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HELP! - Advice on Cafcass Please.

(19 Posts)
JaneSa Fri 17-Jul-09 11:45:03

Hi All,

I have recently split from my abusive Ex, have 2 children and have been told that at the next court hearing (hearing no. 3)i will be speaking with Cafcass.
I have looked on their website so know who they are and what they do but do not understand how they can judge my personal situation with my ex and the impact it has had on the children.
Any help or advice on how they work and what they do would be great.

Thanks.

mosschops30 Fri 17-Jul-09 11:48:35

Sorry Jane but they will do just that!

They will speak to you and your ex separately, and then maybe together, depending on the age of your dc's they may also speak with them too.
They will then write a report, which you will be able to see, amd it will be presented in court and the judge will discuss it and maybe make a decison based on that report.
Some people have had very good experiences with CAFCASS, others not so good, and Im sorry but I dont have a particularly great opinion of them.

Good luck in what will be a very traumatic time

JaneSa Fri 17-Jul-09 12:02:14

Thanks Mosschops. My relationship was very verbally and a little physicaly abusive too. He also aimed a lot of this at the children. Will they take that in to account? Should i be preparing anything for the meeting?

I really just want to make sure that i get my point accross so that i can keep the children safe. Unfortunately Ex is a liar and i am worried they will listen to him over me.

Should i prepare statements from my Parents (the childrens grandparents) that support what i am saying?

I have heard so many good things but equally so many bad things about cafcass. I guess it is just the luck of the draw with the officer you get?

mosschops30 Fri 17-Jul-09 13:18:28

IMHO I wouldnt get bogged down by getting extra statements from your parents as they will hold little to no weight in court.
Most of us who have dealt with CAFCASS have come out of abusive relationships in some shape or form.
Unfortunately the law of this country states that contact must be promoted, and if your ex is 'trying' to be good and play the game then he will ultimately get access to your dc's in some shape or form.
I would advise being as honest as you can, without sounding like youre slagging off your ex, and also be open to some contact, maybe suggest it is supervised, they look favourably on this rather than you sitting there refusing everything

HTH

sunshine13 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:08:48

mosschops: Why do you say "unfortunatley" contact is promoted. Im sure that you will all agree that this is beneificial to your children. It doesnt matter what you think of your ex. Lots of women claim "domestic violence" Unless Your ex was actually committed any criminal offence then I wouldnt worry about any "safety issues"

My OH's ex accused him of DV and now the CAFCASS officer saw just how affectionate OH and wee one are together, finally managed to see through mad-ex's lies. In fact, turned out SHE needs counselling. She tried to stop OH seeing his child through claims of domestic violence and his anger management issues. Thank goodness for some small justice eh?

mosschops30 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:49:14

I can assure you sunshine that my situation was very different to yours.
And AFAIK lots of women do not 'claim domestic violence' it actually happens to some people.

GypsyMoth Fri 17-Jul-09 15:58:16

Fgs sunshine!! That's a load if rubbish for majority of cases

Oh, and there were no convictions on my ex for his dv on me either...... So there you go!! He still is abusive, and courts have recognized this!

Cafcass officer in my case has written to jdge and advised no contact. This is because my ex has refused to meet with or engage with any of the cafcass process....... No commitment.
She said it's first time in her career she has had to do this.

cestlavielife Fri 17-Jul-09 16:10:35

agree contact is beneficial so long as it is safe.

perhaps if an ex has managed to be abusive only out of earshot/view of the children then you could argue it was nothing to do with the children...sadly i would not think that its the case. further, the stress caused to the "victim" has impact on the children if they are unable to parent as effectively as they would like due to stress...

of course some women may claim abuse etc - sometimes abuse is in the eye of the victim...

in my case, my ex was cautioned for assault and criminal damage which took place in front of the children - not sure if that meets the "committed a criminal offence" criteria?

a lot of what he did was reported by me eg to social worker but ultimately my word against his.... if you werent there at the time it maybe doesnt sound so bad - and there are always two ways to report a football game/fight/argument - depending on who you support/believe....

certainly a future wife of his might suggest I have made it up, who knows... i would like to think he has learned from whatever therapy/anger management he has attended and has reformed for any future relationship...lucky her! or maybe she would just be someone who is able to set the boundaries at the beginning and stamp on behaviour at the first sign...who knows.

anyway, i have mixed feelings, certainly CAFCASS appeared to totally udnerstand my poitn of view but after more meetings with my ex, appear to almost ignore my concerns - he can be very manipulative... i keep on sending them his ranting emails to me - but of course the emails are not directed at the children so it doesnt matter doest it?? anyway, we did get supervised ocntact ordered which is safe for all and protects the children - and ultimately the ex in a way...

you can read this which talks about risk to children from "batterers" - pick out bits relevatnt to your situation and rewrite them to suit. i agree term "batterer" is somewhat unfortunate but it means an abusive ex who has been abusive...
www.lundybancroft.com/art_risk_children.html

but you have no choice, CACASS must be invovled, provide evidence, diaries, logs, reprots of childrens behviour after seeing him etcetc.

you need to be couching everything in terms of the children and their needs and wishes - eg the fact my six yr old d said clearly to CAFCASS officer she was scared to be with daddy on her own, without another adult present, in case he got "distressed" again and smashed things up etc. .

the separated fatehr/mothers who have killed their children were often reported to be "good fathers", who "loved their children". too often the concerns of the otehr parent are not taken into account.

