13th April 2021 at 11:08 pm #124759
I was in an abusive relationship for a number of years and have a child with my ex. He was emotionally abusive, aggressive and there were a handful of occasions of moderate physical abuse.
I have a non-molestation order so he cannot contact me. But this does not extend to my child. He has not seen our child for a very long time but has suddenly started to take an interest and I fear for my child’s safety in his care.
How do you cope with having to let your children go with your ex? Or how can you make people in authority who make the decisions on your child’s life see that the father is not going to be a good influence or benefit in their life and could potentially harm them? I am living in fear of what he will do to my child and don’t know how I can live like this for years to come.
14th April 2021 at 2:16 am #124763
Talk to women’s aid. Your local branch can support and reassure you. Build a support network around you. Keep a journal of his behaviour etc. Keep all evidence. Often these men just say they want contact to terrorise the mother so try not to waste energy worrying about threats etc. Only deal with what’s in front of you. Talk to your GP and log your real fears for the safety and well-being of your child. Keep in touch with their school and teacher. Talk to your solicitor if you have one about getting your child added to the non mol. Make sure you’re the legal resident parent so he cannot simply take the child as both parents have that right until you’re the resident parent. Most solicitors offer free legal advice. It obviously wouldn’t be in a child’s best interests to suddenly have contact with someone who is basically a stranger to them. Try not to minimise his abuse. As victims we tend to do this. Be strong and firm about it. Instead of saying moderate physical abuse. He was a physically abusive man. If he wants to see his child there’s a legal process he has to go through and let’s see if he can be bothered or if he’s just throwing words around. I’d recommend therapy if you haven’t already. It can help with anxiety. Mindfulness is good too x
14th April 2021 at 2:02 pm #124777ISOPeaceParticipant
As KIP said, get some legal advice. My understanding is that contact with children falls into 2 categories: one where unsupervised contact is considered to risky for the child and one where it isn’t. If you agree to any unsupervised contact, the courts would consider that to be you saying that you think unsupervised contact is safe and it is difficult to restrict the amount of time he spends with your child. Having said that, given that there hasn’t been contact for some time, I think it’s very unlikely that he would be granted any significant amount of time. If unsupervised contact is not considered safe then you have contact centres or perhaps he only has contact when a named person is also present.
I don’t know what you would need to do to prove that your child isn’t safe with him, but a solicitor can advise on that. I’m sure the non-molestation order and that fact that he’s chosen to not have contact for a long time will work in your favour. xxxx
14th April 2021 at 10:21 pm #124794
Thank you both for your responses.
I have kept a log of his behaviour but no one seems to care. He is not allowed to contact me now, so that abuse has stopped but we are (detail removed by moderator). He does have indirect contact (detail removed by moderator) and even that is too much for me. He will sometimes emotionally abuse my child during the calls and I have to cut it off and he does have digs at me occasionally. (detail removed by moderator)
Apparently you have to wait until some harm comes to them before anything will be done. From his past behaviour and his hatred of me, I worry that he will harm our child intentionally to get at me or if he ever was allowed access, he would kidnap my child.
I have spoken to Women’s aid and had a case worker, but that finished recently.
I do have a solicitor, but this is stressing me out due to the cost and every time I send a one sentence email it costs me. My estimated costs are (detail removed by moderator) and because of this, it means my child is losing out on this money. (detail removed by moderator) But it seems no matter what he does, I am the one that suffers. (detail removed by moderator) And feel very alone 🙁
15th April 2021 at 1:26 am #124797
Contact your local MP. And shout loud. Mine was really helpful. There is research on patterns of behaviour in abusive men. Get back in touch with women’s aid. The NSPCC. Barnardos. Get the research for your solicitor. Talk to your child’s GP and think about an assessment from a child psychologist on the impact of his emotional abuse. Can you record the contact he has with his child. The emotional abuse and the digs? Good evidence. Keep a journal of,your child’s behaviour too. Warrants for his arrest in another country. Financially abusing you by taking you to court. Emotionally abusing the child to hurt the mother. A great predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour so keep repeating that whenever you can. Abusers don’t change. Have you applied for legal aid. Depending on what country you’re in of there’s a history of domestic abuse you may well qualify on this account. Gather that support network x can you have a third party facilitate the call with him and your child. If he knows he cant get at you this way it won’t be as much fun for him. Get a third party to facilitate it and record it.
15th April 2021 at 12:47 pm #124812ISOPeaceParticipant
Sounds like you know a fair bit about the legal side. I know this isn’t a magic solution but did you know about the “landmark case” that recently went through the court of appeal? I have no legal training so I can only tell you what I’ve read about it, but apparently it could mean changes to how coercive control is taken into account for child contact decisions. From what I gather, the previous approach was that once you’re separated the abuse will stop, because you no longer live together, so it’s not relevant for the safety of the child. But after this Court of Appeal ruling, past abuse can be used as an indicator of future behaviour in the new environment. I couldn’t find a short article that summarised things, but below is an extract from an article and link to the original article. Maybe your legal advice will change in light of this. I hope it’s as helpful as it looks like it should be. Keeping my fingers crossed for you. xxxxx
Controlling and Coercive Behaviour
Perhaps the most important part of the judgment relates to the approach of the Courts to controlling and coercive behaviour allegations. The Court observed that the vast majority of domestic abuse cases were underpinned by coercive and controlling behaviour. It is likely, therefore, to be central to the Court’s exercise in most domestic abuse cases. Even where there was violence it was likely to be part of a pattern of intimidation and control.
Importantly, just as the antiquated approach from the 1970s and 1980s of looking at ‘violence’ as something between the adults had rightly been left behind, so too should the approach of viewing coercive and controlling behaviour as incidents that are between the adults and ‘in the past’ and therefore irrelevant.
That the parties are separated and therefore not in a position where physical or sexual violence can be perpetrated does not address the underlying patterns of behaviour that are the foundation of domestic abuse. The Court observed that the patterns and attitudes that lead to abusive behaviour are likely to find a different outlet if not addressed and therefore to pose a risk, even if the route to a repetition of the past behaviour is closed off by separation or injunctions. A judge who fails to consider the issue of coercive and controlling behaviour is therefore likely to fall into error and expose themselves to an appeal.
19th April 2021 at 11:20 pm #124947
Again thank you both. You seem to be very knowledgeable and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.
KIP, can I ask how you approached your local MP and how they were helpful? I would not know where to start with asking for help or what he might be able to help with.
ISOPeace, this looks really interesting. I haven’t been able to find what case/cases this relates to. Do you have any more detail? Apologies if I have missed it from what you have sent.
20th April 2021 at 6:21 am #124948
Hi, I have approached my MP for a few things. We didn’t have specialist domestic abuse counselling in my area. We do now. Wrote to the justice minister on my behalf who took an interest and got the department involved to engage with me. They have staff so ring his office and explain your case. Ask for him to champion your case and offer support. He will have access to lots of different agencies and charities. What’s happening to you is shocking and at the moment domestic abuse is high profile. You need a support network and they can be a big part of it.
21st April 2021 at 9:47 am #124995Living WarriorParticipant
What you need is a prohibited steps order. It names you as legal guardian and states the child live with you.
It also stops him from taking child from care givers you trust.. eg family. Friends. School.
He has no rights to take them.
He can appose this, and it will go to court. Usually atm its remote calls or video hearings.
They will get CAFCASS involved. They will talk to you and him seperate. And then the child. And they will eventually come to an agreement to whether or not contact should be allowed and what kind.
You have more of a case if you don’t allow contact and can log incidents that state why this is not good for child.
Whether he is abusive on contact days, during collection and drop off.. or unreliable. Whatever… you need a reason to stop contact if it is going on.
