Reporting Domestic Violence

If I tell the social worker I am a victim of violence or abuse, she will take my baby away to punish me.

This is a really dangerous myth as it can stop people asking for help when they need it. If you are a victim of violence or abuse you will not be punished for that. People want to help you. BUT it is sadly true that the available support is often not ideal and sometimes is not easy to access.

But the assertion that YOU as victim of abuse will be deliberately punished by having your children taken away is simply wrong. If children are removed, it will be to keep them safe. However, we can see how for some victims of violence, it will certainly feel like punishment.

Therefore, what we will do in this post is discuss:

  • when it is difficult to separate from an abusive partner;
  • what kinds of abuse and violence will worry a social worker;
  • what will the social worker do if worried about abuse in your home; and
  • practical things that you can do if you are in this situation, to avoid having your children removed from your care.


In February 2016 the Court of Appeal decided that Regulation 33 was unlawful. This is set out by section 12 of LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012).

The regulation specifies the type of evidence that was required to show that DV had taken place and which would allow someone to apply for legal aid and provided that these incidents had to have taken place within last 24 months. The court found that this requirement had no ‘rational connection’ with the statutory purpose of LASPO.

See further Rights of Women, R (on the application of) v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice [2016] EWCA Civ 91 (18 February 2016).

Difficulties in ending abusive relationships

What causes a lot of problems in cases involving violence or other forms of abuse between partners, is that very often they find it difficult to separate from one another. They may know that their relationship isn’t healthy or happy for either of them, but they may have been together for a long time and sometimes it can be hard to walk away and not look back. Ending a relationship is often described as a ‘process’ not a one off ‘event’. 

Or the victim of the violence/abuse may be utterly emotionally worn down by the abuser and find it very difficult to find the energy and courage needed to leave.

But, for whatever reason, if the adults can’t stay apart and the violence/abuse continues, the LA will have to act to protect the children. Children exposed to even just seeing or hearing violence suffer – there is no doubt about that.

We do appreciate that it is a difficult situation to manage and isn’t always managed well. This article from the Guardian Social Care Network sets out  a number of concerns about the way professionals attempt to deal with situations where children may be at risk of violence in the home:

Her experience of chairing domestic homicide reviews for the Home Office – and quality assuring those carried out by others – has led James-Hanman to believe that social services are at best a neutral factor but more often a negative one in the most terrible outcome of all, where a victim, and sometimes their children, are killed. Well before long-standing abuse erupts into tragedy, she says, social services should not be “starting from a position of telling women ‘If you don’t do what I tell you we’ll take your children off you’ but ‘What do you need to help you and your children become safer?’ And that means safety planning done properly, not just handing over a list of things to take with you when you leave.”


What will worry a social worker – defining abuse/domestic violence

‘Abuse’ is  a wide term that can cover a variety of behaviour; some will be considered more serious than others but ALL have the potential to harm you and your child. It is not true to think that just because someone doesn’t hit you, that means they are not abusive. Read the government’s definition of ‘abuse’ from 2013.

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour,  violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

The risks to you and your children of staying in an abusive or violent relationship are very serious and very real. According to Refuge, two women a week are killed by a partner. Even if you feel you are coping OK,  you need to think about just how harmful it is to your children to repeatedly see or hear you being abused.

Have a look at what survivors of abuse say here.

You may also be interested in this publication from the Early intervention Project which looks at the damaging consequences of domestic violence on children families and communities:

The damaging impacts of witnessing domestic violence and abuse on children can cast a long shadow with inter generational consequences sometimes leading to a repetition of abusive and violent behaviours. Moreover, domestic violence and abuse is not confined to a small section of the population but highly prevalent with 30% of women having experienced any domestic abuse since the age of 16 and 1.2% of people aged 16-59 having experienced partner abuse involving severe force in the last year. It also comes with immense costs – it is estimated that the overall costs to society of domestic violence and abuse stands at over £15.7bn.If you have a violent or abusive partner and you are not able to take steps to remove that person from your children’s lives then yes, you are at risk of having your children taken away. Because the harm done to children who have to witness or listen to someone they love being abused, is potentially extremely serious.

What is likely to happen if a social worker is worried about abuse in your home?

Children should be living with their parents whenever possible, but if they are not safe with the parents, the LA may ask a court to make a care order to allow the LA to remove the children from their parents’ care. If only one parent is abusive, the concern about the other parent often is one of ‘failure to protect’ – i.e. you didn’t leave when you could have, or you didn’t report your abusive partner to the police.

However, removing children from abusive relationships is never automatic.

Please read this article by the Pink Tape blogger. She says, and we agree:

Indicative also is the statement that there is an “assumption [in the family courts] that children must be removed if their mum is a victim of violence: that their mothers have not protected them“. There just isn’t. That isn’t the law and it isn’t the practice either. Sometimes those of us working in the system wish there was more support available to facilitate mums to leave nasty partners, and to help them stay away, but the provision of such services is not within the courts’ gift – and there is no presumption.

In fact the presumption is in entirely the opposite direction – children should remain with their parents if at all possible, can only be removed if necessary on safety grounds, and if there is a risk of significant harm (I’m summarising the law, but hopefully doing so more accurately than the CiF article). So, no presumption, but it is sometimes necessary to remove children.

Please see this article, also on Pink Tape, which talks about domestic violence in family cases.

The House of Commons Education Committee Fourth Report ‘Children First: the child protection system in England’ said this in 2013:

72. In cases of domestic violence, there should be no presumption that an abused parent cannot be a good parent. Wherever possible, the focus should be on supporting that parent and helping them to protect their children themselves, rather than on removing the children. But the interests of the children must come first. Guidance and specialised training in this sensitive area should be reviewed and updated and highlighted to all social workers. The Department for Education must liaise more closely with the Home Office on issues relating to child protection and domestic abuse.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or ‘Clare’s Law’ is in full operation across the country as of 8th March 2014. It is named after Clare Wood who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2009.  The scheme allows the police to disclose information on request about a partner’s previous history of domestic violence or violent acts. But some criticise the scheme as most abusers do not have a previous police record..


My partner is violent or abusive – what do I do?

Tell someone. Get help to get him or her removed from your home. You can talk to the police, Childrens Services or have a look at some of the organisations we include on our Links and Resources page. We know how difficult it can be to separate from someone who is abusing you within a relationship – often there have been good times together and you can’t just turn your emotions on and off like a tap.

Look at the Refuge ‘Get Help Now’ page.

