Cafcass and half sibling sexual abuse(26 Posts)
Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated.
As a background....
I left my husband and divorced 2 years ago due to his anger, aggression and obsessive controlling behaviour. I was concerned about the children spending time with him after we split but felt that it was also important for him to have a relationship with the children as long as it was healthy and safe.
However, after many disturbing accounts by the children of his behaviour whilst they were in his care, and after umpteen attempts to resolve the situation with my ex, I finally decided to go to a solicitor and take legal action - even though it is financially crippling me (I don't get Legal Aid because I part own the house that the children and I live in but I am a Teaching Assistant so on a low salary).
After the first hearing, a S7 was ordered and I have just had my meeting with the CAFCASS officer that has left me extremely upset. We talked about my ex for a while but then the discussion changed to talk about my ex's son.
My ex's son sexually abused my daughter over a month long period when she was 5 and he was almost 12 (she's now 11, he's 18). My son was also part of the abuse - encouraged to touch my daughter's genitalia etc (he was 3 and is now 9). We contacted SS and they investigated and asked if we wanted to prosecute - we didn't but asked for therapeutic support for my ex's son. We also attended CAF meetings where my ex was v vocal about quickly re-introducing his son back into our family. He was v forceful, contacting external agencies prior to the meetings to persuade them etc. Ultimately I was made to feel like I 'wasn't moving on' by being reluctant to re-establish contact.
I eventually agreed to limited contact and SS said it had to be supervised, which I completely agreed with. My ex then bullied me into allowing contact to take place at our house (he would shout, swear, rant every day at me - saying I had mental health issues and that there was no way it'd happen again and that I was sick to even think it could etc etc). I didn't want contact at our house because life is busy at home and it's harder to supervise but, heigh ho, after applying pressure on the external agencies, again they then encouraged me to allow contact at home.
On the second period of contact in our home, his son (then aged 13) abused my daughter again (she was 7). He sat next to her on the sofa and used a cushion to hide the fact that he was abusing her. There were 2 adults present in the room at the time.
This time, I prosecuted. He got a 12 month referral order and was forced to sign the sexual offenders register. He was also diagnosed with Aspergers. Throughout, my ex has still tried on and off to discuss re-introducing his son into my son's life, and when my daughter was 9, even suggested that she was old enough to make her own mind up about whether she wanted to see him or not!
I found this very, very upsetting because his son is clearly very disturbed and poses a huge risk to our children. So, at the first hearing my solicitor asked my ex to sign an undertaking that he wouldn't introduce his son to our children during any contact with him. He did, and I was hugely relieved and finally I thought that the whole nightmare could finally be put behind us. But then I had my meeting with CAfCASS...
The officer had met with my ex a few hours earlier - and like so many others, my ex is charming, manipulative and extremely believable. The officer then said that as part of his S7 report, he would have to discuss the future and as part of that he asked how I would feel if my son, in a few years time, asked to have a relationship with his older half brother. I told the officer some of my concerns, but I was floored that he would even suggest it after all we have been through.
I told the officer that prior to the 2nd lot of abuse, my ex's son had asked my daughter if she'd seen me naked and asked her to describe what I looked like naked. I told the officer that I did not trust my ex's son with my own son and that he could have inappropriate discussions with him about me and my daughter. I'd trusted him once, and then after a lot of soul searching, I'd trusted him a second time - both times resulting in harm to my children. Clearly his behaviour is also compulsive - because he hadn't learnt any lessons after the first lot of abuse and attempted it again at the first chance he had.
Im also devastated because, I know, that as soon as there is any mention of contact between my ex's son and my son in the S7 report, my ex will badger and hound for contact to happen. I'm floored because I only took legal action in the first place to prevent my ex from emotionally damaging them and now I find that I'm having to fight a whole new battle. I feel like my husband has done it again - manipulated an external agency. Groundhog day.
I'm so sorry to take up so much of your time - but I suppose my questions are - what do you think about the questions raised by CAFCASS - is it reasonable for my son and his son to have contact? am i being over-emotional in my response (my son does miss his half brother)? Or, as my gut tells me, is this completely wrong?
Should I try to speak to the cafcass officer again before he files his report to impress upon him how this all might affect me and my children - Im not convinced he has fully grasped the situation and fear he's been influenced by my ex saying he'd just like to take his 2 sons to a football game now and again......I did say to the officer that if the boys re-established contact, my daughter might feel like the 'outsider' and it might bring up uncomfortable thoughts and feelings for her, especially when she's doing so well at the moment....but the officer said that they are 2 separate people and that we shouldn't stop contact for him just because 'it might hurt her feelings'. Am I right in finding this hard to swallow? What course of action do you think I ought to take next?
Huge, huge apologies for the length of my message xx
I would fight tooth nail for my children to never see there half brother . I am sorry you and your children are going through this . Your Ds missing abuser is not him in a good place
Thank you. That's exactly what I needed to hear. At the start of this process, I put a lot of faith into the professionals and so I wanted to check that others agreed with my gut instinct, and that in this instance, CAFCASS are wrong to suggest contact either now or in the future. I really appreciate your response xxx
Hi there. Over my dead body would I allow that boy near my child!! Sounds like the professionals are bowing under pressure from your aggressive ex. Go higher..go to the top and evidence is all there that the boy cannot be trusted with other children. Cafcass probably asking because ex has raised the question. Tell them the truth. It's not about 'your feelings' it's about the fact that boy is a persistent sex offender who is a very real risk to your kids.
