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How long will contact need to be supervised, domestic abuse and social services concerns. I would like to talk :(

(23 Posts)
mulledwinefancy Sat 17-Dec-16 19:01:14

NC because ex stalks my mumsnet posting and I want to make it as hard as possible for him to do that.

I split with abusive Ex 3 months ago and he hasn't so far seen the children.
He was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to me, some of which witnessed by DC, and since SS have been involved ds has disclosed physical abuse of himself. Ss are currently doing a section 47 investigation because of concerns about ex abuse and neglect of DC, and though report is not yet written they have been clear that contact must be supervised at the moment.

I'm offering him (via solicitor) contact at a contact centre initially, because he is so very manipulative that I don't feel it would be fair to put the responsibility of supervising onto a friend or family member at the moment.
My solicitor agrees that this is appropriate - in fact she was of the opinion he should not be seeing them at all, but ss have said as long as it's supervised it's ok.

So my question I guess is how long does contact at a contact centre usually continue? I'm sure it's how long is a piece of string but I guess I'm wanting to chat about it and hear other's experiences.

Ex has a long term mental health disorder and I can't see him becoming magically safe to have the DC alone in future. The trouble is he can have long periods of being absolutely fine, but it's so totally unpredictable and when he's ill he's really not safe at all. He's also really good at fooling people some of the time. sad

Starlight2345 Sat 17-Dec-16 22:52:23

My ex was similar abusive , my issues.. we did contact through contact centre no court order .. it went on for months .. I had his mum there as he was incapable of looking after a baby .. it was probably 6 months before he gave up never ending suggested no idea if unusual or not

mulledwinefancy Sun 18-Dec-16 08:21:43

Thank you for sharing starlight do you mean he gave up and now doesn't have contact?

Gallavich Sun 18-Dec-16 08:25:37

Can I ask why you are offering him contact? Do they children really want to see him? Is he saying he will apply for contact through court? Just because children's services may support you to offer supervised contact doesn't mean you have to, unless you think it's the right thing for the children.
Regarding the contact centre - he will have to pay for it, so the answer to how long is probably as long as he's willing to do that for. If he wants that to change then he should apply to court and the courts will decide.

mulledwinefancy Sun 18-Dec-16 15:00:35

I'm offering contact because the children really do want to see him. It is only the eldest who ex has actually hurt, the others he has neglected (think leaving 4yo at home alone type of thing) but they all want to see him in a safe environment. I think they have benefitted from the break, and certainly from no longer witnessing ex abusing me, and I'm not in any way minimising his behaviour towards the DC.

But I do feel like it will be in their best interest to see him, like I say, in a safe environment. Ex has been 'desperate' to see them since he was arrested, but despite this has not sent birthday cards and presents, and did not respond to the cards the DC made to send to him despite my saying he could write to them angry. But I don't give a monkeys what he wants, I care what the children want. That is why I'm offering it.

Starlight2345 Sun 18-Dec-16 17:04:36

No ex doesn't see Ds anymore ... we did contact with mil supervising at soft play it failed in the end as it was too much effort . I don't know you ex but word of warning .. contact with my ex was about controlling me more than seeing D's.. also bear in mind children have no idea what is in their interests.. That is for you to decide... can I ask how you know he is desperate as frequent contact with you is a method of control

StewieGMum Sun 18-Dec-16 17:29:04

I would not offer any contact as there is no evidence to suggest that children benefit from a relationship with an abusive parent. The children will miss him but missing him is not the same as needing to see him. It will also give him a way to continue controlling you.

Supervised contact won't be long term and it can be expensive depending on how your local authority organises it. Say no on the understanding that should he receive appropriate treatment long term, you will review the situation.

Marmalade85 Sun 18-Dec-16 17:38:32

My ex domestically abused me and CAFCASS recommended no contact. However, the court ordered supported contact in a contact centre for 2 hours every Saturday which he has yet to arrange. CAFCASS has now conducted a section 7 and don't think my ex should have contact until he has completed the domestic violence course. I really don't think you should be offering contact just yet until you're aware of the risks.

mulledwinefancy Sun 18-Dec-16 18:22:58

Social services have been doing their assessment for a couple of months now, and while they have said there's no rush for contact, they have said they are happy with supervised contact and even told him that they would be happy with his friend supervising if I was, which was helpful of them, not hmm
I feel so confused, I feel like I'm getting mixed messages and conflicting messages from all around.

My instinct tells me that it will be good for the kids to see him, as long as he acts appropriately when they do. As long as he doesn't drop poison in their ears. But then I spent our whole relationship hoping against hope that he would magically become a consistently good father and he never did.

He can be a great dad at times.

But he has emotionally abused both me and DC. He was convicted of assaulting a woman police officer, and he is being investigated for rape but no charging decision has yet been made. He had sexually assaulted me in front of DC (forced me to kiss him when I repeatedly said no, restraining me and holding my face and forcing me to kiss him with tongues - deliberately in front of DC in order to 'show them we loved each other' angrysad). He did the kissing thing a lot in the last month of the relationship

But I won't be there at any supervised contact, and I've been told that properly supervised contact means someone will be listening to what he says and stop thing the moment it starts to get inappropriate. Is that really what happens?

If I refuse contact he will surely take it to court, and I get the impression that even men who has badly abused their children will still get contact at court. And I would rather avoid the upset and stress if another court case (only just finished the process of getting occupation order).

Some people have suggested it's better to get things set out clearly by court up front.

God, I just feel totally along at sea, like I'm rowing s boat with me and dcs and don't know which way to go.

mulledwinefancy Sun 18-Dec-16 18:32:49

Message deleted by MNHQ to protecte OP's privacy.

