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.

IMPORTANT UPDATE RE LEGAL AID FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

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. See the revised PD12J here
  • Considering substance abuse and issues of violence see drugrehab.com
  • Download this brochure from the Family Rights Group

123 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?

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
    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?

      Reply
      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’.

        Reply
        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 .

          Reply
          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.

      2. Mona

        Totally! I agree with you there! The Courts say they are doing what they think is in the best interests of the child but the child’s wish (mine is 8 and very mature for his age) is not taken into consideration! So why do they think that unsupervised contact of child with an abusive parent is okay?? My soon to be ex has been abusive all the times in front of my child since he was 2 and I kept the family together all for the best interests of my child! Now I am confused that I have done the child more harm than good!! My child since he was 6 has been asking me to divorce this man so we could live in peace! I still persevered to keep it all together. I was forced to report my husband to the Police in 2015 when it blew out if proportion and he was arrested but again I gave him another chance for the sake of my child. He now in retaliation to that he has lied to the Court and has had a Prohibited Steps Order against me preventing me taking my child to see my parents in India for school summer holidays and the holidays are now wasted and there’s a hearing again in October which initially was scheduled for the 11th September but owing to CAFCASS report not ready yet it got rescheduled. Finally it looks like someone somewhere is getting a wind of the truth. In relation to the PSO the first judge was biased and hostile to me as I was represented by myself and he had a Barrister and the second time he and I both had representation and the judge was a bit better who queried why no one before her had asked my husband to file his statement as I had already spent a fortune to try and meet a deadline for the statement. I hope and pray all parents trying to give their child the best may find love and light! Prayers for all…

        Reply
  3. phillimoresarah

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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  7. sam

    Sarah
    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. http://www.beatingtheblues.co.uk/
    http://stresscontrol.org/home

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

    Reply
  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 arguments.no 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.

    Reply
    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?

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  11. linzi

    thankyou for advice.yes my solicitor says she is going to contest removing her from me..i want the whole farce contested.my 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 dad.social 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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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

    xxxxxx
    Area Manager
    Looked After Children Service

    Reply
  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.
    Secondly
    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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
      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.

        Reply
        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.

          Reply
  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.

    Reply
    1. angelo granda

      Sam,

      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?

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  21. Sam

    Ian
    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.

    Reply
  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,??

    Reply
    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?

      Reply
      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.

        Reply
        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?

          Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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!

    J

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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!!!!!

    Reply
  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 ?

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Neill I do hope you can find some support. A voluntary organisation who may be able to help you is http://www.al-anonuk.org.uk/ . 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 ?

      Reply
    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.

      Reply
      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

        Reply
        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?

          Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
  36. jerren

    A friend of mine was recently charged with DV, but never convicted, he tells me that it was her malicious lies, and I believe him. However regardless of what anyone believes, the case came to a close through a lack of evidence, a social worker is working closely with his partner. But it sort of seems like it is his word against hers. He’s here with me now and wants advice, he wants to know if he is at risk of having his son taken away, after all, its only allegations? Would somebody care to enlighten us? It would be much appreciated

    Reply
    1. Angelo Granda

      A Parents advice.

      Tell him to visit The Family Rights Group (FRG) website for help and advice as to where he can get an independent advocate.
      My advice in the meantime is that he keeps quiet especially if he has separated from Mum and his son remains with Mum. If he starts pestering her and demanding contacts etc. too soon, the SW will have an excuse to be ‘CONCERNED’ about emotional harm the son might suffer in the care of a mother who MIGHT be traumatised and have mental health problems as a result of ALLEGED domestic violence. Even if she admits that the allegations were false and malicious, that will not help because the SW may well assume that you have conspired to control her and make her retract out of fear.
      If Mum is genuinely frightened of your friend then you should ask him why? Sometimes there isn’t enough evidence to convict in a normal court but that doesn’t mean he is beyond reproach . He should be honest with himself if that is correct in his case ( we all human) and turn over a new leaf. He will be missing his son and his wife/partner but even if he is completely innocent and it is just a clash of personalities tell him to keep it softly-softly for two or three months .The SW’s aren’t interested in him or Mum, they are solely interested in the boy and if he is of a certain age they may well do a ‘risk assessment’ and decide to rescue him and take him away.
      He should not do anything at all to confirm what they have probably already decided about him .That he was cleared in Court doesn’t count for anything much with the CS.

