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My Experience With SS :/(108 Posts)
Well thats just it. I could write a fucking novel on every shitty thing that could possibly happen, because with the exception of losing a parent or child to death, i've 'bin there done that' ..
Some people on here will see me posting with opinions on the Social Services (Childrens' Services) and will know i'm not the happiest with them.
This is my story, my explaination. Never written it in full before, so it may be a drip feed as things come back, a lot of it shut away for my own sanity..
It also saves me hijacking other peeps threads, lol.
I was 4 when my parents split up. My DF had cheated with my DM's best friend. That was disgustingly traumatic, added to which i and my Dsis got dragged through courtrooms and family mediation, seeing my mum cry was dreadful..the most frightening thing i remember as a child.
DM had always been physically abusive towards us (found out later this is why my DF fought for custody so hard) however, at the time, i remember hating him for leaving, and making mum cry.
My mum got with an abusive man, who i now know she had been hovering on the verge of cheating on my DF with anyway.
SD beat mum regularly, usually over our 'behaviour', or her treating us better than the 2 DS's they subsequently had. We all got treated the same from what i remember.
I rarely saw my DF, SM was jealous of us, and they had a disabled LO together followed shortly afterwards by Ssis and Sb, when we did see DF, SM always said we had behaved badly while he wasn't there, i overheard her saying we couldn't come to stay any more because we had been a lot of trouble, and that my Dsis had hit SDsis, who had cerebral palsy. This was completely untrue, and when DF asked, i said so. I think he chose the quiet life option after that and began to see us less regularly.
I always felt both mum and DF in their own way blamed me for outing DF's affair.
We regularly did the sitting in the window thing, asking DM what time was DF coming, what colour was his car so we could see it, often ending up disappointed. I feel for my DM now having to deal with two distraught kids.
One time DF actually bothered to turn up, he took us to a party at a friends' home. I distinctly remember him sitting with SM's DD from a previous relationship on his lap, or standing holding her on his hip, she looked upset and uncomfortable. whenever she got off his lap, it wasn't long until he scooped her up again. We all stayed overnight at this friend of my fathers'.
Later that night, i got up to go to the loo, i was aged about 7. I remember i couldn't find the light pull so went to the loo in the dark. Being a strange house, i worried about finding my way back to the room.
When someone came in the room, and quietly got into the bed with me, i was absolutely petrified. He went on to masturbate on me. I thought he had wee'd on me he told me.. 'If you tell your dad, i will make sure he never wants to see you ever again'
Well, been as i rarely saw my dad, this concerned me greatly. So i kept quiet. I guessed it wasn't as if he'd hurt me? .. So not a problem, really. Anyway, DF did his usual not visiting trick after that, so i assumed he had been told and thought i was disgusting and not worth bothering with.
I didn't tell DM, i believed she would tell SF and that would cause more rows, leading to her being hit more.
She eventually left him, and we moved to be closer to DM's parents and DF's parents weren't that far away either.
The only constant in my life had been DG and DSG on my dads' side, and my DAunt. If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have had holidays or a lot of toys. Indeed when DM left SD, it was to their home we went until a place in a refuge was found. DF did turn up there a few times hoping to reconcile with DM, i heard them discussing it. She wasn't interested.
Didn't see DF then much really, up until i was about 15 and he split with SM after finding out she'd been cheating while he was at work. Without SM and her constraints on him seeing us, and his sudden need for babysitters, it appeared we were welcome to go to his house again.
DM supported him through the split. I wasn't aware but at some point he struggled so much with being a lone parent to three DC's and also working, he had to put SDsis into respite care and the other 2 went into foster care with a friend of his.
He then moved into a house given to him to use by his work, having to sell the family home which had been specially adapted. SDsis had to stay in care, but the others, being older and able to walk to and from school by this time and cope for a little while until he came back, returned to his care.
I despised him by now, i had had DD and wondered how he could walk away from the type of love i felt for her.
Three years later, i had DS and DF cared for DD while i was in hospital, and our relationship recovered slightly. He began visiting me, and i stayed over some weekends while he was working. It was during this time when he asked me, did i know anything about his friend, who had been accused of abusing a number of girls, including his own DD, and SM's DD. The man i remembered from the party..
