Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Shaftesbury
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:08 pm

Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Shaftesbury » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:25 am

Hi - I have just joined this forum because I'd really appreciate some advice.

For 18 months I have been in a long distance relationship with a sex offender. His offences were grooming a teenager over a period of 42 hours (ten days before her 16th birthday) and three counts of sexual assault. It was consensual - he did not force himself upon her. I know these facts to be true because I have spoken to his PPU Officer and I also have a copy of his Judge's sentencing remarks. He is on the Sex Offender's Register for ten years and has a SOPO for that period which purely restricts his use of social networking sites. He has absolutely no restrictions on being around children at all. Both his registration period and his SOPO end in 2018. Throughout our relationship he has never wanted to meet my children and we have always met up well away from them. He has only been to my town 5 times. Upon informing his PPU Officer of our relationship she checked with children's services and confirmed to us that so long as we continued to not include my children (ages 3, 6 and 8) in our relationship there was no need for them to take any action, but should we wish to move our relationship on to include them at any point they would need to do an assessment to work out what level of contact, if any, would be allowed.

In November my partner attended a social event where my children were also present. He turned up at the event separate to me and I didn't introduce him to the children at all, let along as a boyfriend. He didn't speak to the children the whole time but at the end of the evening he gave us a lift home. He didn't come into the house. The children just assumed a guest at the wedding had been kind enough to offer us a lift.

After this event my partner informed his PPU Officer of his movements. He wasn't required by law to do this but he felt it was the right thing to do. At his point we also wanted to find out if he could ever be allowed minimal contact with my children so he requested Children's Services to get in contact with me. His PPU Officer wasn't pleased he had waited until after the event to inform her of his movements and said Children's Services would be in contact with me anyway.

Now Children's Services have been in contact and my children are being put on a Child Protection Plan. Their father has been informed of the situation and has taken me to court to obtain and Order to stop me bringing the children in to contact with my partner. He has also applied for residency which is currently ongoing while Children's Services do more assessments. The children's father lives in the spare room of a man who smokes drugs. His behaviour is erratic and he has made threats towards the children in earshot of Children's Services. He has broadcast my business to people in the town. He has been trying to persuade the children to live with him for some time because he believes this will mean he will be able to get a council flat. He hasn't ever paid me a penny in maintenance and he doesn't see the children very often. He barely ever sees our 3 year old. He claims he can't cope with all three children at the same time.

Thank you for reading all that! I now have a few questions:

1) Does the children's father stand a good chance of getting residency of the children if I choose to remain in a long distance relationship with a sex offender who has only been to my town five times in 18 months and has an Order from the court to prevent me bringing him into contact with the children?

2) If the children's father does get residency is that final? Can I appeal it? Can I still have the children to stay at my house and how often?

3) Is the prohibited steps Order which bans me from bringing my partner into contact with the children permanent? When my partner comes off the Sex Offenders Register in 2018 can I appeal it?

I may well have more questions but I would really appreciate some advice in the meantime. Many thanks.
Last edited by Shaftesbury on Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:06 am, edited 3 times in total.

ange301126
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby ange301126 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:04 pm

Dear Shaftesbury, My advice is don't worry about your ex for now.

It will be the CS who take the children away from you if you continue with any relationship with this sex offender. It will be impossible to maintain any contact with this man without involving the children.Indeed it cannot be said he is not already grooming you and the children. That is how they work.

Continue to contact him and it is certain the children will be taken off to you.Do you want that?
Whether they go to your husband,to other family or for adoption is secondary to the MAIN ISSUE.

Make your choice now. Him or your children and don't take any 'phone calls or text messages even.The authorities will have you under surveillance.

Please heed this clear advice and come back to REALITY before you are too late! If you wait until 2018, I doubt if the CS will allow contact then even. If he professes to have any respect or love for you, however, he will keep out of your life.

Shaftesbury
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Shaftesbury » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:43 pm

Children's Services do not want to take the children away from me - they have already said so themselves several times. The threat comes from the children's father applying for residency.

