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 www.mumsnet.co.uk
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.