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Help me please

  • Aquaman
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10 May 10 #203141 by Aquaman
Topic started by Aquaman
My children aged 3 and 5 live with their mother. When we divorced the first thing my ex did was refuse to let me see our children, now after a court order I see them for 6 hours every other weekend. The problem is that my ex is very very controling and is refusing to let me see the children more often or for overnight stays, even though my 5 year old is asking to come and stay with me.
Handover at contact is always tense, but there has never been any violence. However, 2 weeks ago my ex assaulted me in front of the children in an unprovoked sustained attack and was subsequently arrested. I had slight injuries, but nothing serious, just bruising and blood.
My question is, we are in court again in a couple of weeks and I am applying for over-night contact, but whay should I do about my ex's violence. It is escalating and I have heard the children say that mummy hits her boyfriend and that she is angry. My youngest has began to hit other children and adults, punching and slapping them in the face. Basically I am really concerned, but if I try to talk to my ex or her family about it I basically get told to mind my own business (in different words).....
What do I do..????

  • zonked
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10 May 10 #203149 by zonked
Reply from zonked
Am no expert but wanted to try and reply:

Your son witnessing tension and violence between his parents at handovers is very bad indeed and something that has to be mentioned at court. You might want to argue that from now on you use third parties to facilitate handovers...contact centers provide such a service. You could collect from the center and drop off at the mother's home, presumably you could ring the doorbell and just walk briskly away when answered.

As a parent with PR you ought to be involved with your son's school. Your son's behaviour is very concerning and you would be in your rights to ask the school what they intend to do about it, they have legal duties in respect to child welfare. Tread carefully, try to build working relationship with them, but be clear that there has to be some form of plan in place to respond to your son’s needs. In short, a third party contacting social services (with you appearing uninvolved) is better than you trying to bang your head against a brick wall trying to get your son support. The same line would go for the GP – has your son had any recent medical or hospital issues?

An issue to consider, and one way over my head, is residence. It would be worthwhile anyway talking things through with families need fathers and this ought to be something that’s also considered.

May I wish you the best of luck

  • TBagpuss
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10 May 10 #203156 by TBagpuss
Reply from TBagpuss
Witnessing domestic violence, whichever parent is the perpertrator, is very damaging for children, and children who grow up in a home where there is domestic abuse are significanly more likely to grow up and form abusive relationships, so this is a very serious issue.

I think you do need to raise it as a conern with the court. If the hearing which is coming up was a first appointment, then Cafcass would automatically do a risk assesmetn which would checking with CRB and the police - so her assault would show up - this won't happen automatically before a review hearing but if a CAFCASS report is present you can raise it.

Depending how serious the issue is, you may need to consider applying for residence.

I would also strongly endorse thesugegstion that you liaise closly with the school. Let them know what has happened and that you are worried about how the children are behaving, that they witnessed an assault on you by their mother. Ask the school to keeep you fully in the loop, and make sure they have your etails so they can contact you with any new concerns or further incidents.

It may be worth asking whether the school can refer the children for any kind of help or support whether within or outside school (In my area, Barnadoes run an art project which is fun for children, but also provided them with a safe space and contenxt to be able to talk about and/or express by drawing any fears they have - your children's school, or local social services department, may be able to advise about what is available locally)

It is also sensible to think about alternatives for handovers to avoid you and your ex having to come into contact with each other.

Again, it is worht asking the court what facilities are available. A contact centre may be useful, but often these ae only open for limited periods so may not help for longer periods of contact. In some areas, CRB checked volunteers (often affiliated with the cotnact centres) may be available soley to help with handovers, alternatively, moving the handover to a neutral place (supermarket/McDonalds carparks can be good, as they tend to be busy and often have security cameras, so the risk is lower) can help.

Volatility of handover may also be a good reason to increase contacts - if you have contact for a full wekend, for instance, collection and return can be from and to school, so you don't have to meet at all, and even if you can't jump straight to Fri-Mon suggesting Fri-Sat p.m. means you cut by half the nuber of handovers.

Is it practical for you to park ouside her home and send the childrne in or out, rather than you having to go up to the door? What about grandparents or other family memmbers - is there anyone who could help so the two of you don't meet?

Check with the police whether she has ben (or is likely to be) charged woth assault and take any paperwork relating to the assault, including a copy of your statement if you have or can get one to court with you when you go.

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