      Reply
    2. Sarah Phillimore

      I assume you are saying that the police took no action regarding any criminal charges for violence.
      however the family courts operate to a different and lower standard of proof. So I am afraid he is still at risk of findings being made against him in the family courts, on a balance of probabilities.
      But to prevent him seeing his son there would have be proper findings after hearing evidence. Allegations which are not accepted cannot be treated as facts.

      Reply
  37. looked_after_child

    Partner or ex-partner?
    What does ‘taken-away’ mean? How often does he see his son?
    Has your friend has any work around anger management or sim? Were the police involved in any incidents? Was there NHS involvement Why is there SW involvement?
    There are probably better sites to help your friend such as this one Families Need Fathers – honest answers to these questions will be needed.

    Reply
    1. HelenSparkles

      I always make this comment about anger management. It is very dangerous to use with perpetrators of domestic abuse, which is about power and control – not anger. Anger management teaches perpetrators how to hide the signals their victims read and need to know something is about to happen and how they are going to manage it.

      Reply
  38. Brooke

    NO, I completely disagree. I was in an abusive relationship and called the police once and immediately had Child Protective Services threaten to take away my child and unborn child once he was born if I didn’t leave my husband, their father, immediately, or at least move out and have no contact. They brought us to court right away to do so because I didn’t leave and I had to send my older son out of state to live with his grandparents temporarily or they definitely would have taken him. We ended up moving out of state months later before our second son was born and although that was not the main reason we moved, it was how we got them out of our lives. We moved to Florida where they have so many cases to deal with, ours was minor comparatively and they closed our case. Had we not moved to Florida, who knows what would have happened? I am fairly certain it would not have ended well. Also, they were horrible to me and very judgmental and hostile, which was unnecessary and served no purpose. In fact, it made things worse! It’s not as black and white as they seemed to think and you would think they would understand this having to deal with it in their job on a regular basis. I was the only one suffering the actual physical abuse, although my son did get pushed once while trying to protect me. I am well aware that he suffered and should not have had to live through that and I am in no way trying to defend their father – there was no excuse for what he did! I KNOW I should have left him then and there, and it was a horrible environment for my children. I did leave a little over a year after that incident. The guilt I now feel for not leaving immediately and my son having to witness and experience that hell is immense, even though I know it’s not as simple as that hence why many women stay in abusive relationships. Regardless of whether or not I was a terrible mother, whether he *should* have been removed from our home, or how wrong I was, I vowed at the time to never call the police again. I wasn’t about to lose my children. I think many more women than you think don’t want to call the police for fear of losing their children. And that is unfortunate. I understand the purpose of automatic notification of CPS etc and their involvement, but it still doesn’t change a mother’s fear of losing her children and what she will do to keep them, regardless of how wrong she may be.

    Reply
  39. Qwerty

    The victim is double persecuted once by the prepatrator and then by the authorities. Domestic violence reporting is 1 in 5 because THIS IS NO MYTH mother’s know THIS IS THE TRUTH
    Authorities put up smoke screens as to why they will not challenge the prepatrator (often the male) such as you have fabricated domestic violence, it is irrelevant, it is historic (even when with 6 months) we can not interfere as court ordered contact time.
    when child complains about abusive behaviour they are ignored, in meeting authorities said the child never said it (child is scared and told to tell authorities) or child told “you are a liar” and the prepatrator is a ” lovely person”.
    All attention is placed on harassing the mother, to comply. Such as “have you learnt your lesson”, you have to “accept domestic violence” and don’t complain to police, court or solicitor. if you complain about harassment or intimidation we will start legal action regarding child living arrangements.
    Evidence is hidden from courts, or even destroyed by authorities.
    Mother’s have gagging orders and threatened with imprisonment, or child removal if they don’t toe the line.
    GP ignored despite medical evidence.
    This is the situation in the UK, and needs dealing with. No wonder women don’t report this horrendous crime they are scared so prefer the beating then threats to remove their most precious relationships their children.
    Have authorities not heard of “mother love” or do they just use it as a weapon against women?.

    Reply
    1. HelenSparkles

      I spend most of my life doing exactly the opposite of that, evidencing that there is DV, when it isn’t reported. I have nothing to hide or destroy if nobody has told anybody anything. Unfortunately I think there is DV isn’t evidence.

