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My child was assaulted by a taxi company escort

(35 Posts)
NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:11:46

Bear with me, this is long sorry.

I've name changed for obvious reasons and will try to keep details anonymous as possible but I am a long time regular and I really need some advice about this.

Dc who is 13 started a new school this term (independent school which I fought for and won). Everything at school is going well and as expected. However, the escort did not seem to be coping with dc in the car - I heard this escort shouting at DC to get in the car. I told SW that I felt this escort was not coping and escalating dc's behaviour.

Soon after we were given another escort who promised she already knew my dc and would be fine in the car.

I took my other child away for a few days, leaving my DC with her dad who is very close to her, very calm and has never ever come home with bruising when has been in his care.

Whilst I was away I was contacted by the school to say they were worried about bruises that had suddenly appeared. I got back to see that my DC had and still has really nasty bruises at the very tops of arms where they have been grabbed - there are 4 clear finger marks on the back of arm and a corresponding thumb print (about 3) on the front. There was also a large rectangular bruise on the shin which looked as if someone had kicked DC.

The next day at pick up time I saw this escort stand on my dc's foot to prevent them from kicking. My child tends to kick when anxious - has very severe ASD and can't really talk. At this point I phoned our social worker and asked her to come. She agreed with me that this was not acceptable at all and said that this company should not take DC for the time being to school.

I spoke to my child's teacher who said she was suspicious of the sudden bruising which came at the same time this new escort appeared (who by the way is very tall and of big build) this teacher then asked the escort to start writing a hand over report, and sure enough there is reference to holding DC down in the taxi. I was informed by the safeguarding officer at the school that this is illegal because taxi escorts are not trained in restraint procedures. They should have informed SS. This, they failed to do. At this point in the investigation the taxi company has also admitted restraining my DC.

The LA have apparently launched an investigation but I now have a situation where the LA is saying it's not their responsibility to fund alternative transport in the interim and Social Services should pick up the tab if they feel current contractor is unsafe and our social worker is saying they don't have the money and they can't - go back to the LA. So it's down to me to take DC and pick up when I have another child at school in another town. And this is a 30 minute drive each way. I have AS myself and am a nervous driver, however my child's safety is clearly paramount so In a way, I prefer to take my DC myself because my trust has been shaken generally and DC has been fine in the car with me. LA has agreed to pay petrol costs for me to do this.

I have reported this escort to the police. I am very upset about what has happened to my child. The traumatic journeys have been hindering the progress the teachers are trying to make with her at school. At school she works mostly by herself and there have been no incidents of other children hurting DC.

has anyone else had to deal with a situation like this? I am currently feeling very down and stressed. And even our social worker now seems to want to distance herself from this because of the pressure from her line manager and the LA.

Branleuse Sat 01-Oct-16 12:14:40

oh god, how awful. It sounds like it would be better for you to take him yourself if he is calm that way and there is no way to get him in the taxi without him needing restraint and the situation escalating

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:16:31

Last term we had an escort who got on absolutely fine with DC - no issues in the car at all. Apparently we are not able to have her back.

It seems to me that these people are not actually trained though.

Frusso Sat 01-Oct-16 12:21:07

doesn't the LA employ the escort?

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:33:56

No, it's an independent company that they give a contract to.

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:34:51

The escort who I think assaulted my DC told me she jointly owns this company with another person.

DandelionAndBedrock Sat 01-Oct-16 12:40:34

Not much advice, but it is stunningly poor that there wasn't a written record of being held until you requested a handover report.

I work in a mainstream school with several children with additional needs - it has been made absolutely clear to us that we cannot restrain any of the children because we haven't been trained. The members of staff who ARE trained have extensive paperwork that must be filled in and logged following a restraint.

I would hazard a guess that there is a similar policy for the escort - you need to find out. If they have not followed policy, I don't see how they can withdraw transport.

DandelionAndBedrock Sat 01-Oct-16 12:43:14

National Autistic Society has a fairly comprehensive list of support services. I think some lawyers do pro-bono things for SEN education - they might be able to help you find someone.

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:47:55

The problem, of course is that even if another company and escort were found there is no guarantee that that wouldn't also go wrong. So the safest option for DC is for me to take her - that way I know there has been no opportunity for anyone to hurt her. And things need to be going smoothly for her when she's been failing at the local SEN school for 3 years and finally I've got them to agree to a school that can meet her needs.

I just feel that this escort should be made accountable for her actions. How many other children is she doing this to? She also really gets in your space. My mum complained that she stepped inside her house once and she has done the same to me.

Frusso Sat 01-Oct-16 12:50:28

i'd say you have two things going on here.

I would be complaining to the LA, it is their duty to provide transport, and it is their responsibility to provide alternative transport in the interim.
if the current provider is unsuitable due to safeguarding reasons, they they need to put your dds route up to tender for a new company to provide the taxi service. this does take time. but you child should not be without transport because they were assaulted, alternative transport need to be provided.

I know you have reported this escort to the police, have you spoken to the LADO (local authority designated officer for safeguarding)?

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:50:52

Thank you Dandelion

DandelionAndBedrock Sat 01-Oct-16 12:51:21

And take photos of any bruises, especially as they continue to develop.

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:52:16

No, Frusso I need to find out who that is. Police are coming tomorrow morning to take a statement from me. I have video evidence of the bruising.