Please could Suzie reply since I need to make some decisions this week. Thank you.
Last edited by Shaftesbury on Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

ange301126
Posts: 537
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:27 pm

Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby ange301126 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:07 pm

Dear Shaftsbury, I think Suzie will be back on line soon.

I am merely an ordinary parent trying to help and now I sense you think I was being harsh.Sorry about that but do not misunderstand me; I understand your arguments and have every sympathy. You are right, of course,but the CS don't look at things like us.
You could lose your children and I wouldn't take the chance,that's all.
On the other hand cooperate and they might just work with you and let you keep them.
Like I said ,Suzie will advise you soon but if you want professional advice quickly you can telephone the FRG advice line.

Good Luck.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:47 pm

Dear Shaftesbury

Welcome to the Family Rights Group Parents’ Forum.

My name is Suzie and I am an Adviser at Family Rights Group.

I am sorry that you are having what is clearly a difficult time regarding the decisions you may have to make regarding your children and your relationship.

As far as your partner is concerned, I note that you feel you have all the relevant information relating to his conviction and registration as a Sex Offender. However, Children Services will be very concerned about the risk your partner poses to your children due to his background.
Children Services have, as you may already be aware, a duty to ensure that children are brought up in a safe environment without a risk of any form of abuse or harm. You have known your partner for only 18 months, and the relationship is a long distance one as you have stated. Although you feel you know him and all the relevant information about him, it is unlikely that Children Services will share this view.

It seems it was made clear to you that provided your partner was not involved with the children no action was likely to be necessary. However, whether by chance or planned, he came into contact with the children however innocent you say this was.

Regarding the children’s father, he took action to ensure his children do not come into contact with your partner and he is likely to be seen as a protecting factor in an assessment.

Turning now to your specific questions:

1. It is difficult to say whether the children’s father will obtain a Child Arrangement Order for the children to reside with him. The court will make the decision based on what is in the children’s best interest as their welfare will be the court’s paramount consideration. the Judge will consider all the evidence You can contact Coram Children’s Legal Centre (0808 802 0008) for further advice on the private law proceedings. If you already have a solicitor representing you they are unlikely to advise you.

Should you choose to maintain your relationship with a registered sex offender; the court is likely to take a view on this. It cannot be guaranteed he will not be in even minimal contact with your children as has already happened.

2. If the court decides to make an order in the father’s favour then it will be a final order. However, if there are grounds to appeal the order, you can do so. You would need to show that the Judge made an error in law or on the exercise of his or her discretion on the facts. The court would consider the issue of the children’s contact with you as their mother and may make a Child Arrangement Order stating the level of contact or that you and the father make arrangements between you. As above you can speak to Coram for additional information about this.

3. When the court made the prohibited steps order it would have stated when the order has on the order if there is an end date or if until further order. It is possible to apply to the court to discharge a prohibited steps order. The court will consider whether it would be appropriate to discharge or vary the order.

My advice would be for you to engage and cooperate fully with Children Services if they are carrying out assessments. I am including a link to our advice sheet on child protection procedures which you may find helpful.

Should you wish to speak to an adviser at Family Rights Group about any matter relating to involvement with Children Services, please telephone our free advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

I hope you will find the information helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Shaftesbury
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Shaftesbury » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:36 am

I just can't help but think it would be absolutely insane for the court to grant my ex a residency order. Having looked at the welfare checklist I have absolutely everything going in my favour apart from the fact I have a friend over 200 miles away who is on the sex offender's register until 2018. There is an order stopping him from coming near my children. I only meet up with him every couple of months. It seems to be to be a ridiculous prospect that the children should be rehoused with their temperamental father who has been in trouble with the police / sectioned under the mental health act, in one bedroom all sleeping in one double bed, in a house where drugs are smoked, a man who doesn't see them often and has never undertaken any aspect of childcare even when we were together - as a preference to staying with me where it has been proven that they are happy and safe and well and thriving. The upheaval and change and unfamiliarity would really affect them.