Don’t have any kind of contact with the abusive ex partner unless you absolutely have to. Please don’t phone or text and then tell the social worker you haven’t – it is relatively easy to get hold of copies of mobile telephone records and people will find it difficult to trust you in the future if you don’t tell the truth about this.

If you are a female victim of male violence and a social worker thinks you would benefit from going to a course like the Freedom Programme, please take that seriously and think hard about it. And, if you do decide to go, don’t do it reluctantly just because someone else is telling you to do it – go with an open mind and see how it could benefit you.

Look at some of the positive feedback about the Freedom Programme.


Men as victims of violence from women

We accept that men are victims of violence and abuse from women too. Unfortunately there appears to be less available in terms of support for male victims as traditionally domestic violence is seen in terms of men hurting women.

Contact the Mens Advice Line – advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse. Call 0808 801 0327. –


Non Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders

You can apply to the court to get a non-molestation order and an occupation order under the Family Law Act 1996, to have an abusive person ordered out of your home. You can still get legal aid for these kinds of applications and it is a very good way of showing your social worker that you are serious about doing something to protect yourself and your children.

The Government have also recently introduced Domestic Violence Prevention Orders (DVPO) to help protect people immediately after an attack by stopping the abuser contacting the victim.

If the police want to investigate what your ex partner has done, please co-operate with them. If you want to withdraw your statement or refuse to make one in the first place it is sending a very worrying message about your insight into the problem and your willingness to protect your children.

Remember – good, loving, healthy relationships NEVER involve one partner being violent or abusive to the other one. They just don’t. You deserve better, and so do your children.


Controlling or coercive behaviour

Section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 creates a new offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or familial relationship. This is intended to make patterns of repeated or continuous coercive or controlling behaviour a criminal offence.

The section came into force on 29 December 2015. On 5 December 2015 the MoJ published statutory guidance to provide information about:
• identifying domestic violence, domestic abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour
• circumstances in which the new offence might apply
• the types of evidence which establish the offence
• the statutory defence

Advice from one of our readers

We are grateful for this contribution from one of our readers who works in this field. She discusses what commonly happens when a mother reports DV and what women can do to take back their control and ensure the safety of themselves and their family. 

What happens if you report DV?

Most mothers who flee abuse do so because they realise just how damaging domestic abuse is to their children. It’s one of the main reasons given for finding the emotional resources to leave. Often the point of leaving (or saying help me I need to leave) will be the first time they have openly admitted they are experiencing abuse or been open about its impact.

This sets in a chain of events usually started by a referral to children’s services by the agency you approach for help. Sometimes this will just prompt a letter saying “we have a report of a DV incident, we are not taking any action at the moment but please call if you want to.”

Sometimes it results in a phone call or visit. It would be quite usual, even expected (and desirable), to offer supportive intervention to a victim of rape and DV. The vast majority of the time this support is very useful to the family.

Sometimes there may be a concern that the non-violent parent is unable to protect the children from the violent parent or from witnessing further abuse or that the non-violent parent is so traumatised by the abuse they need more intensive support. Again, this support is usually a good thing.

It can be very frightening but in the vast majority of cases it really is just a case of offering help, support and guidance during a very stressful emotional recovery.


What can you do to help yourself?

There are a few things anybody in this situation can do to really help themselves and make it clear to children’s services that they are not at risk of returning to the abusive situation and exposing their children to emotional harm and physical risk. Things like:

  • obtaining protection orders (or trying to);
  • cooperating with the police if needed;
  • Engaging with the social worker and other advised sources of help, not communicating with the abuser or meeting up with them;
  • the Freedom Programme;
  • being aware of security:
  • specialist support from a respected organisation (either face to face or otherwise)
  • as odd as it sounds a respected parenting programme can be very useful. Even if you are a experienced parent, one of the aspects of DV is the very effective grooming that is a part of it and without you even noticing it can really effect how you parent.
  • avoiding seeking a new relationship until you have completely emotionally healed and are able to identify early warning signs is also helpful.
  • of course real life quality respected legal advice and keeping accurate records and relevant paperwork is vital.


Don’t be afraid to get help – show others you want to take back control

Whilst the vast majority of social workers follow the rules and are decent sensible people they are human beings and as such, just like any other group of people, some may make mistakes and some may be arses. Please don’t let fear of them put you off seeking support. Without a doubt the single most effective method of removing the risk of abuse to your child if you are experiencing domestic abuse is to leave and do it safely.

A woman is significantly more at risk of serious harm at the point of leaving and shortly after than at any other time. Support to do this from qualified professionals will usually make it much much safer.

Over the years the vast majority of my service users who either have no intervention or very limited intervention from children’s services are the ones who actively seek support and take the necessary steps without delay or without needing it to be arranged by CS.

To clarify what I mean by do things yourself without waiting is, seeking the support yourself ASAP preferably within days. Women’s Aid (if you do not have a face to face specialist service locally) are incredibly useful for signposting both to local services and online respected ones.

It’s incredibly difficult to wrongly assume someone is not committed to changing their future based on preconceived feelings or any thing else if that person is already on the waiting list/has just started/ has an appointment booked/ is engaging with every single almost automatic suggestion any social worker would be talking about under these circumstances. And doing so can really aid your recovery and help put you back in control of you.

And it sends a very clear positive message to professionals working with you.


Further Reading/Other issues

  • Applying for legal aid as a victim of domestic violence – see the guidance at the GOV.UK site.
  • Concern that the ‘domestic violence exemption’ which allows applications for legal aid has lead to increased rates of false complaints against men.
  • For the debate which followed the decision about violence towards children in a ‘cultural context’ in re A (Wardship, fact finding, domestic violence) [2015] see this article from Family Law Week.
  • Listen to the CEO of Refuge talking on Womans Hour on Radio 4 on 3rd February 2015 about the current ‘dire’ situation with funding being withdrawn from refuges and inadequate response from agencies such as the police and children’s services.
  • The CAB survey finds that restricted access to legal aid is one of the biggest barriers to support for victims of domestic abuse in England. In their work helping victims of domestic abuse only 12 per cent of advisers reported being unaffected by the changes that came into force from April 2013.
  • For guidance on how to apply for legal aid in family cases involving violence, see this useful summary in Family Law Week, published in April 2015.
  • See the Mothers Apart project  -The aim of this project is to develop a multi-agency workshop for professionals responding to mothers who have become, or are at risk of becoming, separated from their children. Mother-child separations often occur in a context of domestic and/or sexual violence and abuse (DSVA), particularly the non-physical kinds of abuse that involve coercive control.
  • See Pink Tape’s response to the Women’s Aid report ’19 Child Homicides’.
  • The 2016 Review of Practice Direction 12 J which governs how the court must deal with cases involving allegations of violence.

