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Just HOW do I protect my kids?!(69 Posts)
I name changed for this. I'm at my wits end and need advice please.
I fled an emotionally and physiologically abusive relationship two years ago. I never reported the incidents leading up to that day when I feared for my life and I never reported the incident that occurred that day, when I genuinely feared for my safety.
My three children were witness to the unprovoked verbal attack in which my ex threatened to end my life. There was lots of shouting, and at my children were screaming. At first chance, with my kids in tow, we ran out of the house. I never went back after that day. But because I stupidly never reported the incident at the time, when I tried to get full custody of my children, they said there was no proof that these events occurred, and that it wouldn't stand up in court. I was refused legal aid and advised that even with all the money in the world, without evidence that my ex was an unfit partner, he would not be refused custody.
Months went by. We had a shared informal custody agreement of 50/50. I was never OK with it but as we both have Parental responsibility, and he was over powering, I could not do anything about this.
His treatment of the children are appalling. He is verbally and emotionally abusive towards them. Calls them names, swears at them, belittles them and they have confessed to 'learning how to behave so dad doesn't loose his temper with us'. It breaks my heart.
Ive contacted Social services 3 times now. They are not interested as he hasn't hit them and because the only way I can ensure they are safe, is by going for full custody. I know this, but I have no case. Even with all the evidence.
Families First were involved briefly at my request. Again, they did not even interview my children!! I was so let down.
A threat of violence was made towards my eldest last month. I reported this incident with the police. They said that he hasn't actually committed a crime. Therefore the best they can do is log it and refer me to Social Services.
SS have called to say there is nothing they can do to help! They will put me in touch with Families first again.
I feel so let down by the system. I have informed the Doctor, Schools, SS, FF, Police. Been to Citizens Advice, Family Law and various other organisations.
I've hit a brick wall. I feel like I am fighting this on my own. I thought prevention was the best thing? Why are they waiting for something bad to happen before they do anything?
My kids love their dad. They are also very scared of him. They want to stay with me and for their dad to 'get help and be nicer to them'. My ex will not be reasoned with. I've exhausted every option with him. He will not listen to anyone. He doesn't think he is in the wrong.
I've told him he can not have the children until he addresses his anger issues etc.. He said no chance, he'll be picking them up as normal. I have had to arrange to pick my children up early every day from school just so I get there before him. This just isn't right or sustainable.
What steps can I take next. I'm so drained and feel deflated and cheated.
Sorry for poor spelling and grammar. I'm just so tired.
Thanks in advance
Just to add, the Police and SS are now fully aware of historic events with my ex. It makes not a jot of difference!
How old are your children? Would they inform SS they are scared and of emotional abuse?
And how are you informing SS? I found they did nothing when it was by phone but when an email was sent, an investigation took place.
The children spoke to the police. That is why they referred me to SS. But SS doesn't feel like it's something they should deal with.
I don't want to give specific ages in fear I'll out myself. all three are over 5 years and under 14.
I phoned them twice and the police referred us twice
Fourormore.. I didn't think to try and email. Thanks, I will do that.
I thought prevention was the best thing? Why are they waiting for something bad to happen before they do anything?
This is probably the problem actually. It's wrong but in my experience it took over two years of sustained and escalating emotional abuse for social services to get involved and then it was only because things had become incredibly complex.
Is there someone at school that the children can talk to? A counsellor or support worker or someone? This won't keep them safe but it will provide them with extra emotional support and will also mean a potential referral again to SS who are going to have to listen if the school, the police and mother are all reporting.
Have you spoken directly to the pastoral care team at the DCs' school(s)? I am wondering if they could refer to CAMHS and go down that route?
If there is no formal contact arrangement order in place, then you can, legally, stop him from seeing them. He may then seek a court order for contact, but at that point you would have the opportunity to present your diary of contact with DCs reactions, and request supervised contact only. Also depending on ages of DC they could also state that they don't want contact.
Social services don't gee involved in child contact disputes. If you go back to court and apply for 100% care they will commission a cafcass report which will involve the children.
You don't need a lawyer - I'm not saying you will be successful without one but you can apply without.
Emailing won't make a difference to whether they open an assessment of course not.
How sh**. Just looks like the system has let you down . Not much advise to give but maybe you could get the DCs that are old enough to write a journal/record of Ex's angry outburst or log whatever they tell you when you call them or when they come back to yours. This would give you a support/some kind of proof when you contact the SS and police.
When it went to court did you not have cafcass involvement?
The law has changed to encompass emotional abuse now - try the dv specialist at police and women's aid to get some help behind you.
It doesn't sound like the OP went to court. She speaks of having an informal 50/50 agreement.
I got a non mol order last year which included my dc. Court offered contact centre but he refused and hasn't seen them since. He was being verbally abusive to them, taking drugs and my youngest was very distressed.
It may be worth contacting women's aid to see if they could support an application which would protect your dc.
I would definitely go to school and ask to speak with who ever supports the parents with family issues. Talk through your concerns and what the children have said to you, ask if there is someone at school who can speak to the children. You could also ask your GP if there is any support available to your children. You do need a paper trail - you need to show you are relentless in seeking support for your children, so start going to other agencies since you're hitting a brick wall with SS. Keep a record of the dates you speak to people and take their names.
If your children built up some trust with someone at school or with a counsellor through the GP and confided in them too, they would need to make a referral to SS, which hopefully would get people to start listening.
It's really frustrating but keep your cool and don't give up.
Thanks for all your advice.
I have spoken to the GPS and schools. Even they have followed up procedure due to their own safeguarding policies by contacting SS and relevant agencies. It's just no good. Basically each agency are literally passing me from one agency to another, back and forth. I really feel I've exhausted all options.
I keep a diary of events that I update with the full time line of events.
The schools have put my kids on the waiting list for counselling.
As we both have PR and the custody we have in place is informal, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent him seeing his kids.
I cannot afford to go through the courts and don't qualify for legal aid. Also, I have been pre earned that despite my 'claims' and what the children wish for, they will not deny him fair access :-(
GP not GPS
Pre warned not pre earned!!
Also, what is CAFFCASS?
Honestly if I were in your shoes and this concerned, I would take it to court. It costs £215 for an application and you can represent yourself. I'm not sure who advised you before but while the children have a right to a relationship with their father, you don't necessarily have to have cast iron proof to avoid a 50/50 arrangement.
Are you somewhere other than England and Wales? CAFCASS are the court welfare advisors.
thank you Fourmore. Unfortunately I have .75p in my bank at present. Lost my job few weeks ago. I don't receive maintenance and when I get my tax credits it will cover food and bills
I'm in England so thank you I will look into that
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