Social services ignoring sopo

Lily14
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:43 pm

Social services ignoring sopo

Postby Lily14 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:16 pm

My husband is on the sex offender register. He has a sopo in place which states. No unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16 UNLESS it is his own children or authorised by ppu. Social services have been holding cin meetings and have stated that they want to close the case but however must have a safety plan in place. This safety plan they want to put in states that my husband is to have no unsupervised contact with our children? Very confused the court said he could and they are completely disregarding this sopo saying it doesn’t conflict when it does any help would be appreciated thank you

PerfectlySafeDad
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:57 am

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby PerfectlySafeDad » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:57 am

They are being incompetent or arrogant or a mixture of both. In cases like this, they are often unsure how to interpret a SOPO. Therefore they take the simplest draconian course - a blanket unsupervised contact ban. It seems to me they are trying to reduce their caseload whilst at the same time cover their backs. As far as they are concerned, this is the 'safest' way and they are not interested in subtleties such as a guy who looked at child porn yet is in no way a risk to his own kids whom he loves, nor does it worry them that they might be penalizing a child's life by alienation from its father.
As well as a family law solicitor, get a criminal law one (or just a criminal law one) so your rights under the SOPO can be put clearly to those child protection zealots, they're in effect trying to trample the Dad's human rights (quite possibly the child's too).

PerfectlySafeDad
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:57 am

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby PerfectlySafeDad » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:13 am

If you yourself are happy for your husband to have unsupervised contact, on no account sign anything! Hopefully they will accept your stance, since they are keen to get you off their books. If not, gather together lots of references of all kinds that support how he has always been a good father and maybe the police will also verify that their evidence against never included anything to do with his own children.

DD2SS
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:56 pm

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby DD2SS » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:08 am

Hi Lily14,

I say all this without legal training, so please get legal help if you need to.

The criminal court sets out a SOPO based on the evidence of the criminal case, usually a criminal justice social work report, and any other relevant evidence. This is unlikely to include an individualised assessment of risk of sexual harm that the offender poses to his children and is unlikely to take into account the details of other factors such as your ability to protect or indeed the children's ability to self-protect.

CS on the other hand will make its own assessment of risk based on the family as a whole, not least the children. It seems to me that the degree of experience or expertise in making these assessments can be variable but, regardless, in the early stages after conviction for a sexual crime involving children that it is unlikely that most families simply return to "normal".

You are asking whether they are acting unlawfully by overriding the order made by a criminal court. I am unsure of this. However, my feeling is that it is irrelevant. Even if it was unlawful, then you have to ask the question what you would do about it and whether it is worth challenging. If you were to challenge CS over this discrepancy in court (looking at what the legal argument might be), then I would have thought that they would argue that it was the criminal court judge who had not taken all relevant factors into account, that supervised contact was proportionate to the level of risk based on their professional assessment in the field of child protection, and therefore the SOPO should be amended to fit with their plan.

Only you know the details of your case, but I would think that unless CS were acting completely disproportionately (i.e., supervised contact when the crime was money laundering to take it to its extreme) then this is not an argument that you would be likely to win if your sole argument is that the SOPO states that your husband can have unsupervised contact with the kids. That said, I have learnt that you can rarely reliably predict anything when it comes to the law but you should choose your battles carefully! By the way, I am all for fighting when there is clear injustice, so this is not about giving up but instead being realistic and not wasting energy or money on battles that can't be won for good reason.

That, I suppose, leaves you with supervised contact. I can see from many others on this board that some people even struggle to get that agreement, so perhaps one approach might be to regard this as an opportunity to work with CS to build trust and show understanding of the risks, stabilise the family after what is presumably a very difficult period, focus on the children, and look into building an evidence base that allows you to then go back to CS and say "this level of contact is disproportionate to the risk posed by my husband, let's re-evaluate this". In that situation, the SOPO will not be a legal barrier to a more relaxed agreement.

Good luck.

DD2SS

PerfectlySafeDad
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:57 am

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby PerfectlySafeDad » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:48 pm

DD2's response is well thought out and detailed, but ethically I still think the position is (or ought to be) clear cut.
The criminal court of our land has decreed that a man (your husband in this case) is safe to have unsupervised access to children IF the parent (who understands the situation) and the PPU (who have absolute insight into the precise crimes committed) are okay with it. That should be enough; by disrupting this process the CS are promoting themselves as a higher authority over one's own child than a law-abiding parent (you), and more expert as to the nature of an offender than the PPU who specialize in such people.
In my firm opinion the CS are acting tyrannically, through a loophole in British justice, but fighting this in any court setting is another matter. The problem is the area of overlap and conflict between family and criminal law. They need uniting under one authority, and until this is done sadly the CS will continue to oppress many perfectly safe families under the mandate of 'child protection', which really amounts to covering their backs against glaring errors they have made in the past due to being under-resourced or simply incompetent. It is not right that a parent should have to carry the can for the CS's insecurities by virtue of being vilified for offences that do not relate to his own children or indeed contact offence at all. It's a human rights abuse, but you'd have to be Cliff Richard with millions of pounds and the best lawyers to fight it. All you can do is tread through the CS's hoops very carefully and give them no further ammunition to conduct their insane risk assessments with.