I denied anything had happened to me, i still felt dirty and raw about what had happened when i was a teen, and was going through the fallout of DD's abuse.. Will put this in another post but supported SDsis in her statement with what i had seen. Later on i broke down and admitted he had done something to me.
The police were fab, very supportive, but long story short, he was aquitted of all charges, as the DD he had abused had ended up in a psychiatric unit, and i guess the rest of us just weren't believed
After that, the abusers' prediction appeared to come true, as the relationship with DF falter shortly after that, and i didn't see him for years. DM didn't believe that i had been abused by the man. The defence for him used details given to him without my knowledge about DD's abuse and this was disclosed in court, they basically said that i used stuff that happened to DD as 'my own supposed experience' which was totally untrue, as what happened to me did not happen to DD.
Sorry this has been long. Will write my other post now <cracks knuckles>
I have read your posts, and i think you are an amazingly strong woman, and proof that a mother will fight for the child she loves. I hope you daughter is well, and can grow into a strong woman too. Lots of Luck for the future, i hope you now have an amazing life.
Best wishes xx
OP no one should ever have to go through that. Ever. Just heartbreaking.
for you and your children.
Thanks AF fraggle and jen
Thank you too reality/eleanor lol
We have a lot more to get through.
DD came home but states i am not really her mum because i didn't bring her up for 11 years. She also couldn't understand why i didn't visit her at times, or tell her i loved her, or wanted her home.
I have put her straight on most of that because tbh she wouldn't have known about the court case ect, i understand about the mum bit too, i was systematically taken apart and removed from DD's life until i would have been little more than a memory if i hadn't gone to apply for an EPO. I incidentally was the first parent ever to apply for one my claim to fame there.
Thank you for believing me, its hard to read and i thought 'would i believe me if i was reading this' it would be easy to cover up child abuse with excuses but what i say here is 100% the truth. I am so honest sometimes it gets me into bad situations, or worsens them, but i still won't lie.
Its nice to be believed and supported. You are wonderful people x
Having spent many years in SS, it's horrible to say but I believe you. I met some awful sw in my old job, many who didn't follow though and some who were just crap!!
I would like to think I was one of the good ones but sadly the good ones don't last long in a horrible job that takes so much.
The thing is OP up to reading your dd was removed, I can kind of see why they did it. But any treatment after was just awful and I'm sorry
I could understand that too, don't worry i won't bite your head off lol. I begged and begged for support to be told there was none that i could have unless the DC's were on the at risk register, or actually under a care order. So i begged them to put DD on the register and they refused.
I'm that we have to fight for anything for our kids. I have spent years fighting for DDs supportive services but still nothing and I know the system
Did they ever give a reason why it was acceptable for you to keep your ds who was younger and therefore more likely at risk?
Did your dd get help for dealing with the abuse?
Oh .. also when DD left care they were trying to get her diagnosed with something, i think it was aspergers? Any idea why they might have done that? x
I believe you too.
It took me ages to read and I teamed up a few times.
I thought I was having a hard time till I read this.
My heart goes out to you, may your family find peace and healing xxx
Because maybe she has it, or they needed a reason for her behaving behaviour other than the fact they clearly failed her and you!
Yes DD got a counsellor who saw her every week and cost £60 an hour including travel, they demended this as a condition of her being returned, i had forgotten about that. I couldn't afford it, it was one of the reasons the CO was granted, because they could provide that and i couldn't. DD didn't get on with her anyway and shortly after the CO was granted she didn't see her any more.
And if i narrow it down.. i was told 'You can keep DS because there's nothing wrong with your parenting of him, but you wouldn't be able to effectively parent an abused female child'
DS had been abused too, inappropriately touched, by DD's abuser, but they didn't take that any firther, the CPS decided there wasn't enough evidence.
Further dayum fat fingers..
The thing is, there are people suffering the same right now. They can't get support unless anonymously because apart from a mckenzie friend, you can't let anyone else, and that includes family although this is obviously commonly flouted, know details of the case, share court statements with them, or really get any of their own experts in because they're so expensive.
Family courts are closed so you can't even go to the papers and tell them to sit in on your case and see the injustice thats being meted out, or decipher the porkies that get told, or the word twisting. You are there, alone, fighting a battle with people for whom money and RL isn't a problem, when you get to know one, and get a decent working relationship going, they leave, and you have to start again. There is never a shortage of new SW's to replace the ones before so they have 'fresh horses' and you are a tired old nag.