77 thoughts on “Reporting Domestic Violence

  1. Worried Parent

    But what about the real fear that reporting abuse will start a runaway train that seperates a family. From the above that is a totally valid fear, since we are told the abuser must be made to leave or the victim must leave. ( In the absence of conflict, which is shown to be bad for children) where’s the evidence that *actual* separation is not worse than *potential* witnessing abuse, defined in very broad terms that include lying, withholding information?

    I was abused by my partner for a long time but I chose to stay to set an opposite example of adult behaviour and to shield them from my partner’s inappropriate anger toward them. In the end I could see this was not going to work and only risked exposing them to emotional abuse as being normal. My partner was willing to hurt the children emotionally in order to stay in control of everything. Only at that point did I leave. Taking a parent away from a child is a terrible thing. The child could not care less if the parent has behaved badly. The child has not read any academic studies claiming to show this separation is in its best interests. Parental separation is a long agony for a child that fades only slowly even under ideal conditions. I doubt whether it is right for any social worker or court official to subject children to this “remedy” that is “for their own benefit” unless they have experienced in their own lives. I am not saying it should never be done. I am saying it really must be done only as an unavoidable last resort, and with full consciousness of the harm done to the child. The text above seems contradictory because it says the court will separate a child from a parent only as a last resort, yet also says leaving an abuser (a liar? A person with secrets?) is an immediate and mandatory response, something of a duty to the children in fact. Can both of these things be true?

  2. phillimoresarah

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    With regard to your last point, I don’t see the contradiction here but I am happy to amend the text if it is causing any confusion.

    As I understand it, if you are in a relationship with an abusive person, the evidence is very clear that this is highly like to lead to your child suffering significant harm – either from getting caught up in violence, or from seeing or hearing the abuse or living with its aftermath. Therefore, if the non abusive partner can’t or won’t take steps to protect the child then the ‘last resort’ has been reached and the child has to be removed to a safe environment.

    Of course that child will suffer emotional hurt by being taken from his or her primary carer. But the decision will be made on the basis that the child’s suffering with in the long term be WORSE if the child stays where he is.

    Obviously a lot depends on the nature of the abusive relationship – I can see your point, it is a bit of an ‘umbrella’ term. There is of course a big difference between the ‘abuser’ who uses physical violence and the ‘abuser’ who is more subtle and uses more emotional abuse and derogatory words etc. In the first case much more serious and decisive action will probably need to be taken sooner than in the latter case.

    Does that make sense?

    1. ellie

      if this is the case can you please tell me why after escaping physical emotional mental abuse with my child at age 2 my now 9yr old is being forced in the family courts to see the same man against his wishes?…in the same building people are being sent to prison apparently a big crackdown on domestic violence yet further emotional trauma being imposed on my child in the family court along the corridor and domestic violence in theese courts being put down to vindictive mothers?…the 2006 law…actually allows vindictive fathers to further mentaly abuse and destroy children? where is the justice for kids? why is this law not being opposed by childrens protection? astounded at how an abusive partner drug induced mental illness, drug dealing, and abandoned the child for 8 years has rights to further abuse the child and resident parents wellbeing??? secret family courts?

      1. Sarah Phillimore

        What findings were made against your former partner? If serious findings were made against him and he has NOT undertaken any kind of counselling/therapy then you should appeal the court orders for contact. violence is a serious failure of parenting and the violent parent must show that they are going to change.

        If however no serious findings were made OR findings were made but he has shown that he is willing to change his behaviour then both domestic and international law is very, very clear – it is the child’s right to have a relationship with both parents. Your child will only ever have one mother and one father. Your child is a product of both of you. Making the father a monster is in effect saying to a child ‘part of you is a monster’.

        1. Joan gosney

          My daughter had two children removed from her due to domestic violence from both parties.
          Two years down the line my daughter can only see the children once a month, yet the father now has a new relationship with a new baby and is happy? .
          How is this fair .
          I believe the major problem is that woman will in the future take a beating from their partners as they know if they report this along follow social services to remove their children..and this will result in more deaths . Sad!
          Reality is when your living it and not just writing about it .

          1. Sam

            Joan are Children’s Services aware that he has another child?
            Your experience chimes with mine that Children’s Services are far harder on the victim rather than the perpetrator though you do say that it was from both sides in your daughter’s case. I imagine though if she had another baby care proceedings would be automatic, though possibly I am a bit cynical.

          2. helensparkles

            Joan gosney There are a number of possibilities that might mean that child is safe in the father’s new relationship. Unfortunately you have no right to know about any of them, you only have the right to information about yourself, ditto your daughter. If however you think that man is still a risk, then the child is at risk, and you can contact children’s services to let them know. You won’t be told the outcome of any investigation but you will at least be reassured that baby is safe if they are remaining there.

          3. Sarah Phillimore

            I can’t answer your question ‘how is this fair’ because all i know of the situation is this small paragraph that you have shared. If your daughter doesn’t think this is fair then she needs to consider challenging the order. But she does need to be clear eyed and honest with herself about the reasons it was made in the first place.

  3. phillimoresarah

    Worried Parent, I have amended the text to include a fuller definition of ‘abuse’ – I hope that is helpful.

  4. Sarah Phillimore

    Sam, a lot of women say similar things to you sadly. I hope we haven’t painted a naive and rosy view of the system, I know it doesn’t always work. If you have proof of wrongdoing, I would always urge you to take it further; if no one complains, nothing changes. My only worry about UKIP is enlisting their help would make it easy for some people to dismiss you.

    Would somewhere like Womens Aid be able to help? If people aren’t doing the job that they are paid to do, particularly when their job is to protect the vulnerable, that is serious and we all need to do something about it.

  5. Sarah Phillimore

    I am sorry to read this. I do actually agree that public hearings could be an important part of ensuring accountability and good practice; my views have definitely shifted since February 2014 when this site started. However, one of the real difficulties is what children consistently say when asked if they want family hearings opened up to public scrutiny – they are very against that and I can understand why.

    I can only speak to my own experience; I have very rarely met women (or men) who flat out lied about the abuse they received from a partner – but I have met many (of both genders) who exaggerated and misled professionals. And I suppose you do get cynical the more often you are exposed to this. I think relationships are a dynamic and insistence on a clear cut victim/perpetrator distinction is not always helpful.