      It is very difficult that the perpetrator is asked to leave, because of the risk to children, and the victim is asked to leave them. This is because they are the safe parent but it doesn’t make it any easier. The alternative is taking children out of the environment, hopefully to protective family members.

      Reply
  40. Sam

    Apart from being gagged, I can recognise all of the above. It seems to be a crime where the victim is responsible and the perpetrator isn’t. It leaves children at continuing risk of abuse as some courts order contact or even residence with the perpetrator.
    Despite this sentiment from the then President of the Family Division “Gone, I think, are the days when a man could be violent to the mother of his children and yet could still be considered a good father. We are much more aware of the risks to children posed by domestic abuse, and I think this has helped to underline the proposition that, in English Law, contact is the right of the child, not the right of the parent, and that the child’s safety, and well-being, in contact is paramount.” Lord Justice Wall
    There is a very deep misunderstanding of domestic violence even in Higher Level courts especially around how victims will gradually reveal the abuse piecemeal. They are not making it up as they go along , rather they unfold as they start to feel safe and actually realise what has happened. Also just because a man has a job and performs well in the public eye, that does not make him a “good” man as a partner and father. They are masters of disguise. Judges, police and social workers really need to have training on and be able to investigate the abusers over whelming driver of the abuse, that is entitlement.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore

      the problem is that I have experience of cases where women WERE making it up as they went along. I had one client who pulled the hair out of her hair brush and told the police it had been yanked out of her head. That was clearly a lie and the police knew it. She withdrew her application for a non mol in the end.

      Yes, these cases are not common and i am sure there are far more victims of violence than there are people prepared to lie about it.

      but it underscores the vital necessity and importance of the forensic process. I agree that we probably all need more understanding and awareness. One such awareness I would like to promote is for victims to understand the forensic process and the need to tell poeople as soon as they can about what is happening. I have said for years, and will continue to say, because I think I am right – that the root cause of much of this is the unhealthy idea of ‘relationships’ that is foisted on men and women alike. We need to be teaching our children from their earliest days about treating each other and themselves wth respect and kindness.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        The root cause of ALL domestic violence and probably ALL violence in general is guilt and shame. That comes from psychiatrists and a governor AT A PRISON which deals with men who perpetrate it. I imagine it also applies to violent females too. Reform via the Courts is essential and unfortunately Family Courts do not have the power to order suitable punishments such as prison, probation, borstal training, community service etc. The CS care little for the adult victims of dv; their only interest is the children that is why they are called Children’s Services. All they can do is remove children from the scene into care which is wholly disproportionate. That is punishing the victims. The Police let the perpetrators off the hook and they should not do.
        Recently, on another thread, I was trying to explain why men are violent to their wives/partners but I don’t think I was really listened to by female readers even though, as a man , I am likely to know.
        When they are dysfunctional e.g. no work, idle, lazy, escaping from reality via drink or drugs etc. etc. , unable to support their wife and family because of something else, when they read porn and become perverted , when they can’t look after their money, when they neglect their responsibilities and spend it all on themselves. All this actually makes them ashamed of themselves and that is when they lose control and are violent. This is the trigger. If I was on drugs or if I was an alcoholic with responsibilities or if you were, even we might strike out at those we love . Especially if our partners tell us about it or threaten to leave etc.
        I can’t recall the exact thread, but another reader commented that some men are unhappy at how their partners are caring for the children, perhaps leaving them alone or treating them as latch-key children ( out at work, at Bingo etc.) . We should take careful heed of him too.
        Of course, not all men lose control and become violent but some do. There for the grace of God go we.
        I think we do treat our children from the earliest from the earliest days already. Some will always go astray. It is human. Reform is the answer. Deal with them and leave the victims alone! If I were a woman, I would not report it if I thought the Police would not take action; my husband would hit me worse.
        Before anyone says it again, i am not making excuses for these men , I am saying reform them .That is the only way.

        Reply
        1. Sam

          In my experience men who are violent are actually over anxious coupled with have a sense of entitlement. They do not on the whole have the ability to look at themselves, much the same as racists can’t. Yes I think you are right Angelo guilt , though that guilt is about themselves, rather than what they do to the victim and shame, once again about themselves, are important as well. There always is something wrong with a bully.
          I believe there ought to be more understanding on the links between the addictive personality and I don’t just mean alcohol and drugs, but gaming, shopping, over eating etc and abuse.
          As for getting women to understand they are victims , the best way I have found is that they speak to someone else who has already identified herself as one.
          There are such common themes , for instance every victim I have met has been frightened of his driving and all spent time pressing down on an imaginary brake when a passenger, and talking about this brings clarity that they too have been a victim .