You can't (legally) record the meetings, they knew i was a FASSIT member at the time and i was asked if i had any recording equipment before they allowed me into meetings.
Eventually i was banned from the LAC reviews for asking too many questions about 'things that didn't matter' like why the police were never called to investigate DD's allegations of abuse by the two FC's (sexual emotional and physical) .. i was told i would get minutes instead and be contacted for my opinion before each one.
Needless to say this didn't happen.
They moved DD school against my wishes twice, and her education suffered as a result. She was doing a course she didn't like in college because she was told 'further education or you have to leave the FC's home' .. she wasn't supported in her choice of course at all, at the time she didn't even have an allocated SW.
There is so, so much i could say. Too much really. I got tired of fighting, tbh, and broke down often. Special occasions were awful. Xmas, birthdays..
But i didn't give up on DD because of my previos experiences i was hard and had bottle, i had the stamina that i needed to face their shit every day, whatever they threw i could take it.
If i hadn't had a hard life i believe i would have folded sooner.
I'm so sorry to hear your story. Until I was caught up in the private family law court I would have been astounded to hear your story but now it doesn't surprise me at all. The first time I went on MN was on the legal board because I was upset that my cafcass officer had lied in court. Some bastard flamed me and said my Cafcass officer 'obviously had the measure of me' I was devestated because whoever it was seemed to think these SW types didn't lie! That was nothing compared to what you have been through. You sound strong though and an inspiration to me to get through the shit I'm going through xx
Hi daisy x
It used to be that you couldn't make a formal complaint about the guardian ad litem, or cafcass officer. However, i made a complaint against mine, and it was upheld, the guardian was changed.
At a later date when we needed a guardian in proceedings where DS's father got back in touch and wanted contact, and i wanted to make sure he wouldn't be abused as he had been by his dad when he was little, she was allocated to us again! Sods law, lol..
Well she backed down politely and said she couldn't take on the case so that saved me a job. I was willing to work with her again as it was nothing to do with DD but i think she knows she will never be forgiven for robbing me of the chance to have DD home and lying about my mum taking her to see her abuser (My step brother)
Put in a formal complaint. you have nothing to lose unless the next one is just as horrid. BTW, most of them are ex SW's so of course they will be on the same page and very glib at telling porkies when it suits.
They know there is no way you can disprove what they say and even if you can, by the time you do, its on a statement and the case files, so forever in the system. Even if you manage to do a data protection act request and successfully get it removed, rare because you have to prove that its untrue, you won't get an apology and it will have already done the damage it was intended to do.
I will personally never get over the SW team leader sitting outside the court with me scrounging my cigarettes, then whipping her inhaler out and saying 'i have really bad asthma' i was like and lol
Thats what worries me, the next one might be worse! They're not involved at the mo and I'm going to try and keep it that way.
Funnily enough I do admin for a recruitment agency that recruit SW's and Cafcass workers (Haven't advertised that to them though!) and the general opinion seems to be that you have to be a bit strange to be one! In my experience they seem to be on some sort of a power trip.
I will kick up a right stink though if they try to give me another cafcass officer. I'm going to demand NYAS instead.
OP I have read your story and I just want to tell you that your post made me so angry on your behalf, I just don't know what to say.
Heartbreaking, awful and I cannot imagine how you have coped.
I wish I had something useful to say, but I can only send you love, and good thoughts, over the Internet. Though, I am a therapist in RL, please PM me if you would like any help at all.
LOL at power trip, yes indeed i did think that at times.
I feel sorry for them really. I bet they see some awful things i hate them for what they did to my family not as an organisation fullstop. I just wish they were more honest, i don't lie, i don't see why anyone else feels the need to.
Indeed it was often said to me by anyone i told the full story to, that the first SW had made things up, so she would have looked silly retracting her allegations and backing down, as we know they wouldn't apologise either, so she threw all her weight behind proving her lies and piled more and more on in that effort.
I can understand that, digging a hole then digging further and further to prove to others that you're not just stupidly digging a random hole, but to prove it you sneak over on a night and drop treasure down it, then jump up and down saying 'see i knew i was right to dig this hole'
Thats what it felt like she did. Sorry if it sounds silly.
