Advice from birth parents

In this post, a number of birth parents share their views on how they made it through the stress of a child protection investigation and offer insights and advice to those in a similar position. Most of the contributors to this section have shared their stories on parenting forums such as

Relationships with Social Workers

It IS hard to see the wood for the trees, and I think one thing that Social Workers don’t seem to realise is that when you add in the stress of a CIN [Child in Need] case, where you are at risk of losing your DC’s, it puts so much added pressure on a parent that is already under pressure and a victim of DV [Domestic Violence] too, and often EA [Emotional Abuse] that they haven’t yet realised, that it becomes almost impossible for the parent to stop being fearful and stressed for ling enough to see the truth of their situation. I DO feel that a gentler approach from SS would actually in the majority of cases like the OP’s resolve the CIN concerns much faster.”

Need for clear communication about what is meant by ‘abuse’ and why it is harmful

Clearly setting out what constitutes EA [Emotional Abuse} and DV  [Domestic Violence] for the parent would open their eyes to things that they have often been minimising. With examples of each thing that can constitute abuse – including financial. Also stating clearly about the long term effects on a child of living in a DV situation, with possible issues it can cause for the children – NOT everyone knows this, it’s NOT taught about in schools.

Ask them to look at the list, and to answer it honestly, while the SW isn’t present, and going back for a second session with them, being clear about what they need done would also help.

It isn’t easy, as a parent who still loves their partner, to truly see an abusive situation for what it is. And it’s even less easy to know without being told, what you are meant to do to fix it.

It’s very easy for me now, as a 30-something adult, who has BEEN in a previous abusive relationship, to see what you are meant to do.

As a teenage parent, or a young parent, who has no experience of this, how in the name of hell are you meant to GUESS what you are meant to do??!!

And this is, I feel, where SS goes wrong, and stops putting the DC’s first. If SS were clear right from the beginning with handouts that explained everything that constitutes abuse, with examples, it would be far easier to spot when you are being abused. If they also gave clear directions on what is expected in that situation to protect the DC’s, many more DC’s would be protected from living in an environment with DV MUCH FASTER.

And parents who are in an abusive relationship would not feel so confused, fearful, and would be far less ‘obstructive’ in many cases, towards the SW’s attempts at helping.

It’s not always possible to find the time for navel gazing personal reflection to attempt to work out that you are in an abusive relationship andthat you need to get out of it pdq when you are actually coping with being in an abusive relationship, dealing with the day-to-day stuff that comes with having DC’s, AND are fearful of losing your children and not knowing why or how to fix it!

I think that a clearer picture from SS would actually PROTECT far more DC’s from living in a situation with abuse present.

7 thoughts on “Advice from birth parents

  1. Matt Harding

    Maybe you could give helpful tips such as fully co-operate with the social worker and indicate that all of your interactions will be taped as to avoid confusion. Also offer to make copies for their own review. This way even if your case gets backlogged there will be accounts of what transpired.

    1. phillimoresarah

      We are certainly going to expand on the information available here, as well as provide further links to other useful resources – I am not so sure it is wise to tape everything because of the impression you may give, but we would welcome other’s views.

  2. MerlinC

    Emotional abuse is under Domestic Violence laws (in Scotland is part of DA, Domestic Abuse) and it is not separated, as wrongly assumed. Unfortunately many people relate ‘violence’ to physical assault but for the law it is not.
    Psychological and emotional violence affect children on a longterm period of time and I guess this is what is meant by ‘risk of emotional harm/abuse’.

    I can’t contribute much to this section because I am not a parent but I am a child abuse survivor, so if you need any help or suggestion in that field, I am happy to give my contribution 🙂

    The biggest association offering support for DV is Women’s Aid, in case the abused is a man I would advise Victim Support as well as the Samaritans.

  3. phillimoresarah Post author

    MerlinC, it would be great if you could write something about your experiences as a survivor of child abuse; It could help open other’s eyes as to what is meant by ‘abuse’ and the impact it can have on a child.

  4. Whitershadeofpale


    I think the be alert section that’s now up gives a good overview of the best way to behave if involved with social workers.

  5. Bob

    Presently I’ve involved child services in our family issues. My partner was abusive towards me majority of the times it was emotional abuse, occasionally physical (of which a police caution has been issued) .

    My partner has already admitted that in the past she would call the children names, pinch them when they don’t follow her wishes, her mother use to threaten the children with fire for not obeying her wishes. Of late the children have begun using the same behaviour on each other. I have raised all these issues in writing, but their (child services) response was that I must raised my concerns in the core parenting group meetings only.

    All thats happened is that an abusers belief has been re-enforced, the children have not been told outside of myself that what happened in the past is paramount wrong. I feel like a victim who is continually being punished for allowing this to happen.

    “Husband abuse should not be viewed as merely the opposite side of the coin to wife abuse. Both are part of the same problem, which should be described as one _person_ abusing another _person_. The problem must be faced and dealt with not in terms of sex but in terms of humanity”

  6. Sarah Phillimore Post author

    I agree that no human being should abuse another, either emotionally or physically. If you think children’s services are not dealing with your concerns properly or at all, have you considered making a formal complaint?

Comments are closed.