          Reply
          1. Angelo Granda

            They have something to be ashamed of ; they know they are wrong; they know they are not meeting their duties and obligations; they realise they are dysfunctional etc. but they have got to a stage where it is so habitual they can’t change themselves. When spouse complains and tries to help him, tells him not to drink etc. or not to mix with certain people, to get a job or change their ways , they are so ashamed BANG,THUMP! When that becomes a habit , it is disaster for the family especially if the Police report it to the CS.
            So where do things start to go wrong? As Sarah says, be more careful when choosing who to have children with etc. but most of us are careful, aren’t we?

            No matter how careful we are, even if we marry a higher -class wealthy person, they can be just as controlling and violent if not more so. Sam, you have often written how clever and controlling these men are. They will want to keep you from contacting your family, meeting friends etc. I guess that is because they are so ashamed and guilty , they cannot allow you to tell everyone. They have to hide the temper and violence and obviously ,they have to deny it and find a reason to blame their victim.
            Police won’t do anything for half the time. So what can a victim do?
            I know for a fact, from having read research, that social dislocation is the cause of much family dysfunction. We should all think twice before moving away from extended family for any reason. When we are close to our extended family ( and that of our partner) there is much more social cohesion. For example, if we have an argument or money worries or problems with the kids, support is on hand especially if we live on the same street or in the same house as many families do abroad. Our family can keep in touch ,they can hear and see what is going on with their own ears and eyes and because of that it does not develop. Shouting and fighting is something which grandparents and in-laws just will not support and years ago it used to be stopped at the roots before Police intervention became necessary. If someone starts to bully or starts to become an addict etc the worst thing you can do is move away from family support networks.

        2. HelenSparkles

          A lot of cases involve adults with very sad stories and there is little help, that doesn’t mean there is none, but it is also very sad that people have children before getting that help. These are adults who often need psychological/psychiatric intervention not a social worker. Social workers in CS work with the family, and can ask adults to access help which will also support them to parent well, but nobody can make anyone do anything. Children’s Services do what they say on the tin, i am always confused about why they are supposed to do it all, particularly since you say so often they aren’t the experts?

          Reply
          1. looked_after_child

            Queens Speech earlier – if you look down the list
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40345280
            a Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, establishing a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to stand up for victims and survivors and monitor the response of the authorities
            Very very unexpected and welcome surprise.
            I do wonder about whether this Govt will be able to pass legislation though..

          2. Sam

            Thanks for your comment Helen. I am not entirely sure that I agree all need mental health help:domestic violence may result in the victim having mental health problems they are not necessarily present before the abuse. Also once they are out of the relationship any MH issues heal.The perpetrator does not also necessarily have mental health issues either, rather an attitude of entitlement.
            Should SW be able to remove children if they do not have sufficient knowledge after all it is life changing and in some instances they get it back to front. Yes I know it goes to court but experts are another can of worms. So we go around in circles again

          3. HelenSparkles

            Sorry Sam, when I meant often I meant often not always. I don’t at all think that all victims or even perpetrators of DV have mental health problems. In a lot of cases, there are issues caused by childhood trauma or similar which make victims more vulnerable to entering into abusive relationships. Again that is often not always, after all anyone can be a victim, I often think there for the grace of (insert deity of choice). Help absolutely doesn’t need to be mental health work, help can be whatever is best for that person now, which could be DV work. It is complicated, leaving is complicated, and the intervention of CS is often at a time when it isn’t the right time for that help to be effective. It is stressful in itself and it means there is a child at risk so action needs to happen. Without children in the picture that would be different. I suppose I am trying to think through how we best support vulnerable women (because it is usually a woman) to seek help, protect a child, and not remove a child. A lot of the cases that go to court are people who don’t leave their partner and their partner puts their child at risk, it absolutely isn’t ideal.

          4. Angelo Granda

            Sam, Obviously I’m no Psychologist just an ordinary parent but when examining the reason for mental health issues, I guess they sometimes affect ones relations if they occur. A family will develop various degrees of malfunction together.
            What is the main cause of mental health difficulties?