    But none of this excuses professionals from abusing their position. Sadly, I can’t argue against the fact that many do.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Good point, I have no idea how the sample groups are chosen and most recent one involved a very small number indeed. The dangers of relying on a self selecting group are apparent… It sounds as though you are in a better place now. I agree with you about dogs.

  6. sam

    Did the police investigate properly ? In my case they did not even check their database, or conduct an achieving best evidence interview with the children. They refused to take a history.
    I can understand that you are not protecting the children with them witnessing domestic violence BUT agencies/authorities really must take victims seriously to give them a chance to escape.
    The fear keeps you captive, it’s similar to being a rabbit caught in headlights . In fact my stomach is turning over just writing this.
    It appals me reading judgements criticising mother’s for “allowing” the children to see them beaten . I wonder at what part of an assault the mother is supposed to get her partner to stop on the grounds it is harming them. Is it when he has her up against the wall, kicking her on the floor or strangling her? Or is she supposed to escape when he threatens to kill the children?
    It’s no good criticising mothers when there is very little or no support and the attitude of those who could help of “it’s just a domestic”.
    I hope you don’t feel so alone Sadd.

  7. sam

    I hope it’s OK to share a couple of resources as well as the freedom programme?
    People coming out of DV relationships are going to be over anxious , somewhat like meerkats on high alert , simply because they had to be to survive.
    These resources are CBT based and if worked properly bring anxiety levels back to normal. They can be accessed through the GP or mental health voluntary organisations.

    I would also recommend peer support through groups such as the freedom programme.

  8. linzi

    I have recently left a refuge and my honesty over daughters dad emotionally abusing me over 10 years has led to social services applying to put my daughter in foster care ICO. in court next week ther reasons even though my daughter does not see her dad are i am apparantly too vulnerable after his ansues and they areworrid i am possiby capable of letting him in my home and exposing my daughter to evust an assumption. Me and my daughter were the victims.we left our home town for safety an now im lookin at loosin my daughter.SICK .we are supposed to be honout DV but pleez pleez be aware ….REPORT DV AND SOCIAL SERVICES TAKE YOUR CHILD.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am sorry you are going through this Linzi. Have you been offered any help or support? Have the SW asked that you go on the Freedom Programme or similar?

  9. C

    Linzi – do you have a solicitor?
    My advice is contest the ICO. Do not agree to signing s.20, if that is offered. If the solicitor asks you to do either, fire them and get another.
    Be wary of any psychological assessments that the LA may offer. Certainly don’t agree to any assessment by someone who does not have a current practice, and who works exclusively for the LA. They are not truly independent.

    1. esther shaw

      I signed a a 20 big mistake, my kids ar gone they never eve. Explained that hat i t meant they say I s volunt ary but its not.

  10. Sarah Phillimore

    If your solicitor advises you to not contest an ICO or agree a section 20 – maybe ask them to explain why they advise this. It is not necessarily the sign that a lawyer is a pathetic lackey of a LA if he/she advises either.

  11. linzi

    thankyou for advice.yes my solicitor says she is going to contest removing her from me..i want the whole farce mother lives with me and has done since december just to help prove my case that my daughter does not witness any violence nor does she see her workers have done assesments with my daughter in school were even she confirms she does not see her dad.but none of all this updated evidence is in thier court application.the last version of events they sent court was november.they have been out to see me and know my mum is here.oh yeah they went to court with thier application behind my back.i had not an inkling till they showed up on my door introducing themselves an then telling me to seek legal advice as they have applied to court for ICO…feel like im in a nitemare.i will kick up stink about this if justice is not met an my little girl goes to them.she is petrified of leaving my side.feel like going the papers cuz is it just me or is this the first time ths has happened cuz its wrong wrong wrong.i have literally cut my own throat to give me and my child a safer life..oh yeah and the minute i kept tellin them this they are now constantly pressing for a psychological assesment.they are the ones makin me an my daughter feel like every day is our last.i hope to wipe the floor with them next week and im sure the judge will not be impressed but who the hell do ya trust in this world nowadays. Social workers going overtime on the innocent to make up for the children they never helped.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Hopefully you can trust your lawyer to do a good job and make sure the judge is well aware of any deficiencies in the LA case. The first goal must be to keep families together and the LA must set out what help and support they can offer you. As long as you show you understand why she must be protected from exposure to violence, it sounds like you have put in good practical measures to keep her safe.

  12. esther shaw

    They took my children and their violent father got what he had always threatened to do if I left, his mum got residence and now she has let him have them now the kids are really suffering my oldest has told me a lo of major things, which I won’t say here both children have had severe burns I have reported it to social services the kids dads family have stopped my contact , no one will listen to me my kids want to come home I miss them so much. There is a contact order but no body will have nforce it in scared I’ll never see them again. So I’d say from experience I wouldn’t report d.v Leave definitely but don’t get social services involv d they manipulate u and bully u when u are vulnerable even other professionals near me say what a danger to kids social servic s are, they don’t help whatsoever.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am sorry you have had this experience. If there is a court order in place, the court will expect it to be obeyed. Have a look at the tab on legal advice and information on the Links and Resources part of this site; there may be someone who can help. Your children need to see you.

  13. Sam

    Esther what you have gone through is not uncommon. Children’s Services in my experience do not give a damn about domestic violence victims. Below is a email and reply , which has not been part of court proceedings, but it does show part of what I have been through and the lack of help or even signposting they where prepared to give me. my ex , the perpetrator has not even ever been placed on supervised contact.

    4 Jun 2012
    Dear Mrs xxxxx
    As I said on the phone to you I have now asked the Complaint investigation to move straight onto Stage Three. I am sure you are aware that your Department’s failure to acknowledge their “cock up” and actually put the situation right is continuing to cause both my children and myself considerable distress and continuing abuse. It is of course reaffirming Mr xxxxx belief that he can abuse both women and children, because they “wind him up” and he is completely unaccountable for his behaviour. As I said to you on the phone I believe, it feels that I am living in the 1800’s that equality has not appeared to have reached the xxxxx xxxxx . I would also like to reiterate to you ,that Mr xxxxx would have feigned concern about my welfare, he has considerable acting ability, a man who puts on a tremendous show, a popular comedian. I have a right not to be strangled, kicked, punched, sexually abused, told I am mental, told that I will never see my children again( though he has in part accomplished this with the help of your department)and told how to behave in my own home. redacted . It took considerable courage on my part to acknowledge the domestic violence,as I felt so very ashamed.
    I do appreciate that your hands are tied , that you cannot be impartial, and I thank you for the effort you have put into the Stage Two Complaint.

