New Baby/ "Safeguarding Midwife".

jammin43
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:22 pm

New Baby/ "Safeguarding Midwife".

Postby jammin43 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:23 pm

Hi All,

Just looking for some advice/reassurance.

In 2008 i was married to a woman i'd been with for nearly 15 years and had three children. One morning in October, two of my sons were fighting, one brandishing a stick and i slapped one of them, leaving a red mark on his face (finger mark). The kids went to school as normal (how i wish we'd kept them home as my wife suggested!) and i received a call mid morning from the police, asking me to attend the station for a chat. I was arrested, interviewed and charged with battery, but given a caution. They already knew what had happened, incidentally, since i'd told my son that if he was asked, he should tell the truth.

This incident also resulted in a social work investigation that lasted 3 months. I was pretty unhappy with this, since the end report was full of factual inaccuracies that the social worker refused to change. For example, she stated that i came from a violent background (since i once told her that my father used to slap me and it never did me any harm), she stated that we were not from the area and had no connections (in fact, we grew up in the area, moved away, moved back, and all our family lived within 5 miles), were not well integrated into the community (i was a trustee of one local charity, assisted with a local children's charity, and my wife and i attended a local church), and that my son (the one who got slapped) was failing to thrive at school (the teacher, a friend, had simply said "well, he could do better"). Red flags were raised because when interviewed my son appeared afraid of the police (i've raised my kids to respect the law and the police) and because my other son had a problem with bed wetting (he was 7 years old). There was one issue that i felt very strongly about and perhaps should have complained about. The social worker wrote that my son had a cut, not a red mark. When challenged to point this out 48 hours after the event, she refused to do so, saying it had healed (the red mark was gone by the evening. When i was arrested, the officer read the charges out in the custody suite, and referred to a bruise. I asked him to reconsider that wording since it was a red finger mark. He was fine about this and did so.

My wife and i were going through a difficult period that led us to separate some months later. I never saw the "final final" version of the report, but no further action was taken.

In 2010, having gone through a messy divorce, i met somebody else. As soon as i realised the relationship was serious, i told her about what had happened. I did not know it at the time, but she questioned my children (doesn't cause me an issue, i've never tried to hide what happened). We moved in together in 2012, married in 2013 and have a great relationship. She has a 17 year old daughter. My relationship with her has sometimes been fraught, but she turns to me when she has boyfriend troubles, so i guess it's not that bad.

In June, my wife discovered she was pregnant. A huge surprise since i am now in my mid 40s, she is in her late 30s, and there will be an 18 year age gap between my youngest and this little girl. We met the midwife, who asked if we'd had any contact with social services. She actually skipped past the question, but i thought i'd better 'fess up. We didn't hear anything more about it and i'd assumed that it was deemed irrelevant. However, my wife had a midwife's appointment late last week and she said that the "safeguarding midwife" had some concerns. Specifically, that i was "prevented" from seeing my other kids, particularly my eldest, who i never see and that i had received a six month suspended sentence. My wife is now thinking i've lied to her.

I'm now worried that the big machine of the state is working in the background, and decisions are being made on incorrect information over which i have no influence.

I have not seen my kids as much as i would like. My wife moved 60 miles away to be with her boyfriend (who she'd been seeing while we were married) and thus contact was not the easiest thing to manage. However, from the time we split up until about 2 years ago, they stayed pretty much every other weekend. The only reason they stay less often now is because the eldest is 21 and at university, and the other two (17 and 18) have their own lives, girlfriends, etc. But i've seen them twice in the last 6 weeks.
And i never received a suspended sentence. The police basically told me that since i had admitted what happened, they had no choice but to either prosecute or issue a caution. I took the caution and understood that this was spent after 6 months. At no point was a solicitor involved. When i arrived and was told i was going to be arrested, i declined one, thinking that i had nothing to worry about (and so far as the police were concerned, i didn't - they were reasonable and fair).

I have never been violent towards a woman (or a man!), and only slapped my kids probably half a dozen times in their lives - although i now accept there are better parenting methods. I have never been involved with, let alone convicted of, any criminal activity, or violence.

I am really worried about where the safeguarding midwife is getting her information. She asked for the children's names, so what she is looking at is clearly not a reliable source if she doesn't know this. I'm also now wondering if every time i am going to the hospital for scans, people are looking at me as some kind of monster.
And my biggest fear is that we'll be dragged through the wringer again, or that our child will be taken from us. I did not feel that the social worker, all those years ago, was interested in considering that i was not actually a threat to my kids, that i wasn't out of control or violent, but that i just had a style of parenting that was a decade or so out of date.

And of course nobody will talk to me about any of this. The safeguarding midwife apparently doesn't deal directly with "offenders".

Does anybody know what the next steps are? I have barely slept this weekend. It doesn't seem that i can ever, ever get away from this.
I don't recognise the abbreviations used on other pages (CIN, CP). We had a social worker involvement and there was a report. I don't know what that report was called. There were no ongoing recommendations that i recall, and no attempt to stop me seeing my kids, etc.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 1772
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: New Baby/ "Safeguarding Midwife".

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:59 pm

Dear Jammin43,

Welcome to the parents forum.

Congratulations on your partners pregnancy!

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are having at the moment. I am shocked that the midwife is saying she won’t deal with offenders given you are about to be the father of a new born who is entitled to the services of a midwife.
I also wonder whether she has the correct information about you. You accepted a caution so certainly wouldn’t have a suspended sentence.


A lot will depend on what was written in the earlier social worker report and whether or not there was a child protection plan in respect of your older children.
If children services decided that the battery was a one off-so that it was not an “ongoing situation” then there may not have been a child protection plan. The fact that you were honest will have gone in your favour. I would have expected them to have offered you parenting classes to learn new safer methods of parenting children.

Even if the report was negative then, a lot of time has passed, you are having a lot of unsupervised contact with your older children and there has been no further incidents reported to the police.

However, in case the midwife feels that you might still be risky to children, particularly as babies are so easily hurt, she may decide to refer to children services who will decide whether to become involved.

If they decide to undertake a pre- birth assessment, this will last up to 9 weeks and decisions will made as to whether or not support is needed (such as parenting programme).

The assessment involves speaking to you and mum, seeing where you live and asking about your support network. The social worker should ask for your consent to contact professionals such as the police –to do background checks and as well as your GP.
At the end of the assessment a decision will be madeas to whether close case, offer support, or offer a child in need plan .


Only if they had evidence that your baby may be at risk of suffering harm would they hold a strategy discussion to see whether or not there should be child protection procedures .

The best way forward is to fully cooperate with the assessment. Also, ask for a copy of the assessment, to read through, so you can check its accuracy. Keep your own record as well.

You could find out about parenting courses in your area by contacting the family or children information service at your local authority. Or contact Family Lives who might be able to advise you of accredited courses. By doing such courses you are minimizing your risk of using smacking as a parenting method.

Given you have both successfully brought your children up with the minimum of state intervention, I wonder how involved they will be.

If you have any questions please, post back.

Best wishes,

Suzie

jammin43
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:22 pm

Re: New Baby/ "Safeguarding Midwife".

Postby jammin43 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:40 pm

Many thanks, Suzie.

Perhaps it is my paranoia working overtime, then :-).

There was no further action taken following the investigation; the only caveat i would add is that i never saw the final report. However, there was never any protection put in place while i was still living with my wife and no constraints put in place afterward.

I smacked by child because at the time i considered it a legitimate form of discipline, not because i had lost control in the way suggested by the social worker.

I have since changed my views on slapping and will never slap a child again.

We'll see what happens i guess - thanks again for your support.

J.


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