            I think it is stress ,some suffered outside at work etc. but much of it at home.
            Historically ,overcrowding and over-small housing is a big cause. This was recognised decades ago and just before WW2 and just afterwards we commenced upon a grand plan for ridding towns and cities of the problem; a mass slum-clearance scheme. Garden cities and huge out-of- town housing estates were built which were idyllic in comparison to the two up two down back-to-backs, tenements and so on.
            The lovely, new houses were spacious with all mod-cons ( bathroom, indoor-toilet) and the children did not have to share bedrooms with the parents. Gardens front and rear were commonplace and ,of course, the air was better in the suburbs. Building standards were set high for Council housing.
            Unfortunately, along came the IRON LADY whose main interest was in supporting business people, landlords and her own ilk rather than creating a healthier, happier community. Victorian values were brought back and the building standards especially in regard to size were altered to suit companies like Wimpey and Barrett’s. The houses built in the main were smaller than the tiny slums which had been knocked down. Just one room downstairs ( called a through lounge and a small scullery /kitchen unit at the rear. 2 tiny bedrooms and a third if you were lucky and no attic. Tiny gardens or just a back yard with front doors almost on the street. House buying was encouraged rather than renting and first time buyers are usually only able to afford these excuses for a proper house.
            So think about cramped conditions. If one keeps too many birds or animals in a cage, too many chickens in a coop ,too many captive butterflies in a jam-jar then their behaviours are affected by the stress and some will attack the weaker ones.
            This is just a general observation worth considering.

      2. HelenSparkles

        I’ve known women express a volatile relationship on both parts as DA, unravelling that and assessing it is important, but was to gain legal aid in private law.

        Reply
  41. Angelo Granda

    Sorry about the last paragraph. I meant to say I think we do already teach our children from the earliest day s that treating each other with respect and kindness is the right way. But some will always go astray when they grow up.

    Reply
  42. looked_after_child

    ”We need to be teaching our children from their earliest days about treating each other and themselves with respect and kindness” and that they and their opinions/feelings /concerns are valid and deserve to be listened to/valued/acted on. ‘Might ( the adult world sometimes?) never equals Right’

    Reply
  43. Bradley

    Reporting you’re a victim of domestic violence and fear of having your kids taken away because of it, is not a myth. Currently know someone who did just that and reached out for help and had her children taken away. Now she is forced to live with the abuser or she will have her kids taken from her. Completely lost all faith in the system.
    Added to that she can’t fight back otherwise social will remove kids for not following what they say. Can’t report if husband is abusive to her again otherwise social have warned they will take the kids away.
    Sadly social tactics of constant threat of removing kids because they would rather falsify statements to get the job done quick rather than help children and victims is the experience I have witnessed

    Reply
    1. HelenSparkles

      It is really difficult that one person has to leave the abusive other for the children to be safe, because there are many complexities to leaving an abusive partner, who has often targeted a vulnerable victim. Leaving the perpetrator is part of the support and service given to families but this person is still with her abusive husband. Given she is the safe parent, who the children can be with (I presume) leaving the relationship would be prioritising her children. It is really difficult but it isn’t safe for those children to be in that house if that person is perpetrating domestic abuse.

      Reply
  44. Angelo Granda

    Thanks Bradley, I agree with you as do tons and tons of other parents. particularly about falsifying statements. This is CSAS, a common fault in child-protection which I think is caused by pressure of work and pressure on SW’s by LA’s to achieve certain outcomes. If you have time, please tell us more about your friend.

    Reply
    1. looked_after_child

      As you will know my interest is all thing ‘brain’ related as in Autism etc. There is something called ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’ and a LOT of people in prison have this. In woman’s prisions https://www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/types-of-offender/women
      emerging evidence is that, while’s men’s brain injuries are as a result of a single event eg a motor bike accident, woman’s injuries are acquired as a result of being ‘beaten up’ over time. These injuries can affect ability to use language in extreme cases – think along the lines of someone who has suffered a stroke…How can this be right that some women have to arrive in prison before this gets picked up?

      Reply
      1. looked_after_child

        It is worth reading this:-
        https://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/docs/corston-report-march-2007.pdf
        even if just the summary – the links with domestic violence are so strong eg

        These were the women I saw in prisons:

        Most were mothers. Some had their children with them immediately prior to custody, others had handed them to relatives or their children had been taken into care or adopted.

        Some were pregnant. Some discovered they were pregnant when they had no idea that
        that could be a possibility.