    Dear Mrs xxxxxx

    I acknowledge your frustration and lack of confidence about this process but hope that you will take the time to read and consider my response to your complaints.
    I appreciate your own feelings and issues about what has happened but please do remember that my investigation does need to focus on the children and our processes.
    On a personal level, I am sorry that you feel so distressed and would like to encourage you to seek support in your own right from sources you feel confident in, for example appropriate friends or agencies.

    Kind regards

    Area Manager
    Looked After Children Service

  14. Sam

    I also approached my county councillor who was holding a street surgery alongside my MP
    Here is an email I sent him a couple of months afterwards
    Firstly may I offer you congratulations.
    I would like to ask you what you intend to do about my case as it is
    some months since I have heard from you.
    I am the lady you spoke to in xxxxxx about domestic violence,
    Incidentally my photo was taken without my permission and placed on
    your campaign leaflet.
    I am hoping that now you are Police Commissioner, you will be able to
    fully investigate what has gone wrong. Just to refresh your memory , I
    had my children taken away from me after being attacked by my
    estranged husband, and the children were placed with him despite him
    having a previous threat to kill me on record, and physical evidence
    of my door being forced on this occasion. redacted. This has been reported to your PPU, as
    far as I am aware no action has been taken.

    Both myself and my children have been badly let down by a combination
    of xxxxxx Police and xxxxxxx Social Services.
    I am sure you appreciate that both failing to protect the vulnerable
    and corruption in public office are extremely topical at the moment,
    and I would like to give you the opportunity to respond before I seek
    help from elsewhere.

    I did get a letter of apology and then extensive police cover up of serious reported crime. Yes I am angry who wouldn’t be, the whole thing has felt very surreal. I have not seen one child now for well over a year , even though I am supposed to have contact with her. It disgusts me how domestic violence victims are still treated in this country. As you can see from the Police and Crime Commissioners attitude, he didn’t care that he could have put me at more risk by publishing my photo.

  15. Sam

    I hope my case is extreme. It may be simply the ones that go wrong end up on forums. If you are subject to domestic abuse please keep yourself and any children safe by getting away or keeping the perpetrator away from your home. It may help you to look up crazy making and gas lighting on the internet to see if you recognise what is going on. I did have short term mental health problems, but once I was no longer living in fear not surprisingly I function normally apart from the odd trigger , which I have tools to deal with.
    Believe me there is life afterwards.

    I doubt that there are many journalists reading this but if anyone wants a story about police cuffing serious crime as well as naming the Police Commissioner , I have loads of evidence. Incidentally he said in a web chat with one of my relatives that public servants who ignore domestic violence should face disciplinary action! Or more probable someone would be willing to put it out on social media.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Sam, have you contacted Louise Tickle who writes for the Guardian? She may be sympathetic or may know some one who is.

    1. Angelo Granda

      Sam, as a matter of interest, did you get a response at all from the journalist. I sent her a story but she never acknowledged it even. Journalists are always very busy and I guess the get thousands of requests. Too many to read sometimes.

  16. lisa

    I started seeing a new partner who had previous domesti violence threatned me with child protection and because my ex made another acchsation they put me on it and was wondering if been with him and make changes and be monitored could happen

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      It is possible to make changes to your life, but its difficult and many people say they want to change but don’t then actually do anything about it. If your partner has been violent in the past then people are going to be very worried about him. It doesn’t matter what he says – talk is cheap. What is he going to do? Is he going to get counselling/therapy? If he drinks/uses drugs is he going to stop? I think people ought to be given a chance to show that they can change. But you will have to accept that it will take time for people to trust him and he really has got to do something about it, not just say that he will. I don’t think people who have problems with violence just overnight become calm and happy people. they usually need quite a lot of help.

  17. angelo granda

    Violent,abusive men are a danger to their wives and children.NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!
    They are violent and abusive because they don’t know what they are doing is wrong, they are unable to control themselves.
    For all sorts of reasons but mainly because they are the weaker sex,women cannot protect themselves or their children against the risk of violent partners 100 percent.
    Which is why we have Police and the Police have the responsibility to protect women and vulnerable children from violent partners.They are responsibility to make enquiries ,bring these violent men to justice and the court will gaol them,if necessary.These men will not change unless they are forced to.The prison and parole system is designed to make reform possible.The criminal Judge is trained and fully qualified to mete out PROPORTIONATE punishments.
    Where they fail in that Public duty, violence is perpetuated.It is not the duty of the Family Court to deal with domestic violence by way of half-baked counselling and child-in-need plans so forth and so forth.The Family Court is not there to deal with criminals.
    I think Sam has already worked that one out for herself!

  18. Sam

    “They are violent and abusive because they don’t know what they are doing is wrong, they are unable to control themselves ”

    Sorry to correct you Angelo They are not out of control at all . They are very much in control ,which is what they need to be to satisfy their ego’s. If they perceive danger to themselves such as the Police being called they can stop their behavior immediately and slip straight in nice person mode. Domestic abuse does not consist of random attacks , it is a cycle.

    It does need to be a factor in family court cases, as it causes inter generational abuse

    1. angelo granda

      Yes,Sam.Thank you for correcting me.
      They are unable to put a stop to their violent and destructive behaviour indeed they do not even acknowledge they are doing wrong.
      They are involved in a cycle of dysfunctional,criminal behaviour which is often inter-generational.
      All this has been known for years but ,in my opinion,the civil courts do not have the power to deal with criminals neither should they be granted the power.The answer lies in strong action in a proper criminal court followed by punishments fully proportionate to the crime such as prison.Only then can these wicked men reform.They have to be FORCED to acknowledge they are wrong!
      Or the cycle goes round and round.Wickedness has to be driven out, not tackled by civil courts. The problem is the Police are failing in their duty to bring the criminals to justice.Often women are talking to a brick wall.Police inaction perpetuates the cycle.They have been a part of the cycle for years.

      1. Sarah Phillimore

        You cannot ‘force’ someone to admit they are wrong. Hence why domestic violence perpetrator programmes have such low levels of success. These men, as Sam rightly says, not only do not accept they are doing anything wrong, they usually feel entitled to act as they do. It is often ‘her fault’ for ‘winding me up’.

        the best thing would be to intervene as soon as we can in the lives of little boys who are subject to emotional and physical abuse which warps their attitudes as they grow. Hence why care proceedings are likely to always remain a sad necessity in this, and every other society.