Frusso Sat 01-Oct-16 13:12:46

The problem, of course is that even if another company and escort were found there is no guarantee that that wouldn't also go wrong. essentially, you're right, there's not, but your daughter has been severely let down by this taxi company and escort.

she has been let down by county, because county should have a 'compliance officer' who is the one that advises on how to handle behaviour in transport. county has also let her down by not insuring the escort was properly trained or DBS checked.

my daughter is also prone to lashing out in transport when highly anxious, and she has bitten/scratched/kicked her escorts over the years, and thrown things at the driver. but she has never once been restrained, or had her foot stood on, or grabbed in any way. they stop the taxi and they wait it out, if safe the escort will hold her hand over the seatbelt buckle to prevent dd from undoing it. she is never at any point touched or retrained. any incident is reported to compliance officer, and a report completed.

but we have always has escorts employed and provided by LA, i though that this was the same everywhere, because when you have a child that is at risk because of their SEN, you need to protect both the child from harm and the adult from allegations. e.g., the driver can report the escort and vice versa, ,if they both work for the same company its easy to coverup incidents and pressurise someone into not whistle blowing.

and yes, this escort does need to be held accountable for her actions.

Frusso Sat 01-Oct-16 13:20:10

The police tomorrow will be able to tell you who the LADO is.

and do not be talked into thinking you are over reacting or may have mis-interpreted what you saw, or it wouldn't be worth pursuing.

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 14:12:51

Oh absolutely not - I am not going to let this go. My daughter is an extremely vulnerable member of society. I owe it to her and to other children not to let this go.

The LA has argued with me that they cannot move forward with contracting a new company until a full investigation has been completed of this company. But our SW did tell me yesterday that the company has admitted restraining her. What will happen if they conclude that they will keep using this company? Presumably they would then say that my daughter would have to go in their cars again! Which will absolutely never happen again.

Surely the LA could also be found to be in breach of the DDA? Should I write a letter to the director of education?

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 17:23:33

Here is what it looks like a week later

NameChange7774 Sat 01-Oct-16 17:40:26

That is the top of the back of her arm and there are two big thumb bruises in the front.

Frusso Sat 01-Oct-16 19:05:27

bloody hell! that's assault.
you don't get brusing like that from simply restraining someone to protect them/yourself, i would think from that brusing that the escort was deliberately trying to hurt her. dd has on occasion been restrained at school for her own safety, and has never had a mark on her, this is why untrained people shouldn't be attempting to restraining people
Your daughter is a vulnerable child and not only did the escort restrain/assault her, the driver was an accomplice by the fact they did nothing and reported nothing.

out of interest how does your dd react to pain?
my daughter is uber compliant if ill or in pain. so if my dd was in meltdown mode and hurt herself she would turn into a sobbing but highly compliant emotional mess.
which may colour my view of your situation and make me see brusing like that as a deliberate attempt to hurt.

I'd personally be writing a letters/emails to everybody, (including my MP) and attempting to insure that this escort was very allowed to work near vulnerable children or adults ever again. I would also be writing to school to find out why they didn't report to ss at the first sign of brusing/restraint being illegally used.

ouryve Sat 01-Oct-16 21:48:44

Bloody hell. I have 2 kids who have needed some degree of restraint at some point and at no point have I ever found it necessary to grab them so hard that it leaves bruises like that. That requires a hell of a lot of force and I agree that I couldn't rule out the possibility, in my mind, that it might be deliberate and/or malicious.

And the LA are shirking their responsibilities to your DD, here. Why is it social services responsibility? SS have no involvement with my child at Indie special school, at all and I'm sure that's the case for many children.

zzzzz Sat 01-Oct-16 21:49:41

sad I think you should get the police involved too. I don't have anything helpful to say but wanted to say how sad I am this has happened to you both. Well done for saving her from this. Our children need mothers like you.


FrayedHem Sat 01-Oct-16 22:18:24

I have no experience to give advice but I'm really shocked at your child's injuries. I really cannot see how the LA can push back responsibility to SS, when the driver has already admitted to restraining which is against their own policies.

It reads to me that there's some weird power pissing competition going on between SS and the LA, and they've lost sight that a vulnerable child has been assaulted and they should be moving heaven and earth to find a solution, not causing more problems.

I hope the police are helpful and you can move this forward.

NameChange7774 Sun 02-Oct-16 01:09:16

My dd does have a very high pain threshold but if really hurt she will start to cry.

This escort said to me 'oh well next week she will be having someone new because she doesn't need a great big person like me any more' I thought WTF!!

I have got to try and stay calm but this makes me madder and madder the more I think about it. I entrusted my severely disabled, practically non verbal DC to these people and they did this to her. I have the name of the escort and the taxi driver. I would think that because they've admitted restraining her they've pretty much dropped themselves in it because they've written no reports about which restraints in the taxi.

I hope they will not be able to wriggle out of what they have done. I have a video as well but I can't seem to post it on here.

NameChange7774 Sun 02-Oct-16 01:20:44

Frusso - the school did report to our social worker but she tried to ring her dad and he didn't answer the phone!

NameChange7774 Sun 02-Oct-16 01:23:44

They then emailed me in Tenerife. I emailed back, worried but thinking perhaps she'd self injured because she was upset that I was away. However, you can't self injure the back of your arm!

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