I have shared residence of my 9yr old daughter,
I''ve been in and out of the courts for over 7yrs now fighting to secure our relationship.
there has been a history of broken court orders etc and I made some complaints about physical abuse by the mother on our daughter, all were logged by social services as "unfounded allegations by father" and never investigated properly.
well now my daughter is old enough and brave enough to make reports herself.
two weeks ago she went to school and told her teacher that her mum slapped her very hard across the face a number of times, dug a comb into her head and told her she should f off to her dads house.
This was the second report my daughter made.
I picked her up from school that day and got a call from a social worker tellimg me to hang on to her untill further notice as her mother is going to be interviewed by police (she has missed two appointments with police since then).
I have my daughter for the first half of the school holidays and now I''m thinking I should just keep her for good.
Her mother is currently not allowed to see her or speak to her and my daughter wants to stay with me full time.
I was in court about 3mths ago for an increase in contact, which I gained and am due back again for a review in september.
Social services say they may make an application before then irrispective of the outcome of the police enquiries.
Any advice would be appreciated.
I self represent.
Hi Tom, I don''t have much in the way of answers but just wanted to flag up some general issues.
1. A slap in itself is not unlawful, provided it does not leave more than a passing mark. If it leaves a lasting mark then your into the catorgory of assualt. Physical chasticement with an implement is seen as unlawful, this would include a comb. It is quite possible for a slap to be seen as ''abusive'' by ss but not unlawful by the police.
2. Neither the police or ss have the power, on their say so alone, to prevent a parent from seeing their child or to revoke residence or contact orders. The police might decide to apply for an emergency protection order, ss might apply for an interim care order - both agencies would need to follow a judicial route if they do not want mum to parent the child.
3. I think that to keep your dtr without a legal basis to do so, means that potentially your dtr is taken from your home under duress causing her increased stress. That said, a return home may place her in danger and might be seen as your failure to protect her.
4. I therfore think you need to establish if there are any public law proceedings (if so, you would be entitled to non means tested legal aid)if not, apply for an interim residence order. You are probably looking at a finding of fact hearing and S37 report
I have to say I completely agree with zonked. I wouldn''t make any quick decisions on this without some back up. You''re in quite a strong position right now (thanks to all your own hard work) and I would go to some lengths to ensure you remain so.
Do what you can, as zonked suggests, and try to find out what support you would get in holding on to her before making that decision. If there is no support, you will have to consider your position then and letting her go home but continuing to monitor the situation may be your best course.
Having PR means you have a duty to protect children from harm and welfare concerns may justify not complying with a court order. But I agree with Zonked you should keep above board and apply for interim residence. If I remember correctly you''ve been through it all before so you know the ropes.
many thanks for your replies,
Maybe I should have mentioned that my daughter is currently the subject of a child protection order due to previous phisical and emotional abuse, and her mother recently signed an undertaking that she would not phisically chastise our daughter, this was done at a core group meeting.
The social worker definately told me to keep my daughter until further notice.
What I am contemplating is telling the mother that I do not intend to return my daughter after the school holidays and that she must now go back to court.
In this event the court would most likely ask for an SS section 7 report (I would ask for a section 37 report) and I am sure the report would reccommend full residence for me,
I would then ask that any future contact with the mother be held under supervision.
My daughter is absolutely adamant that she does not want to return to live with her mother or spend weekends with her.
Last week the social worker wanted to set up a half hour supervised meeting between my daughter and her mother but my daughter point blank refused, despite my best attempts to encourage her to do so.
I would like to say that the ideal situation for me is shared residence.
but the mother is just too abusive our daughter.
For instance my daughter is not allowed under any circumstance to mention me at her mothers home, she is not allowed to take anything between homes, and is told that if she loves me then her mother does not love her.
whenever she does anything wrong she is told "you''re just like your Dad" or that it''s the "white part of her" which is nasty or stupid and ugly (she''s mixed race b/w).
for those who remember me here''s an undate,
After the abuse incident in july I went to the court on the following Monday and gained an emergency interim residence order.
I returned to the court for a full hearing on 17th december and asked that the interim order be made permanent.
the social services report supported my case and the order was made.
The report stated that since my daughter had come to live with me she presented as a completely changed child, happy, confident and doing much better in school etc:
contact for the mother was ordered only on reccommendation of social services or at my descretion, meaning for instance that if we bumped into the mother in the street or at a social gathering then I could if I decided allow her to speak to our daughter.
After 7yrs of pain and suffering at the hands of this sad excuse of a mother my daughter and I are very happy indeed.
The mother was given weekend telephone contact but after not bothering to call on a few occasions my daughter has made the decision that she no longer wants any contact with her mother despite me trying my best to persuade her to.
she has not seen her mother since 3rd july other than once in the street and when dropping off a birthday card to her mum.
I am not very happy that I am now raising a child who does not have a mother in her life but we are making the best of the situation and I have more than enough love for my daughter to compensate.
To those who believed in me and supported me I wish to express my sincere thanks.
if it wasn''t for the posters on this site and others like it my 7yr battle to continue to be a loving father to my daughter would have been an impossible one.
To those struggling of facing the horrendous battle of the family courts I wish you the very best of luck.
The best advie I have ever recieved I pass on to you now.
"Never ever give up, you owe it to your child/ren to fight on no matter how low you feel, eventually and especially if you have truth on your side you will win through and again enjoy the love and presence of your children"