        1. angelo granda

          Hear,hear-we must stop the cycle somehow.I suspect,however,that the bal of probs decisions in serious cases like that of Sam and her child are often very wrong and miscarriages of justice are not so rare.
          Perhaps more openness will improve matters.

  19. Sam

    Not only do we need more openess in family court I feel as a society we need more honesty about relationships in general and around addiction in particular. I would be really keen to flag up the misuse of alcohol, which incidentally is more abused but probably more easily concealed further up the socioeconomic ladder and the use of prescribed drugs rather than the empowerment of talking therapies.

    I totally agree with Sarah, I am sure my ex learnt behavior from watching his mother beaten was it was the right way to conduct relationships.

    1. angelo granda


      Do you agree with me that very many times,Mums report domestic criminal violence to the Police who do not use their full resources and carry out a full and proper investigation?
      The force often refuses to get involved suitably with these vile men about which Mums complain.The officers do not deal with the criminals and abrogate their duty by referring the family to Social Services.
      (Incidentally,despite a Mum reporting it and asking for Police protection,it is often claimed by SW’s they are unable to ‘protect’ their children).
      I don’t believe criminals should be dealt with on the bal of probs,I reckon they should be charged every time and brought to justice in a court with the power to protect Mum and the children by gaoling him or. other sanctions proportionate to criminals.
      For the sake of the discussion,even if I accept that you think that the Family Court have to try criminals (indeed it is the Law)and that they should have the power to remove children but not to gaol criminals) ,I would have to insist that family court hearings rely. totally on the INTEGRITY of the professionals involved.Because of the ripple effect,it is absolutely essential that the procedures are followed scrupulously ,that cases are conducted correctly and that hearings are open-minded and impartial with Lawyers who have no conflict of interest. I think most of us agree on that.
      In your particular case, it was not conducted correctly.They did not talk to you,no wonder they gave the child to him! This happens a lot.
      The lower court ignored your complaints so you should have an automatic right to a publicly-funded appeal.

      To restore trust in the system,can we agree that the law needs changing to provide for it?

  20. ian josephs

    They take your children into care so you can watch them either die or dissapear( if they are not adopted by strangers)

    Joint Inquiry into Children Who Go Missing from Care

    Extract (point 9):

    In June 2012, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults and the APPG for Looked-after Children and Care Leavers published the report of their joint inquiry into children who go missing from care.

    The report argued that the Government was under-reporting the number of children going missing from care. While the official figure for 2011 was 930, the report argues that, according to police data, an estimated 10,000 individual children went missing. The report cited that this high number was symptomatic of a care system which was far from being fit for purpose and in need of an urgent rethink.

  21. Sam

    What is the link between my reply and your reply please? Confused. I also think we all agree that the care system is not fit for purpose.

  22. ian josephs

    The link is tht there is much more violence and danger for kids “in care” than when thay stay with victims of domestic violence who get punished twice by having their kids removed. JUDGES NEVER COMPARE THE RISKS YET 10,000 CHILDRENPER YEAR IN CARE GO MISSING.DEAD OR PIMPED OUT BY DRUG DEALERS, WO KNOWS,??

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      Would you care to provide some evidence for that assertion?

      How are you able to so confidently assert that it is better for children to remain in violent households than go into care? Is this ALL children? Or only some? If only some, which ones?

      1. ian josephs

        I confidently assert that where neither parent has been convicted of a crime against children and neither has been charged with or convicted of domestic violence they are better off left where they are than risk joining the 10,000 kids in care who end up missing or dead.

        1. Sarah Phillimore

          Please provide the proof for this assertion. Who has compiled these figures? What are their sources? What proportion of children are missing? What proportion dead? How did they die?

  23. Sam

    Yes Angelo you are right some Police forces do not take domestic violence seriously enough, alongside some Children’s Services There are definite improvements in a number with them actually recording video evidence etc, but in my opinion there is a very long way to go especially in understanding why the victim cannot just leave.

    I am very interested in Ian’s statistics. If 10,000 children go permanently missing each year why haven’t we heard about it.

  24. angelo granda

    I have heard about it particularly in Rochdale and more recently in Rotherham.
    It matters little whether the figures are ten,five or one thousand. Statistics are not all and they go up and down. Quantiative judgments are invalid ! To me not even one child should go missing from care and allowed to roam into the hands of predators.What would happen if an individual parent allowed it? They would be castigated and brought to justice for criminal neglect.The same rules should apply all round ESPECIALLY to SW’s who are in a position of trust.I also believe that not one child should be forcibly adopted wrongly and that when it happens ,parents should have a remedy.
    Have you any suggestions as to changes in the Law as I asked.Or perhaps you think the law is okay as it is?

  25. Michelle

    You say that it is a dangerous myth and that they are here to help yet only 6 weeks ago I rang the police and had my partner (the father to my child) arrested for domestic violence. I am now currently battling a child protection order that is being applied for to the courts so that my child isn’t taken away from me. Her dad is no longer here and we aren’t together yet for some obsurd reason because of what HE did then my daughter isn’t safe with ME??? It’s a joke. I wish I had never spoken out about what had happened and then none of this would have happened. Best thing for anyone whether it be male or female, if your partner is violent or abusive and you have a child DO NOT call the police and just leave yourself, get the courage to do it this way because by informing the police you run the risk of having your child taken in to care. The system is a JOKE. I thought the authorities were there to look after the VICTIMS but evidently I was WRONG.

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I am sorry to hear this. I hope you can work with your lawyer and keep your family together. But I can’t agree that it is right to not report a violent person to the police – you will make people think that you can’t protect your child.

  26. Sam

    I agree with Michelle , I lost my children because I called the police and I had already separated from the abuser. He now has one of my children under a care order . I do understand what Sarah is saying about keeping children safe, but if you have not walked in someone else’s shoes it difficult to understand why they couldn’t get out. With me it was wholesale failure by authorities, to both listen to me, follow proper procedure and look at the previous history. I really wish I could say more because what the local authority did to me was abusive and inhumane but due to lack of transparency in the family court can’t.
    Michelle if you are made to have a psychiatric assessment do make sure that the expert actually has expertise in working with domestic violence victims and raise the very real possibility of PTSD rather than some pre existing condition.

