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Safeguarding issues with dad

(25 Posts)
Armelle Sun 08-Sep-19 20:09:41

Hi everyone. I’ll try to be brief. My daughter married the father of their twin boys in 2015. The boys were 6. All were devastated when he left 3 months after the wedding. He moved in with his girlfriend who has a 6 year old daughter . My daughter met a new man 3 years ago and they now have a 4 months old little girl. The x has been very difficult and refuses to speak to my daughter. He sees the boys every other weekend and once in the week. I am afraid he is emotionally abusing the twins by calling their mother etc which she never does. He bought them a phone for their birthday last week and told them she couldn't access their password and to film anything they could about their life at home. So daughter took the phone off them today and they are kicking off big time , rude to her and her partner . The x only gives her £60 a month for the twins upkeep. They came back this weekend threatening to go and live with their dad. My daughter doesn’t know how to deal with this. There must be a family court which deals with problems like that. I was very involved with their upbringing from birth and I can’t believe they are so messed up because of their dad. He is so jealous of the new man and will do anything to split them up. Worried.

Iam64 Sun 08-Sep-19 20:24:23

Are the boys aged 10 now? I understand your worries that their father may be calling their mother names but to use the term 'emotional abuse' seems rather extreme. Separated families are so common now, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of gransnet people have family members in that situation. That doesn't mean though, that it's easy for the children, whatever their age.

I'm not sure what the safeguarding issues are here, or why you believe a family court would be necessary.

If your daughter doesn't know how to 'deal with' the things the children have been saying recently, threats to live with dad etc perhaps she could get some advice. Gingerbread or another charity like Bernardos or the NSPCC may help.
Would she and her ex husband consider seeking mediation. The most important thing for the children of separated parents is that their parents get on as well as possible, manage contact issues constructively and in a child centred way.
I may have misunderstood your post but I couldn't see what you refer to as safeguarding, only conflict between separated parents and your feeling that the father isn't up to much. You may of course be quite right about that but he is the father and seems to have been reliable about contact.

M0nica Sun 08-Sep-19 20:39:48

I disagree with Iam64. If the boy's father is asking them to film their home life on a phone that there mother is barred from accessing then this most definitely is abuse and you have good reason to be worried.

I think your daughter would be wise to visit her local CAB (Citizens Advice) for advice on this matter. She might also seek advice from some group like the NSPCC. If all else fails go and see a solicitor who specialises in family law.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 20:44:05

Ok...slow down. Are the visits with your grandchildren by consent or court order? IF there is no court order and your daughter believes the children are being abused (emotionally or otherwise) she can refuse contact and it is then up to the father to go to court to be awarded contact.

It won't be pleasant but if she genuinely fears for her children she will go through with it.

The problem is the court will not find in either parent's favour just because they have different views regarding mobile phones for example. She would have to prove he is a totally unfit father.

Maintenance is also another area that they won't involve themselves with. CSA (rubbish I know) but they 'supposedly' deal with this!

Your daughter really needs to step up and stop being intimated by her ex. She has rules and her boys need to accept them. Threatening to go and live with their father is just a way of them trying to get their own way! She just needs to be the stronger one! She can bargain with them - they are only six after all - ok guys, you can have the phone for x amount of time and after that we are going to do........
whatever footie, swimming, soft play...whatever they love doing.

Instead of rising to her ex she needs to combat him. After all, just how much can six year olds film about their lives without anyone knowing?

The kids will only be messed up if the adults in their lives mess up.

Iam64 Sun 08-Sep-19 20:48:09

Monica - apologies, you're right about the mobile phone videoing. Its unacceptable.

Armelle Sun 08-Sep-19 20:52:32

The father has never accepted to go to mediation. He’s taken the boys abroad on holiday during term time without informing her. He’s refused to give them back one weekend and reported her to social services for drug abuse. She is a police woman but after investigation everything was proof it was false and she got the children back. That is only what I remember from the top of my head. But the man will not communicate with her at all just saying the boys will go and live with him.

Armelle Sun 08-Sep-19 20:55:58

They are 10 actually and yes you are right. She should be the boss

Armelle Sun 08-Sep-19 20:58:33

There is a court order in place. He lives 40 minutes away and she is meant to take them to his every other weekend . She refused to do that since he’s dropped her money to £60 a month.

M0nica Sun 08-Sep-19 21:00:50

Undoubtedly abuse. She must go and see a solicitor and keep a diary, if she isn't already doing so, of every interaction she has with him and her son's report.

She is a policeowman, she must konow what constitutes emotional abuse, but it it different when she is the victim, not so easy to judge then.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 21:06:09

Well taking them away from school in term time is all she needs to withhold visits!

Doesn't matter if he wants to go to mediation or not. The children's best interests come first and taking them out of school is not in their best interests.