        They were drug users. It was not uncommon to have £200 a day crack and heroin habits
        disclosed.

        They were alcoholics.

        They often looked very thin and unwell.

        They had been sexually, emotionally and physically abused.

        They were not in control of their lives.

        They did not have many choices.

        They were noisy and at first sight confident and brash but this belied their frailty and
        vulnerability and masked their lack of self-confidence and esteem.

        They self harmed.

        They had mental health problems.

        They were poor.

        They were not all the same, they were individuals.

        There were significant minority groups, including BME and foreign national women.

        Reply
          1. looked_after_child

            One of the things being investigated is to look at how parents can securely skype or sim. their children eg to say ‘goodnight’ or to read a bedtime story or whatever. One also has to ask why this is happening in prison but there is little focus on this for mums who have children in care or am I wrong?
            MoJ takes a different approach to the DfE perhaps?

        1. HelenSparkles

          The other question might be why does anyone think it is right that those people are given a prison sentence?

          The worst of prison is the outcomes for offenders, the ‘best’ is that vulnerable people find a way to keep going back, because they know they are ‘safe’ there.

          Reply
  45. looked_after_child

    Figures above relate to numbers per head of population in the prison system.
    On that very subject
    ”But while many, …, called for a reduction in prisoner numbers, Gove placed his faith in the reform prisons programme. The ‘only way to reduce violence in our prisons’, he wrote, ‘is to give Governors and those who work in prisons the tools necessary to more effectively reform and rehabilitate offenders’. Symptomatic of the lack of urgency on the part of government was its response to
    Changing Prisons, Saving Lives, the report of the Harris Review into self-inflicted deaths of young adults in custody, published in July 2015. The government response, on the last working day before Christmas in late 2015, was described by one critic as ‘a deeply cynical way of releasing a deeply cynical response’. Nearly a third of the review’s 108 recommendations were rejected. These included measures such as testing all cell light fittings to ensure they can’t hold the weight of a young adult and placing a ‘duty of candour’ on state agencies following a death in custody.
    pg 30

    Reply
  46. looked_after_child

    Last quote –

    youth justice
    Major controversy surrounding serious failings at two of the three G4S-run children’s prisons in England during the year under review eventually led to the company deciding to sell its UK children’s services business in ‘an ongoing review of its portfolio.’ A joint inspection into Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, published in May 2015, described the facility as ‘inadequate’. Inspectors found that staff, including those in leadership roles, had subjected children detained at the centre to racist comments, degrading and humiliating treatment, and had in some instances been under the influence of illegal drugs whilst on duty.
    Poor care was ‘compounded by poor decision-making by senior managers’, which in one instance led to a child with a fracture not receiving treatment for 15 hours. Concerns were also raised about delays in reporting serious incidents or in dealing adequately with staff misconduct. MTCnovo was announced as the new contractor at Rainsbrook in September 2015. The charity, Article 39, noted that MTCnovo had no known experience of running establishments for vulnerable children. It also pointed out that MTC faced prisoner abuse allegations in the US.

    How many of these children had neuro-developmental disorders and should never have been in prison in the first place? How many will have come through the Care system without their disabilities being identified?

    Reply
    1. looked_after_child

      ….being bought and sold by campanies who have no interest in their Care while policymakers with responsibilities to them put in place artificial mechanism after mechanism to ensure no blame ‘sticks’?

      Reply
  47. looked_after_child

    more of the effect of an evangelical belief in small government with no interest in social justice ( kids and women in prison don’t vote I’d guess)

    Reply
    1. HelenSparkles

      With or without a neurological disorder, most of the prison population shouldn’t be there because they are vulnerable in one way or another, and prisons are full of traumatised adults. I also don’t think prisons should be privatised, the prison union was very strong, and the government wanted to break them is my view (although only from what I know)., Law and order is a popular vote winner, put the bad people away so bad stuff doesn’t happen, those people sometimes get the right intervention in prisons but often not and it is impossible for short sentences – so the shoplifter who has offended numerous enough times to be incarcerated. I don’t know how those people are assessed, but i would hazard any prison governor would be able to tell you (FOI request) how many have psychological/neurological issues. The care population is known about and you should be able to find stats on that.