  27. Sam

    I looked at this resource when it first started, read the domestic violence article , got angry and thought what the hell do they know as it was so different from my own experience. I am glad I came back, I realise now that they , which mainly appears to be Sarah does know, but I and some other mothers have had a very bad experience.
    I do now understand why a child seeing violence is a child protection matter, but I do not agree with children being removed because the victim takes the positive step of reporting to the police. What they require is intensive support, so they understand the dynamics ,and widen their support network . If they don’t get support they are more likely to be sitting ducks for either that abuser or another one .
    A victim is very likely to have PTSD , the controlling, accusatory nature of the court process and supervised contact and going to exacerbate any symptoms and delay healing. I think FAADC model ought to be widened and used in this cases. There also needs to be a far greater awareness and punishment of domestic violence , something akin to being as wrong as drink driving

  28. tina

    Anyone got any advise please, social, guardian and all keep saying were fighting and child is suffering, i can’t understand it’s obvious domestic abuse and he gained custody but i think they dont want to admit their mistake of giving child to abuser so they can keep blaming it on us, a police officer stated it is domestic abuse and the social need to start investigating him but the social removed what the police said from the minutes and reports, i do have a witness that heard what he said, so they are still saying were fighting and are asking the court for an ico my barrister said i shouldn’t worry about what they say as it may mean that were fighting because it’s all hearsay and i just need to show that i have moved on in my life (i smashed his car 5 years ago plus had a friend that threatened my child) and barrister said they are stuck in a time wharp and if they ask for a ico i can have a solicitor that will help me inbetween court hearings she said they just going to show i have moved on and changed and show him up for what he is, i’m in court tom and can’t sleep with worry, theres evidence of him manipulating coaching and alienating he had stopped interfered limited my contact and has failed to attend 2 court hearings. they are asking for a psychological assessment on our child but i am worried if dr doesn’t recognize it’s domestic abuse then i will lose her for good?

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      sorry, I know it is very stressful to be going through this. The good news is that you have a lawyer in court with you tomorrow. Make sure they explain to you exactly what is going on. If you were going through a bad patch 5 years ago but you have now moved on, that cannot be held against you for the rest of your life. The court will need to see that you have made changes and that you will stick to those changes.

      Problem is that if things were bad in the past that is almost certainly having an impact on your child today and that is probably why they want a psychological assessment to work out what help your child needs.

      My advice would be to take deep breaths, try to get a good nights sleep and arrange to meet your barrister early at court to talk through any concerns you have and clear up any matters that you don’t understand.

  29. jade83

    Sorry but removal of children is not a myth. When I finally went for help I was dumbfounded by the reaction of the women at the domestic violence centre. They told me categorically that there was nothing that they could do to support ME but they would ensure that my 2 children were taken into care. Imagine how I felt, it had taken me weeks to build up the courage to go and then they said that. I ran out of there as fast as I could.

    However, what they did next shocked me even more. They sent the police to my house to threaten ME even more. This happened in front of my husband and since then he has used it as a threat to control me. Now if I don’t do what he wants when he wants he’ll tell the police and they’ll take my kids away.

    Why didn’t I do something sooner? My husband had driven me to the depths of despair, I was suicidal and on anti-depressants. Yet I’m expected to make rational decisions about something this serious WITHOUT help? I acted as soon as I could.

    I’ve basically decided that I’m going to keep on with the anti-depressant pills and stick it out. My kids are 12 and 14 so if I can survive another 4 years then we can make a break for it without having to worry about social porkers (not a spelling mistake, it’s what I call them now as they are all Pigs). I’ve made a will detailing what happened to me and if I get killed before then I hope that social services are prosecuted for endangering me.

    Wish me luck guys!


    1. Sarah Phillimore

      I haven’t said removal of children is a myth. That clearly happens. I have also agreed that support for women in abusive relationships can be patchy or even non existent.

      But I don’t believe children are removed to ‘punish’ women in abusive relationships.

      I hope you can get some help from somewhere. I don’t think you should have to ‘stick it out’ in such a corrosive relationship. It will damage you and your children. Please speak to Womens Aid.

  30. zoe

    Im sorry but as a victim of domestic abuse i have been indirectly harassed and intimidated by my abuser who is using social services an an enabler by making false allegations to indirectly get to myself even though i have taken all the positive steps court orders pursing criminal charges against my abuser social services have put my children on an at risk register saying I’m negligent I put it so social services you wonder why we sit in silence and put up with domestic abuse for years because of this the way you treat us we are the victims and yet we are victimised when we seek help if you want to keep your kids then you have to put up with the domestic abuse its shameful!!!!!

  31. Molina

    My kids were taking away for calling the police for domestic violence I don’t understand why they took them I have court tomorrow . Anyone have advice for me in what to do?
    I volunteer myself to get a restraining order on the abuser and try to enroll in parenting and domestic violence but I need a form by the judge . I had surgery 2 months and I feel like that’s why the social worker to my kids so I got a letter from my doctor that I am capable of taking care of my kids can anyone please tell me if the judge will agree to return my kids ?

    1. Sarah Phillimore

      It is most likely that your children will have been taken away because they had to call the police after seeing or hearing violence in their home. The courts are very clear that seeing or hearing violence in the home is very likely to cause children to suffer significant harm – they are likely to be afraid. They are at risk of getting caught up in the violence and being physically hurt. I don’t think it is likely that having surgery is a reason to remove your children, but it obviously makes it more difficult for you to show that you can make and sustain changes to your life as first you are going to have to concentrate on getting well again after surgery.

      It’s impossible to say what the chances are of your children being returned without knowing a lot more about your case. I would just say that if your children had to call the police, it seems very likely that the court will accept that there was serious violence in your home. It is likely the court will want you to get some counselling/therapy/support and I think you should agree to this – as you have said you would.

      You should get a lawyer for free if you are in care proceedings. I think it is really, really important that you get a lawyer that you can talk to. Your lawyer can advise you properly. good luck.

  32. Pingback: Allegations of harm and abuse in the family court: A good example of the Local Authority and the Court getting it wrong in Care Proceedings | The Transparency Project

  33. Sian

    What if the abusive partner played games to keep me away from my child?

    Accepting your partner is an abuser takes time. He might be very good at pretending, confusing your emotions and lie about everything since you met him. He could be very popular and charming because he learned and practiced to gain trust and the art of charm, so much that you often think you’re the one who’s at fault and should look up to him. His pattern of behavior is to leave you in a desperate state, emotionally, financially and sometimes physically. Then you become dependent of him, even though your heart is worn and you feel spent, you still feel like his return will make things okay.

    What if the government can’t help you, all they do is signposting you from one place to another? Leaving your only choice to be reconnecting with him, even leaving your child temporarily as you have nowhere else to go? Since organizations might help you escape, but once you’re out, you’re nobody’s business because your extremely complex situation created an unclear jurisdiction.