Your daughter needs to tell him to go to court and she can take all the evidence to court that she needs to prove he is not a good influence.

If she is a police woman am sure she must know this? How did he get their passports? Well never mind, she can ask a court to apply an injuction on their passports but will also mean she won't be able to take them out the country also until its sorted.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 21:11:08

Sorry just seen they are 10 not 6....even worse! Coming up to stats for high school

Armelle Sun 08-Sep-19 21:11:46

I think you are right. She should take him to court. She is hesitating as she had to go to court several times over her divorce and is was harrowing.

BradfordLass72 Mon 09-Sep-19 07:34:08

Yes, I absolutely agree that this is an abusive situation and if someone doesn't talk to the boys and be honest with them about their father, it will get worse.

If I were in her place, I'd go back to court and ask for supervised access only on the grounds that he has already taken them overseas without permission and she fears for their emotional safety. As a police officer, she is in the best position to access a good lawyer.

You, Armelle might sit, calmly and lovingly with your gss and say (for instance). 'When Dad says things like this about Mum, he's not being truthful. You know your Mum don't you? You love her, so you can see she is not the person he says. You need to be kind to Mum and help her.'
Advise them not to argue with Dad but always think for themselves if what Dad is doing and saying is fair and correct.

This is what we had to do with our 10 year old in exactly the same situation.
He came home from access days with his abusive father and was appallingly disrespectful to his Mum (whom he'd been told was a thief and worse) but once they say down with him in a no-blame conversation and explained, he began to see that he did not need to believe these awful lies.

Such a sad conflict for small boys between the 2 people they love most. They don't know where to put their loyalty. In fact, they don't need to choose - just be aware what's happening.

Their father is, imho a Narcissist and reading about this disorde might give you some insight.

The boys may also benefit from counselling with someone who knows how Narcissists programme children to make life difficult for the person they (the Narc.) hate.

They need to be given the emotional tools to cope with this NOW, because that man will be in their lives (by law) for at least another 6 years if not more.

Our boy is doing well now by the way smile

Iam64 Mon 09-Sep-19 08:29:34

Armelle, I responded quickly, having read your added information I'm sorry, you're right, this is not ok for those boys or your daughter.
Taking the children out of school in term time, without their mother (or presumably) the school's permission is unlawful. He sounds like a bully and a very bad role model for children.

Was the existing court order about contact made after an investigation, or with agreement by both parents? I understand your daughter's frustration and anger about his financial contribution dropping to such a derisory amount but, she will know that legally money isn't connected to contact in any way. If she's refusing to take the children, it would be better for her to link that to his behaviour, his attempts to influence the children against her, taking them out of school etc.

EllanVannin Mon 09-Sep-19 08:45:47

What a totally immature man !!
I'd seek professional advice first and foremost as he's going to make everyone's life an absolute misery. To treat children in this way has long-lasting effects which lead to confusion in children and it's cruel.

Dee1012 Mon 09-Sep-19 11:46:09

Personally I think that your daughter needs to speak to a solicitor who specialises in family law.
There's the possibility of going back to court and revisiting access arrangements etc but also getting CAFCASS involved...
I appreciate your daughter is a police officer but family law is a totally different world!
Your daughter's ex' is quite simply an abusive bully.

Jo1960 Mon 09-Sep-19 11:54:16

Police officers don't have much training in the nuances of domestic abuse especially coercive control, so it's not surprising that your daughter is in this position. Often professional women also feel embarrassed that they are now in a position that their clients may be in. It's also not surprising that the divorce was an awful experience for her. This man is shamelessly using the children to control and "punish" your daughter. As a police officer however, your daughter is more likely to be believed by a judge than a woman in a less trustworthy profession. I would suggest though that she speaks to Women's Aid or an IDVA rather than in CAB or NSPCC in order to get some support around the coercive control and its relevance to safeguarding as well as preparing a case. These young boys are at immense emotional risk from their father. As a former women's aid worker, I've seen this behaviour umpteen times. It's so destructive to the children but often not taken as seriously as physical abuse.

Jaycee5 Mon 09-Sep-19 12:08:08

My nephew went through this and his mother let him go and stay with his father. He came back fairly soon and never asked to do that again. That is a bit risky though. He was a bit older and was getting uncontrollable so it worked for her.
A solicitors letter might help. It is suprising how many people think that they have to obey them and at worst it will make him realise that she is not on her own and is not going to be walked over. He cannot be allowed to use his own children as spies.

GabriellaG54 Mon 09-Sep-19 12:39:08

The children are now 9/10yrs old. They were 6 when dad left in 2015.

GabriellaG54 Mon 09-Sep-19 12:57:01

Remember, we are only hearing one side of the story and told through a third party.