Nuggy2013 Sun 18-Dec-16 18:37:22

If he fails to attend 3 times, suspend contact and provide evidence via your solicitor in writing. I'd call it a day then until you have evidence he's addressed his issues.

Ponyboycurtis Sun 18-Dec-16 18:40:04

I dont know if supervised contact changes from LA to LA but in my experience, if the contact is agreed at court they will specify for how long and how many times a week, if the parent works then its usually on a weekend in which case another agency will supervise, if its in the week a Family Support Worker will supervise, they will make notes throughout and those notes will be typed and produced in court if needed. Contacts (here) are usually 1-2hrs and in a designated contact centre OR out in the community if deemed 'safe'.

AnInfiniteOceanOfLight Sun 18-Dec-16 19:04:29

Social services are not going to arrange supervision - they would only do that if it went through court, as i understand. It's all very odd to me.

Marmalade85 Sun 18-Dec-16 19:08:50

My local contact centre charges £42 per hour for supported and £100+ per hour for supervised in which a report is written detailing what happened. Supported just has someone coming in and checking every 15 minutes. Does your contact centre charge?

AnInfiniteOceanOfLight Sun 18-Dec-16 19:12:59

There are a few around me, I think they all do and are probably not cheap. I think it likely then that cost will be prohibitive (he doesn't work) and we'll end up in court. Which will cost me in legal fees.
Vaguely thinking it might be cheaper than going to court for me to fund contact centre, but that sends the wrong message and feeds into his controlling me (agree with pp who've experienced ex using kids to control them).

Starlight2345 Sun 18-Dec-16 19:15:48

I would be certain how supervised is .. why is your solicitor suggesting no contact? Bear in mind at contact centre he will be on best behaviour to get evidence he can go unsupervised .. do bear in mind you need to be confident on his visits not just the days he wanted to play dad

AnInfiniteOceanOfLight Sun 18-Dec-16 19:41:43

I don't know exactly why she thinks no contact. She said she rarely says that, and said that it was because he lied to court in the recent proceedings and she believes he is highly manipulative. She also mentioned the list of injuries that the nursery had provided - but I'm not entirely sure that she believes me that they were all accidental (they were). He was neglectful, which undoubtedly lead to more accidents, but he didn't actually injure any of the children, except by accident on 2 occasions. Both of which I was present and both of which were genuine accidents, albeit accidents that would not have happened to me and were down to a lack of proper safety awareness around children.

Social services know everything and they are not recommending no contact. Although tbh they are not recommending anything officially. Apparently they can't unless it goes to court. They can only report what I want re contact - and they're apparently going to write in the report that if I was saying he should have unsupervised contact they would be looking at child protection plans so that is effectively recommending supervised without actually officially doing so.

I don't know, maybe I should offer anything until the report is written and circulated. I have been working on the premise that it is in the DC interest to see him, and so not wanting that to be delayed. Realistically I don't think we'll have the report until the new year and ex is stalling on giving certain info, and keeps challenging info given by various professionals.

Urgh, maybe I'll phone SW again tomorrow (they must be heartily sick of hearing from me), and solicitor (certainly going to get yet another legal bill soon). Feel like screaming.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 19-Dec-16 12:07:38

sc can be crap at their advice around contact. They had no problem with ex still living with us despite him thumping me several times while he was driving the car around a roundabout with the kids in the back. after they were involved with us because ex smacked one of them for doing what little kids do and have no control over they were very much it was up to me to make the decisions about leaving them in his care and that it was my responsibility that I should decide as the non risky parent. thanks for that. (I have managed 6 years of supervising and protecting them )

AnInfiniteOceanOfLight Mon 19-Dec-16 16:22:31

That's exactly it - I wanted them to tell me what was best for the DC, but they say because I've left him and don't want unsupervised contact for him/them then I'm looking after them so I'm essentially on my own. I think it's because if they say contact has to be a certain way then they have to fund it, and they can't afford it.

Gallavich Mon 19-Dec-16 16:32:32

Infinite it's not actually about funding at all, it's about mandates and accountability.
If children are on a child protection or child in need plan, then children's services can recommend no contact with an abusive parent whilst work is carried out to reduce the risk to the children. However if The abusive parent doesn't engage with support then they can advise not to allow contact. They cannot actually block contact without being in care proceedings.
It's important that social workers don't overstep their bounds actually - so unless there is a compelling reason to advise no contact then they won't do that. Families are the ones who have to live with whatever is agreed, and if you think that contact would be beneficial then there is no point in a social worker telling you not to allow it. Also vice versa. You have the right to stop contact if you don't think it's safe.
Social services don't fund supervised contact outside of care proceedings these days much anyway, it's not just about money it's about handing responsibility to families which is where it should be, unless those families can't be trusted to make good decisions.

AnInfiniteOceanOfLight Mon 19-Dec-16 16:49:32

Ok, thanks for explaining. The SW have been very helpful and supportive with me so far, I guess I'm just driving myself a bit crazy waiting fir the report and despite knowing my kids best - I no longer trust myself since I have been in an abusjve relationship for so long without properly realising it. If that makes any sense.

Gallavich Mon 19-Dec-16 17:57:29

Of course it makes sense. Are there any services who can help you make sense of it all?

AnInfiniteOceanOfLight Mon 19-Dec-16 18:43:06

Yes, I'm hopefully starting counselling soon, being supported by DV keyworker, got a great solicitor and like I say, SW are really helpful and willing to talk to me and reassure me. But I just do need the report to be there, in black and white, so that we can move on to next steps re. Contact. For the children's sake.

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