    As a result of everything I mentioned, my ex now has my son and is seeking residence orders and “all the control of my child” for retaliation.

    I disagree with applying “it is a child’s right to have a relationship with his/her parents” in the cases of domestic abuse. Whoever disagree with me should read about narcissistic sociopaths. You might think even a monster will care for or even love his own son.. well, I had this same thought until a few days ago. People who are abusive do not have empathy; and without empathy you are not capable of feeling for, let alone love, anybody besides the self, even his own mother, father, brother, sister and baby are all just appliances, for him to validate his own existence, otherwise he can’t tell if he exists. Most likely because when he was a baby/child, he was neglected – he cried and cried but no answer, he thought he didn’t exist, so he started learning to get attention and reaction, doesnt matter it’s loving or sad or angry – any kind of response is better than no response at all because he’d know that he exists and matters and because no response reminds them of the time when no one responded/helped to him when he was ignored or helpless. Consequently, he evolves and practices honing people skills to become a master of manipulation and charm so he can keep stirring up your emotions while keeping your loyalty. These mentally ill people are beyond normal people’s comprehension, simply because our brains are not hardwired the same.

    This is all too late for me to know, as my baby is now under his care and I have independent evidence to prove his abuse. For people who still naively think that your abusive partner will ever love the child, please wake up for your child and realize it is just your projection hoping his love for you was at least real at one point. I have noticed the subtle changes of my 10m/o baby, and I’m afraid if I contacted the social services or even the health visitor would make me seem I’m manipulating things, as all my ex’s friends believe I am or have mental conditions, and will have negative impact on the on-going custody battle. My baby can’t speak and explain things, his carers are his abusive father and grandmother who drinks and suffers from Alzheimer. I feel once again or further isolated not able to express my concerns to Social Care or Health Visitors or the police, and I’m also afraid if they suddenly send someone to make assessment, my ex know it’s me and take his manipulation and lies to his family/friends and the court even further in retribution.

    Don’t get me wrong. As my friend said, the people work for these units or organizations are unsung heroes, as he was abused by his stepfather. However, each case is different and non-physically abuse on children is just as detrimental and urgent as physical abuse. Also, being from a different country just seems an excuse for everyone to shut that door, hang up their phone and signpost you to others, even if her child is a British Citizen, until you end up with no help, no money and no baby.

  34. Neill

    I was emotionally abused by my partner for a year and when I tried leaving she pushed me down the stairs. I reported it to the police, but after 2 weeks they finally interviewed her and have decided not to follow it up, I suspect because I am a man. There are young children in the house and my ex-partner suffers from depression and is on medication, she is also an alcoholic and has self harmed and pretended to have cancer. But now I must continue to suffer as she gets to carry on with her life as normal and still have the children at risk

    1. Sam

      Neill I do hope you can find some support. A voluntary organisation who may be able to help you is . You may be able to make sense of the situation by contacting them. It is dreadful to be a domestic violence victim and not be taken seriously by the police whatever gender you are. Have Social Services been involved at all ?

    2. Angelo Granda

      Neill, Usually its the other way round,it’s the man who is the abuser.I am only an ordinary parent like you but I can only say you did thre right thing by reporting it to the Police.Report it every time
      But only if you have definite evidence such as a knife in your back with her fingerprints on it.
      You may have big trouble to come if you donkt take action now if the Children’s Services get to know about it.You are better off telling them yourself ,I would have thought but don’t tell them too much without seeing an advocate first.
      I seriously suggest you go and report it to HER parents and they might intervene and sort her out and might even look after the kids for a while.They know how to deal with her.Good luck.Go to the Family Rights Group website for advice.

      1. Angelo Granda

        Time scales for action, Neil.
        I suggest you act quickly.If she is depressed or traumatised in a previous partner etc. She will be drinking to as a means of escape.Same if bringing up 4 kids is getting on top of her.
        Extended family should be supporting her.
        The biggest problem you have these days is that there is very little help these days for those with MH problems. You have to help yourself.I hope this helps.
        The only thing on offer these days are tablets and counselling.d

        1. HelenSparkles

          A combination of medication and talking therapy is often the optimum solution for mental health problems Angelo, what else did you have in mind?

    3. Sarah Phillimore

      I am sorry to hear that the police didn’t take this seriously – I think there is a big problem in that women just aren’t seen as the perpetrators of violence, although I know some are.
      But what you say about her sounds pretty serious – if she is abusing alcohol while on anti-depressants that’s quite a big risk she is taking with her health and her ability to stay lucid enough to parent. If you are worried, I suggest that you make a call to Children’s Services and get them to investigate.

  35. Angelo Granda

    Well , Helen, you are at complete liberty to question me but I am not a psychologist . However, I can say with some authority ,having seen professional advice provided to others who shall remain nameless that you are quite wrong to state that medication and talking therapy is often the optimum solution. Quite wrong. You would have been right to say that it is often the only therapy on offer these days which is what I said.
    Historically, the optimum therapy was well known to be convalescence i.e. complete rest and isolation , a short ,medium or long term rest ( or perhaps a holiday) away from all problems. Everything laid on a plate for a patient with no worries or stress. Children were cared for by extended family usually but at worst ,they might have to undergo temporary foster-care away from family. Or Father might take time off work to look after the kids. In serious cases, medication will be used and in some cases, the holiday would not be in a regular convalescence facility but in a mental hospital under 24 -hour surveillance by mental health staff.
    The therapy really works and occupational therapy ( i.e. a patient is encouraged in hobbies, handicrafts etc.) is added at the right time as time goes on.All this sort of treatment was withdrawn when NHS policies altered radically in favour of ‘care in the community’ but it was thought by many that cost-cutting played a part. I suppose talking therapy is helpful but it is wrong to say it is optimal.

    As for SW’s ,they would only become involved in order to give support to a family ,perhaps to arrange foster-care or temporary help with housework while Mum was away. They didn’t take it upon themselves to remove children from parents on the grounds they just might not be safe in the care of parents on the basis of risk-assessment. If a Mum was depressed, stressed, traumatised etc. historically it was counted inhuman not to allow her to take time to recover. They would not declare either that because recovery is unlikely within six-month time-scales ,it would be better to get the child adopted nor would they dream of saying that when a mother took anti-depressants or had some other mental problem ( except in the most dire circumstances) that a child was not ‘safe’ with its own mother! All this happens now.
    I asked a question in an earlier comment . Who does the most harm to a mother’s mental health , a father who bashes his wife or a LA which pounces and liquidates her family whilst failing to follow procedure correctly?


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