      Reply
  48. looked_after_child

    As for breaking the unions or ‘power bases’ that hold different views and values.. that is the approach taken with Local Government by the Thatcher Govt, in the 1980s..hence the sale of County Hall in London and the break up of the GLC and the creation of the London Borough system where Wandsworth and Westminster ‘showcased’ the new model of Local Government. Both are very non-typical and Westminster particularly crossed many lines they did’ent really see the need for. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Porter )

    When they had totally smashed any opposition at the Borough level – the mayoral system was brought in to take control of policing say across the Boroughs as it manifestly bonkers not to have London-wide policies.
    I know a little bit about Social Housing and the mechanisms used there too including bailing out the private housing builders when the market crashed in the 1990’s. Housing Associations were buying blocks of flats in outer London boroughs literally having seen them from a car on the road outside. This was with public money available in grants to the HAs but not to local authorities who were starved of cash and told to sell off they stock. Many of these private market estates bought by the HAs needed considerable investment ten years later to prevent them becoming ghettos as they had no pavements or play areas etc. Many had no paths linking them to public facilities if it would have meant cutting through privately owned estates.

    These are policies built around hiding the failure of previous policies without actually asking the key questions about what was wrong with the original policy and what needs to shift inside policymakers heads…

    Reply
    1. Angelo Granda

      Thanks to Looked after child and Helen for this discussion about prisons.
      In answer to this question from Helen.
      QUOTE: The other question might be why does anyone think it is right that those people are given a prison sentence? : UNQUOTE

      When we have private companies making huge profits out of prisons , the more prisoners the better for them and corrupt practices are bound to arise. I have explained before how it is an unavoidable fact of life when it comes to public funding and expenditure. It can be anticipated that there shall be increasing numbers of innocent citizens sent to gaol and , in the case of guilty ones, many will be sent there when therapies and more suitable orders like probation would suffice and be more humane. So the emphasis is on the lawyers and judges to ensure cases are conducted correctly. That is the only protection citizens have. Fortunately , the Criminal Courts are much, much stricter about correct procedure CURRENTLY and also long sentences cannot be dished out unless there has been a hearing during which guilt or innocence has been decided by a jury.
      However justice for the guilty will depend on the Judiciary. We will have to ensure that cases are conducted correctly by professionals e.g. we will have to impose sentences taking into account facts alone and if , as is quite normal, a Judge takes antecedents into account we must ensure investigations are carried out with impartiality. Only real previous convictions to be included and no out-of-date ones spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. All wrong information must be excluded and permanently deleted from the records ,of course, not deliberately left and allowed to fester as happens in the CP system. That would be lunacy!
      Citizens will count it unthinkable that any serious sanction such as long-term imprisonment, a death sentence or the permanent liquidation of an offender’s family shall be ordered by a Magistrate or a Civil Court without a full ,impartial ( that means no gender bias or any other type) hearing in a Crown Court with a jury. Indeed Article 8 (ECHR) relating to proportionality stipulates a fully proportionate ,fair hearing. Such severe sanctions impose degradation not only upon the offender but upon the offender’s family which ,in my opinion , may sometimes lead to contraventions of Article 3 (ECHR). This forbids degradation ( and mental torture) absolutely unless it has been decided lawfully and there is a pressing social need.
      Concerns have been expressed previously on this resource that , in order to maintain a good supply of prisoners in the future in accordance with the growth requirements essential to private companies running the prisons, the low standards of ‘proof’ which pertain to Civil ( Family Proceedings) Courts presently may be adapted for use within the criminal system. God forbid that severe sanctions will be prescribed upon citizens without an impartial hearing before a jury and without full , procedural correctness.
      Whether the relatively recent Best evidence interviews , video interviews etc. are iffy remains to be seen. They seem okay to me but only when carried out absolutely in accordance with the rules laid down . Already, cases have been thrown out because professionals have offended against procedures.
      Certainly it can be said that when it comes to serious sanctions, Civil Court protocols are totally unsuitable being disproportionate and juries are essential also the automatic right to appeal against unlawful and over -enthusiastic sentencing.

