Can a Social Worker override a SOPO?

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Good mum
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Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:03 am

Can a Social Worker override a SOPO?

Post by Good mum » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:33 pm

Looking for advice please. 18 months ago I met a lovely man and we became firm friends, at the outset we both said we wanted nothing more at that time. Two months ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 3-6 months to live. This was life changing for us and we admitted our love. I asked him to move in. This brought about the disclosure of a SOPO preventing it. I have a 14yr old teenage boy and a 16yr old girl. He was accused of assaulting an 8yr old girl in 2002 and found guilty, served a prison sentence and put on SOR for ten yrs. In 2012 the girls friend came forwards and said he had sexually abused her in 2002 also, despite her saying he hadn't at the previous trial. He served his sentence and is still on licence, with a SOPO saying he cannot have unsupervised contact with children under 16. His probation officer has classed him as low risk of reoffending, and suggested social services may be able to put something in place for us. So we contacted SS. His police protection officer also classes him as low risk. We accept that it is not feasible for him to live with us due to the complexities of ensuring he is never left unsupervised. Yet suddenly SS assessment is concluding he cannot have "any contact supervised or unsupervised" with my children!!! A SOPO has to be proportionate to his crime yet it would seem a SS report can override it. My children are typical teenagers and come out of their bedrooms to grunt at me occasionally, SS have said they do not believe anything has happened to them, school reports are glowing. Apparently it's all because he "may" have had unsupervised contact before disclosure, which he was always very careful to ensure never happened. He usually came round at a wknd, had tea with us then he and I went out. He came to see me not the kids. Now SS are saying that the kids don't have a bond with him therefore all contact can stop - do teenagers really show a bond to many people!!! It's all so hard as now I have to go to his house all the time, his health is worsening, he can't come to mine whenever the kids are here so I'm feeling guilty at leaving them - all because they may come downstairs for a few minutes and SS are implying I can't protect my kids from him even when I'm in the same room!!! The kids DO have a bond with me, and they can see the effect his illness is having on me, knowing I'm going to lose him soon, they can see me tearing myself apart between them and him in two different places (although only 2 minutes away). We had considered getting his SOPO varied to say " no unsupervised contact with females under 16". His police protection officer says he should, and that he should register my address as a second address (he is here a lot now when the kids are at school). Yet is there any point if SS say no contact whatsoever with my kids? We have co operated fully, signed to say he wouldn't have unsupervised contact, yet now they want us to sign to say he won't have ANY contact. We haven't signed this yet as we have said we want to see the assessment report first and let someone look at it who isn't in his morphine befuddled haze! However we are complying with the no contact rule as my kids come first and I won't risk losing them. However I can't just switch off my love and devastation at it all and they are old enough and compassionate enough about people to realise and care about what he is suffering. SS seem to think that just saying no contact will protect them, but kids can't help but see my pain and my daughter especially is heartbroken by the whole situation. Both kids are fully aware of his offences and are happy and secure enough to feel supervised contact should be allowed. He has never re offended in 15yrs, a judge and jury decided his punishment and the conditions required to keep the public safe - then SS came and one woman's assessment overrode everything. Can we do anything?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Can a Social Worker override a SOPO?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:56 pm

Dear Good mum,

Welcome to the Parents forum.

I can see that children services have carried out an assessment and concluded that your partner cannot have any contact with your children who are 16 and 14 because he might sexually abuse them. However, this appears to be contrary to the recommendation of the police and probation who have previously assessed him as low risk to children.

When you posted, you were still waiting to get a copy of the written assessment of the social worker. Do you have this now? If so, it should indicate why she has reached this conclusion. Is it fair?
Did she take into account the forensic risk assessments that have been completed in respect of your partner? Are they out of date?
What does the report say about your ability to protect the children? Is she satisfied that you understand the risk of your partner?
Did she speak to your children alone to ascertain their views? If so, what are they saying?

Here is some information about social worker assessments to give you an idea about what to expect.

If you still feel that her conclusion is unfair, please post back setting out why and I can give you further advice.
Or you could contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s advice line Just Stop It Now! for advice or call out advice line on 0808 801 0355.

Best wishes,


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