PerfectlySafeDad
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:57 am

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby PerfectlySafeDad » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:07 pm

DDS makes good points in her last paragraph. Sadly, in effect it does amount to admitting powerlessness against, by definition, a *** outfit - since men in my and Lily and her husband's position cannot override it without the continuous menace of care proceedings. My problem is, despite my IO offences, I resent 'conceding' to CS or anybody that there is 'risk' to my own children or contact risk towards any whatsoever. Because I know myself - I am not insane, and I am not in denial - so any such concession would be a lie unto myself and a horrible abandonment of principle towards my children. It absolutely parallels the 17th century where a person is forced to confess to being a witch, due to having something about them that the authorities did not like and considered close to it. Also it's very similar to the ignorance endured by homosexuals in Oscar Wilde's time; namely that their deviant ways meant they must be a molestation threat.

Edited by Suzie as breaches rule 10

Lily14
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:43 pm

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby Lily14 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:58 am

Thank you all for your replies, cs dropped their safety plan off for us to read and it seems they have missed out the part of the unsupervised contact whether intentionally or by mistake I’m not sure we have I hope one last cin meeting fingers crossed it is then closed I’m done with them 5 different social workers and it was only the last one that said no unsupervised contact she tried to make it sound like a good thing because usuallly sex offender dads don’t live with their children?? I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone.

User avatar
Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2051
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:40 pm

Dear Lily14

Welcome to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for posting.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group. I see from your post that you are concerned about your husband continuing to have contact with the children whilst under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO). You say the restriction on his SOPO is that he is restricted from having unsupervised contact with children under 16 unless his own children or authorised by Public Protection Unit (PPU). The difficulty you are having is that children’s services (new name for social services) have taken the view that your husband should not have unsupervised contact with your children; and whether this is lawful in light of the SOPO.

I think DD2SS has made some good points in the post regarding the concerns that children’s services may have in reaching the decision they have regarding unsupervised contact.

It appears that you and your husband have been engaging with children’s services under the child in need plan which suggests that you both recognised and showed some insight into the issues relating to risk following your husband’s conviction. Working with children’s services and showing that you have an understanding of the issues they are concerned about go some way to ensuring that you can have a good outcome.

Children’s services’ concern will not lessen if parents try to minimise what has happened and show no understanding of how to protect children from identified risk. It is an unknown whether any father who has been convicted of offences as your husband would go on to abuse their own child. This is the risk that children’s services have to weigh up when considering safeguarding issues. The importance of having the thought process of the possibility would, I think, suggest that keeping a child protected is the most important factor for the protective parent.

I see from your further post that you are now hoping to be taken off child in need (CIN) and that the agreement that you have been sent does not deal with unsupervised contact. It may be that children’s services have considered the situation further and decided not to include this but, it is important you point this out so that you have confirmation whether a mistake has been made or not. That will, show that you are not trying to allow unsupervised contact by their omission.

You may already have done so, but if not, try to make contact with Barnados to get advice about their parent protect courses or the NSPCC.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

PerfectlySafeDad
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:57 am

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby PerfectlySafeDad » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 am

'It is unknown whether a father who has committed offences will go on to abuse his own children..'
Well, he HASN'T, there are no convictions of such. No, they don't know, they can't predict the future - so don't. CS have no ethical right to harass a parent so profoundly because of what MIGHT happen. Unbelievable tyranny. THAT'S where the 'thought process' should end: no history, no action.

Edited by Suzie as breaches rule 10

Lily14
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:43 pm

Re: Social services ignoring sopo

Postby Lily14 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:34 am

To perfectlysafedad have you requested a meeting with your sw manager? My husband decided and quite rightly so to write a letter of complaint to our sw manager and also sent a copy of the letter to the complaint department and legal team to let them know we were serious about this. Anyway we have since then had a meeting with the manager and our sw together. I am not sure what your shpo states but my husbands specifically states he is allowed unsupervised contact with our children! But we have moved forward and have received a letter back stating that they uphold our complaint that their safety plan does infact conflict with the shpo so they are going to get some information from ppu and to ensure that we have it in writing that our other daughter is included in this as she wasn’t born when the shpo was made but even though it is not the end yet we feel more positive I have everything crossed because currently it really is affecting family life. I sincerely hope that you are able to get your situation sorted I’m sure I’ll have another update in time.


Return to “Are social workers worried about your child?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests