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childs wishes not addressed, what next!

  • GD1
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12 Jul 12 #342828 by GD1
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Brief history. Previous domestic abuse and child suffers anxieties having had some intervention with CAHMS. Had once a fortnight contact, no over nights or holidays etc per court order. Contact had it''s issues which constantly increased anxieties despite trying to address them with AP. After further incident which sent anxieties sky high there has been no contact(six months ago)and my child refuses to have contact until difficulties addressed. I have attempted to get AP to a mediator(which child wants)who will try to resolve issues with AP and child in hope AP can learn to understand and accept anxiety issues. AP refuses despite numerous requests. School have provided some assistance however learnt today that they are either telling him incorrect information as to what they have done or he is lying. However it makes it look like I''m lying about what help school have given but if he went into mediation with child he could get confirmation. He now insists I refer to CAMHS for them to assist with mediation?? and threatens court. I don''t believe this is in best interest of child hence my search for a appropriate mediator who would be suitable to help. The last few months have seen massive improvement with anxieties and even got child to face some :-)which has been fab. As he doubts everything I say and doesn''t accept difficulties I think it''s important that child can voice wishes and feelings which child feels can''t do on own. I constantly offer to arrange contact but child will not go. Child is 9. I am not sure what CAMHS could offer at the moment as we apply everything they suggested and as I have said the last few months I have seen big progress. I wonder if child has worried less which has reduced anxiety level with other difficulties to a level child has been able to manage them?? So my question is what next. Should I just let AP apply to court again and request judge considers mediation for AP and child??

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12 Jul 12 #342842 by zonked
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It seems to me that if CAHMS are involved it is perfectly reasonable for the dad to expect them to play a role in working with him and his child. Who else would be better placed? Why exactly is that not in the best interests of the child?

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12 Jul 12 #342845 by GD1
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I meant court wasn''t in best interest of child. CAMHS are not currently involved but from my experience with them they assist with the mental health issue with the child in this case anxiety and managing it. Do they get involved with mediation between parents and contact?? I had obtained advice from professionals on this hence me researching and finding a professional mediator who has appropriate experience in these difficulties.

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12 Jul 12 #342854 by zonked
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Well...I can only give you my view and hope it doesn''t offend.

The attachment between your dtr and her father does not appear to be there. Which is bad, for her. May have life long consequences. The reasons why that attachment has gone could be many; including yourself directly or indirectly polarising your dtr. Regardless of the cause, reparing the relationship between father and child seems to be the priority. Saying your ''child wishes [are] not addressed...'' misses the point; as there is a gap between those "wishes" and her welfare needs.

Added to this is your assertion that contact is stopped as a result of your dtr''s own actions. I suggest this multiplies the potential future damage to her in that in future years she has to carry the burden of that "decision".

I think CAHMS could well play a constructive role. I don''t see why the father would need a court order to find out.

May I ask, what do you want? In your post you purport to support contact; by extension you accept a belief that no contact is harmful. So, why continue with the present status qou. It''s clear that some form of professional intervention is needed.

The proposal that father and dtr should use a profesional mediator is not child centered. She is 9. She needs to be sheltered from conflict.

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13 Jul 12 #342970 by GD1
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I do understand your view zonked and maybe you have suffered some parent alienation as you suggest but I wouldn''t put myself into that category.I agree that if a child isn''t encouraged or allowed to have contact or relationships with both parents it can often affect them as adults. I don''t want to revisit what my family went through whilst in an abusive relationship but that damage often can dictate the future and my children have clearly been affected and continue to be affected by history. I have encouraged and maintained all contact for a number of years(any missed contact has been down to AP)and attempted to constantly manage the difficulties, gaining help with this. Despite informing AP of these difficulties (many times with no response or interest)and my child attempting to raise them with AP nothing has improved. Whether the managing has just got too much for child I don''t know but despite lots of reassurance from myself and 3rd parties the anxieties are "very real" to the child. Contact has stopped not through my choice but through the fact the only way I would currently get child there would be by causing massive distress(tried and tested). This is not just a case of I don''t want to go to school. . you''ll be fine when you get there. I had professional advise when this happened and I was advised dragging a child to contact when they are clearly deeply distressed could be more damaging. So it''s a very difficult position hence after much advice seeking a mediator. It was in an attempt to address with AP the difficulties the child has, AP to start to acknowledge them, assist AP with how he could help assist with anxieties and ultimately re-establish contact so that it can be comfortable for child as well as progress contact. This is impossible to achieve whilst AP doesn''t acknowledge or assist so how does it move forward! The reason for AP and child having the mediator was because AP WILL NOT acknowledge the issues I bring forward and it was hoped that acknowledgement would be accepted if child was bringing them forward however whoever was involved(even CAMHS) will put pressure on child. Not great for child but if it achieved a result then in the long term it would be worth it.This is not much different to what CAFCASS do in a wishes and feelings request. Seeing AP results in contact but at unreasonable levels of anxiety that the child obviously cannot manage, no contact means possibly life long consequences but a massively improved anxiety level?

  • Fiona
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13 Jul 12 #343002 by Fiona
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Children''s views need to be seen in light of the background and all the family circumstances.

IF a child doesn''t want to go to school because they don''t feel like it or because they are worried about not having done their homework a sensible parent would insist they went. However, if a child is being constantly bullied, attempts to resolve the issue with the school have failed and the child is depressed insisting a child goes to school can have disastrous results.

Not all resistance to contact with a separated parent is alienation. There are children whose resistance is based on real past events they can describe. Children who witness abuse may become anxious or show other signs of post traumatic stress and need psychological treatment. In this case it''s unlikely that mediation or any direct contact is in the interests of the child unless there is substantial change in the behaviour of the contact parent.

Has there been a finding of fact hearing? If there is evidence of abuse and it is as you say a court may well make no order for direct contact until your ex takes some responsibility for the consequences of his actions and completes a DV perpetrators programme or anger management.

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13 Jul 12 #343028 by GD1
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Hi Fiona. A two year case was finalised 3years ago with contact 7hours a fortnight through a 3rd party to prevent contact being used for an avenue to continue abuse. This has allowed handover to be done in a safe and comfortable environment which works well. I have maintained contact despite it being like a managing game with the anxieties up and down. It shouldn''t have really got to stage it got to with child but I have always been very aware of breaching court order. I have attempted to raise childs anxieties with AP numerous times in hope AP can change behaviour to assist but falls on deaf ears. I feel very stuck in the middle with child unable to move forward without some intervention to help with resuming contact plus addressing issues once and for all and AP refusing to co-operate and not acknowledging anxieties. It would be as you say a change in behaviour and a little more consideration to the childs thoughts, worries and anxieties and what triggers anxiety to increase etc. This is nothing that I am not doing myself. I have taken on board all assistance given through CAMHS etc. and continue to take professional advice but I feel I have come to a dead end. I promised child I would try my hardest to get matters resolved and I feel like I have let down.

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