throw up).
So what do I do? The school are aware that contact is a problem, although obviously I haven't yet told them today's stuff (as it's Sunday) - I will tomorrow. They've already made a referral to children's services. I'll talk again to the social worker tomorrow, but last time I just got a weary "You and her father don't get on, do you?" We had a s37 report in 2013 which largely said that both parents are making allegations against each other, which is immensely frustrating. It's true that we both have made allegations, but not much weight seems to be attached that the only evidence found (not much) supports what I've said, not what he has said. It seems like he can get away with anything, once he accuses me before or after I accuse him.
DD due to have overnight contact tomorrow night, and for the first time in years she's saying she's scared to go and has a bellyache. Technically I'm supposed to encourage her, but frankly I'm scared for her too.
We've spent years in court and it's cost me £20k to end up where we started and I'm scared and angry to be here again.
- Children's Services seem to be reluctant to act in what they see as a residence dispute. What power do they have to act in this situation? Can I stop contact on their say-so? Can they give me that will make the court at least make a temporary order stopping unsupervised contact? I'd be okay with supervised.
Sorry for epic post. Epic emotions.
Take her to gp and let her tell the gp why she has a tummy aChe.
if she says what she told you gp shld see it as safeguarding issue.
Ask gp to refer to family therapist / psychologist . If what she says is true it's highly damaging and she must be one confused child. She needs specialist trained psychologist to help her deal with these messages.
It's your decision to stop contact or go back to court to revise the order but you need more than you saying that dd has said this...would she tell all to a teacher or the gp ?
That guy is seriously dangerous. Do not allow further contact and as previous poster says, get her to GP to document this and get her the help she needs.
Can you record her when she is telling you what's been going on?
She is 2 years older than the last report, she can speak for herself, so I'd accept she doesn't want to go and won't force her.
He can go and report you to court and then having you and your DD explain it all.
It's a good thing you have got people to listen to her now and on record. Make sure they hear it from her without you coaching her at all.
Thanks for the replies. I've spoken to the school again and dd has requested the chance to have another talk to them. School is taking it seriously. The headteacher will talk to children's services and I'll wait till they've had that conversation and then talk to children's services myself.
NSPCC recommended I give CAFCASS a call and talk through my options about not sending her to contact, which I'll do.
Sorry to hear about this. What you're describing does sound like attempted alienation on your ex's sake and other abuse.
You are right that you need to do something and you are clearly in an awkward situation as court orders are expected to be followed.
Children's Services do not have the power to stop contact - they have no power. If they think a court order to stop contact, etc. is in the best interests of yout DD they would have to make an application - the court is the only place orders can be made.
If you wish contact not to take place the `proper' way to do it is to go to court for an emergency hearing to gain an order that say, halts contact for the moment until the matter has been investigated. Should you stop contact without doing this you will be breaking a court order and risk facing a hearing for a breach. If I were going to play devil's advocate (and I were assisting your ex) I would advise that if contact deidn
But as you say - something that needs to happen. If you are able to convince Children's Services that may be a path forward and may cover legal aid costs. Please bear in mind that if they do however things will get much more complicated and you will be far less in control of any outcome than if they aren't involved.
If I were advising you (I am a McKenzie Friend) I would suggest you consider an emergency hearing today as a first option to do something quickly and to try to get this matter settled before it potentially spirals out of control with the involvement of Children's Services. My other half has a lot of experience with cases like this (and public law too).
If you want a chat, get in touch - may be able to give you a few pointers and put your mind at rest a little.
Thanks lostdad - did something go wrong with paragraph 4 in your post - I think the last line got lost?
Ha...sorry! Got interrupted.
Meant to say:
If I were going to play devil's advocate (and I were assisting your ex) I would advise that if contact didn't take place tonight that he seek enforcement against you for breaking the court order...if you were to send him a message saying `There is no contact tonight' I may even tell him to get to the court now with your message and a position statement saying:
a) Mum will be unilaterally breaking a court order
b) The existing order was made because it was in the best interests of the child.
c) Mum hasn't raised any concerns.
d) That if she wanted the order changed she should have made an application for a variation.
The above is a fairly well-worn road - I see them all the time. Saying that...I see them from the other side too so I tend to know what to expect!
Thanks. I've filled out a form for an urgent interim order and will just wait to talk to school/SS to see if I need to get myself down to the courtroom now.
If you have heart set on an emergency hearing put together a 2-page position statement setting out a very brief history, what the situation is and what you would like the court to order. So you need to be concise, factual and not to rely on feelings.
You will likely be told by the court staff that you can't be seen and that you need to submit an application and wait for a court date. This is standard. Some courts are clamping down on emergency hearings. Worst case scenario is that you are not seen/are told by a judge that contact needs to take place and that a hearing will take place in a few weeks.
Update - I did get an emergency hearing and contact is suspended. Paid the court fee and did it myself - court staff were helpful. Inter partes hearing on Wed. Children's services emailed me a letter for court supporting the application, pending full investigation.
Dd now saying that of course she wanted to see daddy tonight and she's upset and angry, leading to self-doubt on my part, but I can't ignore what she disclosed. I'm just hoping she doesn't retract it all out of guilt/wanting to see her daddy, but I'm assuming social workers are trained to deal with that situation.
Thanks to all for the support and lostdad, the advice about the court side of things was particularly.
Glad to have helped.
Your goal is to make sure your DD's best interests are served. The interim order gives a little breathing space. Hopefully the court will help you work towards the best outcome.
Just thought I'd update. Contact is currently supervised. Too soon to tell what the final outcome will be as it's all in motion and children's services doing a report. Looks like there will be a good chance of contact being supervised for the forseeable future. Dd acting like there's a weight off her shoulders. Feeling optimistic. Thanks to all for the advice.
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