I take issue with your assertion that a judge would take the word of a female police officer over that of a woman in a less trustworthy profession.
That statement is based on your totally unfounded perceptions.

icanhandthemback Mon 09-Sep-19 13:03:14

This is a really difficult one and she is in a very difficult situation because the courts are not always helpful in such cases. My first thought is that she should make it quite clear that the phones are not to be brought back to her house. She needs to know that the children aren't using the phones inappropriately when they are in her care. To counteract the fall out, I would suggest that she gets them a phone to keep when they are with her so that they do not feel that they are deprived of something nice their father has given them. She should ensure that she always knows their security codes and explains the issue of safeguarding.
As to her husband saying awful things about her, I would keep my counsel. If your daughter tries to defend herself, she will no doubt have to badmouth her ex and that puts the children right in the middle of their problems. That is unfair. It is far better to just say nothing but positive things about their father wherever possible and quietly dismiss the hurtful things with a "when you're older, you'll understand better." It won't take them long to realise which way the land lies and they will stop listening to their father in that regard.
The best thing your daughter could do is to consult a solicitor to find out where the line in the sand should be drawn. They will know what the court considers reasonable.

Armelle Mon 09-Sep-19 13:04:22

Thank you so much every one who’s replied to my email. CSA are well aware of the loop in the law where the father goes self employed and declares earnings of £8000 a year in order not to pay for the children. According to them, there is nothing they can do.
About CAFCASS, she had this woman interview her, the x and the children at school. At the time my daughter wanted to move and live in London with her new partner. That wasn’t allowed. They have now bought a house together and the boys don’t have to change school. My daughter thought that once the divorce was done, the x would be out of her life. Not so, before moving to a bigger house 3 weeks ago, the neighbour took it upon herself to spy on my daughter and send videos of her comings and goings to the x. Now he has no access to her life apart from telling the boys to film their private life.
I like the idea to first send him a solicitor’s letter. The head at the boys school is also very supportive. I don’t understand the power this man has over my daughter. She never wants to rock the boat, is convinced the court won’t be in her favour etc... she is frightened of him. No I don’t think he is a fit father. No homework done, no reading, no glasses, inhaler or coats back. The list goes on. He lets them watch 18+ films, stay on you tube for hours in the night with no control of what they are watching. I can’t wait to see them tomorrow as I am looking after my 90 year old ailing mum in Paris . Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Lol

Merryweather Mon 09-Sep-19 17:48:02

She needs to go to social services and report his emotionally controlling ways. Diary document everything.
Call child maintenance service and gave a formal agreement in place for their up keep. They have got to have it sorted within 12 weeks. They have the power to remove it directly from his wages.
She needs a solicitor who specialises in family law. Sadly no legal aid for this.
She unfortunately can't stop contact, she would be liable for prosecution if she does.

It's a long hard slog but stand up to your bullies x

oodles Mon 09-Sep-19 18:50:57

This is abuse. Wanting the children to film their life with mum, not on, getting neighbour to, not on either, she needs to document, document, document. Please encourage her to contact women's aid for help, this is harassment, stalking and trying to get the children involved with it is despicable. What a nasty man, he doesn't have to hit her for it to be abuse. Just because she's police doesn't mean she necessarily knows everything, and even if it is her area of expertise, it's very different when you are the person suffering from the abuse. She will not necessarily be believed more as she is a policewoman, but I think that if she were to behave in a less than honest way she would be at risk of losing her job, as you have to be able to trust a police woman, that's probably what someone meant. In a few years the boys will be able to say if they want to see their father, so it is in his interests to behave reasonably, but he won't see that, and there is the possibility that he really only wants to see the children to be able to continue to abuse their mother, yes it does happen, very sadly. It's not good to mediate with an abuser either, he like as not will see if as an opportunity to upset her, and often men like this one sounds to be will make all manner of false accusations, which obviously have to be investigated, and even though found to be false it would be a dreadful ordeal for your dd.if she needs to go to court this is stressful too but afterwards things should be better, no judge would approve of him badmouthing their mum to the children, that is a vile thing to do and could count as parental alienation

HurdyGurdy Mon 09-Sep-19 22:44:31

Armelle you say there is a court order in place, but it's not clear what type of order it is.

I would advise your daughter to go for a Child Arrangements Order, or if that is what is already in place, then to get it reviewed. The parents will have to do mediation before they get into Court, but mediation doesn't have to mean both parties being in the same room at the same time.

It is totally unacceptable and inappropriate for the father to be encouraging the children to film the home life on their phones. It's so unfair on the children to put them in this position.

Contact should only ever be for the benefit of the children, and it is very wrong to suggest that contact is "sold", i.e. "I will let you see the children as long as you pay me maintenance". Yes, it is very unfair if the fathers don't pay much, or any, maintenance, but that is nothing to do with the children, and their contact with their father, shouldn't be stopped because of financial reasons.

As has already been pointed out upthread, we are only hearing one side of the story and that is naturally biased against the father. It would be interesting to hear his version of events.