If he has not had contact for a while.. then I would state that this is confusing for the child. Or something along those lines.. if you are willing for contact but unsure of safety aspects state this..
Do not change ur mind mid case.. talk to your solicitor. They will have a good understanding of ur circumstances and what you can state. And the proof.
I hope this helps.
23rd April 2021 at 9:43 am #125108
Thank you Living Warrior
We are already in the court process and Cafcass are involved.
From your experience did Cafcass speak to your child without you present? I was told that they would come and observe my child with me there. Now she has changed the goalposts and wants to go to the nursery. I don’t want this. My child is too young for this.
23rd April 2021 at 12:35 pm #125123Living WarriorParticipant
i have an older child who chose to talk to my worker alone, which i was fine with.. i had spoken to her previous about the views of the children and how to help make it easier for them to talk to a stranger.
My youngest is (detail removed by Moderator), and refuses to see his dad or even speak to him. he curls up in a ball under a blanket when he used to have phone contact.
my cafcass worker saw my children at school, she allowed me to be in the school incase they got upset and asked my children if they were ok to talk without me, as both were nervous.(obviously (detail removed by Moderator) is too young for this) but i was allowed to sit in the room with my youngest because he had really bad anxiety and it was a way of calming him down. i wasnt allowed to touch him or anything (incase i squeezed his hand or something in response to questions) but my presence helped.
i was told before hand that i could only be in the room if i strictly agreed that i would no persuade him 1 way of another, and let my child say what he wanted. i had to sit near him, but not to touch.
my officer kept a close eye on me the whole time to make sure i wasnt encouraging him to say stuff with eye contact etc. (which tbh i was fine with)
I understand they have a job to do ( i also understand there are good and bad experiences too) but mine so far have been good, my child wouldnt talk to her.. she phased the question many different ways.. and each time his body language was of anxiety and stress, eventually i asked if i could speak.
again she warned me of what i was going to say but allowed it.
i told my child that no matter whether they wanted to see dad or not, that telling the truth was important and they wouldnt get in trouble for telling their true feelings.
cafcass reitterated what i had said, and my child started talking. Sometimes children need their mums to help them.
my thoughts on their father are my own, but i try so hard to ensure my children have their own thoughts and feelings, that they are not clouded by mine. At the end of the day as they grow they will have their own oppinions, and they could end up resenting me, so i try and stay neutral. As long as dad can have a positive, safe and happy relationship then i see no problem. i will fight tooth and nail for them if this is not the case though 🙂
i contacted my worker, asked how things will be spoke about, i showed my concern for my childrens emotional and mental health, and explained, they are a stranger, asking about a parent. children dont like to get parents into trouble, no matter what age they are, its scary.
As long as they can see that what you are doing is in the best interests of the child then they really cant complain. They see many men and women use children to hurt or intimidate their ex’s. So i completely understand why they come across sometimes as “mean” or “uncaring”.
If they will not allow u in the room, ask if you can wait outside incase they get upset and ask if a nursery staff member who your child knows can go in and be the support 🙂
i hope this helps 🙂
29th April 2021 at 1:58 pm #125336OceanParticipant
I’m heartbroken for you as I know the feeling. Not being able to deal with the stress and worry of putting your child in danger with their father.
In my situation. Cafcass and the social workers supported my ex. They believed his lies over my truth. To the point that even when my children shared really concerning things about their time with their father, it was ignored by the social worker. The social worker felt I had made my children say things.
(detail removed by moderator)
In my situation my solicitor was able to apply for legal aid for me after the non molestation order was granted.
I hope the best for you and your beloved child. May you be believed, and protection granted before harm happens xx
30th April 2021 at 1:44 pm #125376
Thank you Ocean.
Cafcass believe everything my ex is saying and fully support him. She thinks I am overreacting and will not listen to a word I say nor does she read anything properly that I have written. She is even making up lies as well.
Unfortunately I cannot get legal aid.
She has just spoken with my child and asked leading questions to get the answers she wanted.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.