watch the dispatches programme -

the children betrayed - the excerpts on family court system.... not the baby p/victoria cimbie - but the ones given unsupervised access depsite "claims" of domestic violence/abuse and concerns of the other parent.

sure - assess the claims of the parent, seek psych reports if you like - (i will happily put myself forward!) but take it seriously...

www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-31/episode-1
Almost 10 years after the death of Victoria Climbié, Dispatches investigates the failures still present in Britain's child protection system. With a child being killed by their parent or carer every seven days in the UK, and over 160 child killings since 2004, journalist Peter Oborne examines how such horrific murders might be prevented in the future.
The death of Baby Peter in 2007 focussed attention on the failures of social services but as Dispatches demonstrates, the failures in child protection reach beyond the realms of just social work departments to include police forces, health services and - as one mother claims - even the family court system.

JaneSa Sat 18-Jul-09 11:01:03

Thank you all for your feedback. I have to say, i am not one of those women who have made up the DV.
I do agree that children should be able to see their farthers but only if the child or children are safe. I do not belive that my daughter would be. He has told me on a number of occassions taht he will take her from me and never return her as has his mother. This is even written in his statement taht was presented to the judge at the second court meeting.
I just dont get how a stranger can say what is best for the children when they have no idea what goes on behind closed doors?

littlelynne Sat 18-Jul-09 13:32:29

i was told not to mention dv in court as a lot of people do just use it whether they suferred or not and it gets the courts back up. ridiculous as i've a restraining order on my ex and proof but had to play this down.

oldraver Sat 18-Jul-09 16:46:04

SUNSHINE ah, so we finally get the story as to why the 'mad ex' has tried to stop your DH from having access... He's a (alleged ) wife beater, just remember that a leaopard doesn't change his spots

Now will you do us a favour and fuck off to step parenting or wherever you can moan about the 'mad ex' (who now doesnt actually sound mad, just someone wanting to protect her DC's). You dont actually add anything to any converstaion you have bulldozed your way through with your nastiness and continual axe grinding

GypsyMoth Sat 18-Jul-09 19:15:48

well said old raver!!

little lynne......my solicitor hinted at similiar,but i wasn't going to play down his hideous behaviour for anyone!! that idiot put my and 4 dc in a refuge for a year,and eldest dialed 999 on her 'dad',so i waited for my moment. i looked directly at him,and explained why he should have no direct contact......sod what the courts WANT to hear! i watched the ex squirm,and the judges eybrows raise....and the idiot of an ex agreed he had done it,and then looked stupid in court and got a phonecall a fortnight only. and even that has been recomended to stop. got a full fact finding hearing,with psych reports. cafcass want him out of the kids lives permanently,and have requested this and a section 15? to stop him ever re-applying. why would anyone play down dv? never,never,never....

JaneSa Sun 19-Jul-09 10:27:04

I have to say Tiffany, I agree! Why should we have to play down DV. At the end of the day what have we got to hide? What have we done wrong and why the hell should it be us that should feel ashamed?
It is ashame that some women and men use DV as a lie to get what they want but not every one is a liar. I personally will be producing all my photos of what he did to me along with statements from my neighbours about what they heard and saw. My solicitor also wants to produce the police report and has said that it is vital information. He has said there is a time and a place to bring DV up but that it should never be swept under the carpet!

Sunshine your a step parent. I am sure you are a loving step parent at that but you are not the mother. A mothers love is unconditional and a mother will do everything in her power to protect her children.

mosschops30 Sun 19-Jul-09 12:22:23

well said old raver. I dont think Ive ever been so mad ever on MN about a post on a thread as I was about sunshines angry
Which is why Ive kept my distance, as my mother --still says-- used to say 'if you cant say anything nice then dont say anything at all' and there was nothing nice to say to that dreadful post

Niceguy2 Sun 19-Jul-09 16:54:39

Hi JaneSa

The simple fact is that there are no guarantees.

At the end of the day though someone has to make a judgement, the judge does that and takes advice from CAFCASS. They are supposed to be the trained professionals.

How else can it be done? Just take your word for it? Unfortunately some people do lie. Claims of DV are common rightly or wrongly.

If you can think of a better system then you'd be very popular indeed.

GypsyMoth Sun 19-Jul-09 19:19:25

yes,'niceguy'......so how are us women who have been treated so badly supposed to feel? never,ever,ever, should someone who has experienced dv feel pressured to dismiss it! ever!! no matter what!! sod everyone else who lies!!

worked for me! the fool has no contact with any kids,his step kids are now under social services.

lostdad Mon 20-Jul-09 10:31:31

Some facts:

Children have more chance of being killed by their father than their mother.

Children are more likely to be killed by step fathers than biological fathers.

The proportion of women suffering domestic violence is almost identical to that of men.

Government statistics prove the above.

It's amazing the number of people who `know' different. Reminds me of that quote from Blackadder:

`That's the spirit, George. If nothing else works, then a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through'.

It also amazes me that the same people who will say `The courts only deny contact to fathers when there is a good reason' will say in the next breath `He's allowed to see the kids but I say he's abused to them'. You may as well say `The courts are always right, except when I say they're not'.

GypsyMoth Mon 20-Jul-09 13:49:49

'more chance' 'more likely'......and on it goes. cafcass will see the truth if they do their job properly.

JaneSa Mon 20-Jul-09 14:06:46

I can only hope that they do their job properly then! Fingers crossed x

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