      Reply
  49. Sat

    I have read some of the comments above. I have found myself in an abusive relationship for eight years. It started when i got married and got pregnant. My ex threw me out at 8 weeks oregnant and accused me of affairs child not being his. He told me if i moved back to my parents and gave birth he didnt want to know and turned up after eight weeks.
    To cut along story short we divorced which he inituated and had next to nothing to do with ne or my son. We began seeing each other again for five years and things got worse. He took me to court started playing games and got access and taking my son at two 200 miles away to where he lived. He used his money and controlling behaviour to say he was part of our lives. I woukd be slagged off on the door step in public and constantly be told that he was the best thing that hapoebed to me. A court order was granted as i eventually gave in not wanting to loose my only child. He would constantly tell me after abusive fights why woukd i want to give it up. I overdosed two years ago. And he supported me thinking he was genuine i tried yet again believing his way of thinking was best for the family. He woukd constantky put oressure on about moving back with him but something would always trigger the abuse. He grabbed me around the throat twice in six months. Infront of my son and when he was nesr by. I kept doubting myself and felt isolated from everyone. He didnt like my friends told me i had none and blamed me and my family for everything. He threatened me and i believe him that he woukd hurt me wven now . He grabbed me around the tjroat after a my sons friend and his dad came to my house for a play date. I had been accused of everything you could think of
    Yet two children were playing in the house and i was chatting to the other dad. His son telling exactly that wasnt enough he threaten me amd i ended up in a refuge. He harrassed my family on my mothers funeral and called police to tell them im sucidial.
    The social worker told me no one would take my son. I got told i needed pictures of my ex in the house and i shouldnt cry.
    I had been a single parent and come out of a refuge and i was told i needed to sing the praises of man who was abusive.
    On meeting the ex she said he had a big house floor space and i should be able to take my son to school and told me i wasnt going through dv in her sec7 report.
    I have had my son removed and placed witj his dad
    He abuses me on ever handover and shouts down the phone. Says he wouldnt have had poor attendance in mirsery if my son lived with him. Even after every arguement he would take my son tell me he didnt need to go to nursery and write under duress to give him extra contact.
    My ex wont provide any info about school or even pic up the phone for me to speak to my son. My appeal gotndismissed . All i know is the social worker moved a little boy away 200 miles and told me tjat it should be done asap as i would stop contact. Ex convinced he would never do such a thing even told them he would buy me a house near by to maintain the bond.
    Can social workers not see through a staged interview?
    This social worker couldnt even get facts right follow procedure and made thedecision to send my son to live with someone who is an abuser.
    I have reported things to gp police and xhildren services . Im told no evidence and he denies everything. I lost my son because i went for help.
    Now i have ao much incertainty about whats happeneing and concerns about thewell being of a 5 year old. How do i get my son back ? Help someone please .
    Struggling mum

    Reply
    1. Sam

      Firstly you are not alone , over 14% of Fathers are single parents, some will be for genuine reasons , but considerable numbers of others have played the system to further abuse the partner who dared to leave them. There are organisations that help in the resources section of this website.
      You are entitled as someone who has parental responsibilty to know about your child’s education, unless ordered otherwise by a court.
      Look after yourself, in order to fight back you need to build your self esteem . if you have not already done so attend the http://www.freedomprogramme.co.uk/
      At every hand over and for every phone call with your ex have your mobile voice recording.
      Good luck

      Reply
  50. Angelo Granda

    Dear Sat, First of all, it is best you know that you are not alone. There are countless Mums who describe exactly the same kind of thing you do. A big problem is the child-protection system itself; correct practice guidelines are seldom followed by professionals. Inevitably, misinformed ,wildly wrong appraisals are made because of it and innocent children suffer for it. Just this morning ,I heard on the radio about a little girl who was killed after being placed wrongly with an abusive parent.
    Once you realise you are not the only one, things will get easier. Your problems are TOO MASSIVE to face alone. You need an independent advocate to advise you and intervene in meetings on your behalf.

    Follow this link and the nice lady might be able to put you in touch with Annie, who organises an advocacy service .
    https://dvhurts.blogspot.ie/

    You can also try the Family Rights Group (FRG) website which you can access via Google. They have a forum where you can discuss your individual case with other Mums and a free helpline.
    Hope this information is of some use. Remember, don’t think of facing it alone. No-one can. You need an experienced advocate. In actual fact, the Social; Worker should have made it clear to you at the beginning and helped you contact one. Please tell us whether she did or not?

    Reply
  51. mesh

    hi all how can I report a man who abusi woman n kids this girl she’s scard to open a case so I wanna do it for her this guy his been doing it for some time now so guys I need your help to report it anonymously

    Reply
  52. Pingback: PRACTICE DIRECTION 12J – CHILD ARRANGEMENTS AND CONTACT ORDERS: DOMESTIC ABUSE AND HARM | Child Protection Resource

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