DD says she wants to sue them, and asked if i would support her.
Tbh i wouldn't know where to start, but i wouldn't want her going against their might and endless reams of public cash, and i don't doubt they would have an effect on her life in revenge. I want my grandchildren to be safe (if i am blessed with them)
It worries me that their parting shot was to say DD had aspergers. I think that if she has kids in the future they will try and get involved.
If i help her to go against them, it could go the way that we want in that they would know she isn't one to be messed with, and then she would be safe, or they could harbour a 'beef' and bring it into play if she has her own children.
Having seen how my own past was used to rip my family apart, i have no doubt that they would do the same to DD and thats not how i want her life to be
To be fair I have only had the experience of one Cafcass officer, maybe if I'd had a different one things would have been different. I'll keep an open mind if I ever have to have another one.
I've thought about you all day, your story sounds like a book. Maybe you should write your story, that could be great therapy for you and it could help other people too. I think you are very brave and I wish you all the luck and happiness you have missed out on up to now.
I'm so sorry this happened to your family. Absolutely shocking.
Could you send your story to the papers/ magazines now? It may help others including your daughter if she is worried about the repercussions of suing the bastards.
Having ASD would by no means mean her children would come near SS.
She will be classed as a "care leaver" until she is 21 years and then after that it would not be noted unless she told someone eg Health visitor or midwife or there was a SS referral.
I still often think of the families I worked with and being told I was wrong in my assessments, but I never backed down. I refused to stand in court and swear on the bible the truth unless I knew it was. Many a time I got in trouble for saying "I can't answer that".
Personally I wouldn't sue but only because I think you both need time alone without SS hanging over you, try and make best of time you have given all the years you missed.
Ah they told me she will be classed as a care leaver until she is 25.
21 will be much more preferable.
I do know a lot of 'care leavers' through what i've been through and my personal experience is that before they are 21, if they have a child, they usually get shipped off to an MBU where it is rare they come out with the baby.
And once one is taken it appears any more born after that are also fair game
I am tempted to tell DD not to sue just yet, but then i think of how they let her down, and the fact she may be able to get some justice now, then again, the thought of dealing with them all over leaves me cold.
FWIW the leaving care team have openly admitted to being shocked and disgusted at many aspects of the case and care of DD. She came out of FC totally unable to live without support. She doesn't know how to cook, clean, budget. Absolutely shocking.
I will never forget the two good sw's we had, one of them was male and actually bothered about DS, taking him out ect, he was the one who sorted out the contacts for DS and DD, after they had had no contact for about 7 years apart from in school. He was disgusted that DS and DD were in the same school, yet DS had been dragged away from DD any time they met, on the orders of the former SW. As was always the case, he pissing left just after everything started going well, and after him, there was no SW allocated to DD for years.
It just seemed that once they had got DD, they stopped trying as hard..
The other, who nearly lost her job for sticking up for us, oh my god i love her to bits, as a friend! She was appointed as the chair in the meetings that followed DD's return home A wonderful, wonderful woman, very kindly, and straightforward. Trust me, she didn't heart and flower it, she disagreed with me at times, we swore at each other, came to compromises, cooked up schemes, and argued some more, but she was and still is a fantastic person i hope she continues in her new post for a long time
It struck me while she was involved, that the other 'agencies' school ect, that had followed the former sw's like sheep, despite professing to support me when out of her earshot, treating me like shit on their shoes, did a 360 overnight when she became involved. People like that dreadful counsellor, phoning me to arrange support at home for DD when she was returned, speaking to me like i was her best bud in the whole wide world.
Superficial woman. I hate people that don't have the courage of their convictions, or balls to stand up and be counted..
Lisad do you think that 28 days is pants really for an initial assessment? Its one of the things i campaigned to change. Ridiculously short amount of time imo.
An initial assessment shouldn't take that long at all tbh! It's purely a assessment to decide if its no further action/child protection/child in need/ or PPO!!
Any further assessments should be alot longer. Parenting assessments here take 3-4 months!
ncg great idea but i wouldn't want to risk any future case collapsing because i opened my gob lol. I was asked a while ago to write the story of DD for a national paper but i wouldn't because it meant possibly incurring the wrath of the SS and i had just found out i was PG with DS2 x
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