Huge hugs coming your way x stay strong and tell EVERYONE. GP. Social Workers. Cafcass. Write it in a letter emotion free..basic facts and evidence re risk and impact of abuse on kids. Wish I could help you more. Good luck. You are a brave woman x
73Marie, thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. Earlier today I'd composed an email to CAFCASS highlighting the safeguarding risk my ex's son poses to my children. I've been wavering about sending it or not - worrying about whether it will damage my relationship with CAFCASS - but ultimately, I feel that I have to speak out regardless. Then, after reading your response, I decided to hit send. So, thank you x It feels the right thing to do but it also feels good to think that I'm not going mad - and it's so reassuring to have my thoughts validated by others who've taken the time to read and comment on this post. It's really appreciated xx
What a terrible situation for you and your children.
Stay true to your gut instinct, I wouldn't want this child near mine.
God, absolutely send the email. You are doing the right thing. Your poor kids.
Stay focused and don't let anyone try to make it about 'you' or your feelings. That's a strategy to undermine the seriousness of the situation. It's about the children. Every decision and action taken must be about the children, their safety from sexual and emotional abuse.
There must be charities out there to support your children...get them involved. They have power.
Well done on sending email. Fingers crossed you get the right response. X
I am utterly astounded that CAFCASS are even considering trying to facilitate a relationship between a child and a convicted paedophile half siblings or not that is absolutely outrageous!
You’re doing the right thing, it also sounds like your ex can’t be trusted at all I really hope things go your way.
My only dealings with CAFCASS lead me to think they employ people living in a parallel universe because what they report bears no resemblance to what gets said in a meeting. You have to stand up for your children. The boy is a convicted abuser and your children are an easy target for him. Stand your ground.
How far up can you complain and escalate this to cafcass? Can you threaten to go to the media? They shouldn’t be even thinking about reintroducing your children’s abuser into their lives.
Never ever let them have any contact. Horrific! I’d also question contact with ex, since he clearly has shown he can’t or won’t protect the children, he’a More interested in playing happy families. Fight. Fight. Fight. This is a clear cut one to me but will be so hard for you. If you haven’t already, get some counselling for yourself.
(Should add counselling comment, is because it will be traumatic fighting for you kids and you’ll need support)
I agree with ginis, I don’t know what planet CAFCASS are on. But have faith, the court didn’t take much notice of my cafcass officers report because it was just bizarre. Good luck, I feel for you xx
May I suggest posting this on legal aswell. You'll get some amazing advice over their from people who are actually solicitors/barristers or work within the court setting.
Another thought I have had on this post have you contacted SS as well..Ex is failing to safeguard which is an issue in itself.
I agree post in legal too they may have some more specific advice.
I would genuinely like to thank you all for taking the time to write and posting such supportive comments. It's helped me so much.
I was shocked when he started to talk about 'hypothetical' contact in 2 or 3 years, but then I started to doubt myself a little given that I was talking to an experienced professional. Inside though, I was screaming "Noooooo, not again," especially when he then went on to say that he was considering mentioning possible future contact in his report. My ex would have a field day if he were to read that - I'd have non stop harassment from then on.
I'll definitely keep fighting and I now feel much stronger in my determination after reading all your comments. Thanks also for the tip re: posting it on Legal. I'll do that now x
If I had to pack up and move to the other side of the world to prevent contact I'd do it.
Your ex and his son are animals and no, I don't care about extenuating circumstances.
Thinking of you all, OP.
Starlight2345, I did contact SS but they just told me to 'act protectively' which I took to meaning 'seek Legal Advice'. I had hoped that they would become involved but I suppose, given their workload, we are not a priority case...
Not in a month of Sunday's would I allow this pervert anywhere near me or my children!!! He is entirely culpable for his behaviour and he is simply too dangerous to be around any child. I hope the ex's son is being closely monitored. I wouldn't trust your ex either, he is incapable of putting your childrens needs first.
Absolutely would refuse to allow this.
You may want to do a little googling and research on CAFCASS staff being inexperienced in recognising and handling grooming from charming male abusers, and becoming agents of the abuser. It is a known phenomenon. Also google (easy to find) the research and new advice about contact NOT being presumed as automatically in the interests of the child where abuse has taken place. Mention risk assessment: the other child is a known sexual offender, has exploited circumstances twice with the result that your daughter is a twice over victim, once during an attempt to see if contact could be safely managed, and managed to do it in a room under supervision of two adults. Women's Aid keep info on all this and are used to supporting mothers being pressured to send children back to known abusers for contact, worth a call to them for resources.
No absolutely bloody not, not for either child. If ex is going to abuse you about it - and it sounds like for him it's about you and forcing your boundaries and overcoming any limits you set - then it's getting women's aid and police advice about confronting and stopping the harassment. If necessary, a restraining order.
The CAFCASS person sounds totally out if his depth.
Your children were both abused. No, they shouldn't be expected in either case to have contact with their abuser. Time doesn't heal all wounds. You need to show your children that you will keep them safe. Contact with your former stepson would be a huge backward step.
Thanks Bucketsandspoons, great advice. Will definitely ask for a risk assessment then, if the continue to push. Will also engage other agencies if necc - great idea, thanks
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