Also my ex told the Conference he was informed that after 2018 he is powerless to stop my partner coming near my children. I am wondering why he thinks this. Perhaps the Order only lasts as long as he is on the register. How do I find out how long an Order lasts?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:56 pm

Dear Shaftesbury,

My name is Suzie and I am an Adviser at Family Rights Group.

I have read your posts regarding your frustration with Children Services and the court process where your ex partner has made an application for a Child Arrangement Order (residence order) for the children to reside with him.

Whilst I see that you think your position regarding your children is clear and you are the best person to care for them having been their primary carer all their lives. One of the issues as part of the welfare checklist in the Children Act which they court will take into account in considering where the children should live, will be your association with a registered sex offender.

As you know the welfare checklist provides:

• The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding);
• His physical, emotional and educational needs;
• The likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances;
• His age, sex, background and any characteristics of his which the court considers relevant;
• Any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering;
• How capable each of his parents and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs;
• The range of powers available to the court under the Children Act in the proceedings in question.

The court will have the children’s welfare as its paramount consideration. It will therefore be for the Judge to apply the checklist and make a decision as to how the children’s future welfare will be ensured. Your friend has other restrictions including the internet and all these matters will be considered by the court.

You have asked why your children’s father thinks he will be powerless after 2018. It may be because once your friend is de-registered he will not be in a position to prevent his contact with his children. I am not able to answer this point in any more detail but you may wish to ask the police what happens when a person is de-registered. Perhaps your children’s father sought advice and was told what the position would be after 2018.

In relation to the Prohibited Steps Order, as stated in the previous post it will depend what is stated on the order. This could be for a specified period, for example, to the end of the current court case or indefinitely.

I should add that even if your friend is de-registered from the Sex Offenders Register this will not stop Children Services being concerned about your children and the risk of harm to them as long as you have an association with him.

I hope you will find this helpful.

Best wishes

Suzie

Shaftesbury
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Shaftesbury » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:45 am

Hello again.

I am returning with a small question for now.

The Court would like to issue a Prohibited Steps Order to prevent my partner having direct or indirect contact with my children. I was happy to agree to this until yesterday at the Child Protection Conference the Chair suggested that "indirect contact" would also include ME speaking to my partner via telephone or text. I feel this is a little extreme. I have emailed my solicitor but wanted to also get some views on here if possible. Can an Order by the Court actually prevent me from contacting my partner by telephone?

Thank you.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:04 pm

Dear Shaftesbury

In relation to the prohibited steps order the court can stipulate precisely what type of contact (direct or indirect) is or is not permissible at the time the order is made, and if this is not adhered to you could be in breach of the order.

So that you are clear about expectations in relation to your own particular situation, you may wish to wait for a response from your solicitor who would be best placed to advice you at this time.

Best Wishes

Suzie

Shaftesbury
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:08 pm

Re: Sex Offender Partner & Residency of Children

Postby Shaftesbury » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:56 am

I thought I would return with an update.

The Court granted me continued residency of the children and issued a PSO to prevent me bringing them into contact with my partner which ends when my youngest child turns 18. I was happy with the outcome of the hearing.

My children are still currently on a Child Protection Plan which is being monitored at six weekly meetings and six monthly conferences for the time being. However, I do not feel CS are being intrusive and I am happy that I am allowed to go about my daily life without constant interference and to also enjoy my relationship which I am conducting well away from my home and children.

I would still be interested to find out exactly what view will be taken when my partner comes off the SOR in three years' time. I understand Children's Services will still have concerns but surely if a Court feels my partner no longer needs to register then they can't see him as being that high a risk? I would like to be able to appeal the PSO at some point - not so that I can live with my partner or anything so severe - but just so that perhaps he may be allowed minimal contact with my children at events or out in public, for example. I am in absolutely no rush to do this - I'm purely wondering about possibilities should I wish to try to alter things at any point in the future. For the foreseeable future - and I'm talking about years here - I do plan to keep my relationship just as it is right now.


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